Saturday, May 05, 2007

Legalised Manslaughter

I am still a physical wreck, and thus having sufficient 'down time' in bed, have managed to finish Bernard Durand's book 'Il était une joie'.

It tells how Jérémie Durand, aged 17 and his cousin Jocelyn, aged 20 were mown down on Jérémie's scooter by a 35 yr-old drunken piece of shit driving his father's 4x4 on 3 August, 2001. A second drunkard compounded the carnage by finishing off what the first had not quite succeeded in doing, namely dragging the still living Jérémie 175 metres further until the body was so caught up in the car that it had to stop.

Both drivers were over the alcohol limit and were driving way over the speed limit. Futhermore, both cars were insured in the name of the father of each one. Add false insurance declarations to their list of délits.

You may think that such a serious road 'accident' would be treated with the utmost urgency and professionalism by the powers that be, starting with the gendarmes and finishing with the magistrates. Well, you'd be wrong. It wasn't until 14 September, 2004 that the procès was finally heard by the courts.

For the first of those three years absolutely nothing was done by the first judge. Nothing. Judges are accountable to no one so they have the power to act, or not act, with impunity. The second judge got things moving, but was sent to another post before he could finish the case. The third judge eventually managed to fit the case into her busy schedule.

Along the way, the expert who was supposed to determine the speed of the cars, and the scooter presented two useless, inaccurate reports. A DNA analysis on blood taken from the cars and compared with the bodies came back negative, and it was never officially determined which of the young men was dragged those 175 metres.

A mixture of laxisme, je m'en foutism, not wanting to make waves-ism, incompetance, cover-ups and general ineptitude dogged the case from the start and made a mockery of what one might call justice but which would better be considered the 'judicial system'.

The families, having been driven to extremes of despair, hoped at least for justice on the day of judgement. Only one of the drivers was ever called to appear. The second one, who was speeding, driving under the influence of alcohol and made a false declaration to his insurance company, was not sued because the delay in getting round to him was too long. Legalised manslaughter.

The driver who had the bad luck to actually be made to appear before the judge needn't have worried. Having heard the case from both sides, including lies from the defendent's lawyer, the judge, who hadn't read the case so didn't catch the lies, went into consultation with the other two judges and came to the conclusion that killing two young men whilst under the influence of alcohol and driving at 140km/h in a 90kmh/h zone merited the mighty sentence of... 24 months prison of which 6 firm, a 1000€ penalty, and a one-year driving licence ban.

Six months in prison is not much, you may think. It isn't, and guess what. He didn't even have to serve that. A little arrangement between him, his lawyer and the judge afterwards sent him on his way home, although he is considered as having served his term...

The 1000€, they had to prise out of him 5 months later by threatening to send in the bailiffs.

If you can spot one ounce of justice in this case, do let me know, because as far as I can see, there is none. It seems that the Droits de l'Homme only go in one direction, and it's not the right one.

Two deaths, two salopards, no justice. Only disgust, dishonour, deception, and two salopards still on the roads.

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