Two men sentenced to prison

Two men sentenced to prison
Two men sentenced to prison

Without the presence of the victim, the defendants and their lawyers, the Belfort judicial court had to reconstruct an extortion case that was more than four years old. “Why did the case take so long?” asks the presiding judge Jean-Philip Ghnassia to his assessors and the public prosecutor.

Extortion without explanation given

The events took place at the end of November 2019. In a vehicle belonging to his brother’s wife, a 36-year-old man accompanied by a 30-year-old accomplice parked near the victim’s home, a man they knew well. Before committing their crime, one of them smoked and threw away his cigarette butt, which was later analyzed. The two men headed to their “friend’s” apartment and broke down his front door. Once inside, they stole the sum of 700 euros in cash. When questioned, they did not give any particular reason for their actions. The 30-year-old man explained that he had “smoked before”. Also questioned, a witness described being woken up by “loud noises”.

The case is left at a standstill for four years before a new hearing of the accused is conducted. “Nothing happens between 2019 and 2024 apart from a recent thirty-minute hearing. This is an investigation that has been gotten rid of,” the president declares.

“It’s not the perfect investigation”

Representing the public prosecutor, Cindy Bernard acknowledges that the case contains “few elements”. “We found a cigarette butt near the car (Editor’s note: used by the defendants), but the DNA analysis yielded nothing”, she comments before admitting that “it is not the perfect investigation”. She adds that the victim, in her statements, had indicated that she knew her two attackers. Six months in prison are required for one, twelve months in prison for the other.

After deliberation, the Belfort judicial court found the two men guilty. They were respectively sentenced to eight and ten months in prison without possible reduction. In addition to this sentence, they were banned from carrying a weapon for five years.

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