five ex-rugby players from Grenoble tried at the assizes

five ex-rugby players from Grenoble tried at the assizes
five ex-rugby players from Grenoble tried at the assizes

“What is consent? When is it reduced, or even completely abolished? », asks Me Anne Cadiot-Feidt, one of the four lawyers for the victim, V., now 27 years old. The latter, a recent graduate, wishes to remain anonymous, “in particular to protect her profession” and to lead a personal life far from any media coverage, explains her defense.

In the dock until June 28, five ex-Grenoble players: the Irishman Denis Coulson, 30 years old, the New Zealander Rory Grice, 34 years old, and the Frenchman Loïck Jammes, 29 years old, are accused of ‘have raped. Irishman Chris Farrell, 31, and New Zealander Dylan Hayes, 30, are appearing for failure to prevent a crime.

Prevented from returning to the taxi

On March 11, 2017, a few months before the outbreak of the “#MeeToo affair” on the other side of the Atlantic, V. and two friends met the five men in a bar in Bordeaux, where the Grenoble players had played a Top 14 match the same day. The evening continues in a nightclub. Mojitos and Vodka-Red Bull are flowing freely.

Around 4:00 a.m., V. leaves in a taxi with Denis Coulson towards the players’ hotel but claims to no longer remember anything after leaving the nightclub.

According to a toxicological expert, she would have had between 2.2 and 3 grams of alcohol per liter of blood at that time. On CCTV footage of her arrival at the hotel, she can barely stand and is supported by Denis Coulson who appears to twice prevent her from returning to the taxi.

“Robbers of the soul and the body”

Around 7:00 a.m., the young woman said she came to her senses, naked on a bed, with a crutch in her vagina, surrounded by two naked men and others dressed.

At the trial, the discussions will address “perhaps the notion of responsibility that a victim may have in the event that they voluntarily put themselves in a state causing attenuated or even abolished consent. Can she be held responsible for the violence to which she was subjected? », asks Me Cadiot-Feidt, anticipating the defense of the accused. “We often ask ourselves the question of the victim’s consent, and not at all the appreciation of consent by the attackers,” she underlines, referring to “robbers of the soul and the body”.

Based on the hearings of the accused, witnesses and a video shot by Denis Coulson during a sexual act, the investigators mention in particular several fellatios, as well as the introduction of a banana, a bottle and crutches in the young woman’s vagina.

Coulson, Jammes and Grice admitted to having had sexual relations with V. but ensured that she consented and had even taken the initiative in this hotel room in Mérignac near Bordeaux. Farrell, who owned the crutches, was in the room during the incident and Hayes witnessed the scene.

The alcohol trial

For Mr. Jammes’ lawyer, Me Denis Dreyfus, the debates will revolve around the notion of consent and its difficulty in a context of “general alcoholism”. “What is certain is that it is a misfortune for everyone,” he says.

“This is not the trial of rapist rugby players, it is the trial of alcohol,” insists Me Corinne Dreyfus-Schmidt, lawyer for Denis Coulson, who deplores a “climate”, linked to #MeToo, which “n “is not conducive to understanding.” “All these young people who drink until they get into impossible states, that’s the problem with this issue,” she said.

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