five rugby players judged at the Gironde conference

five rugby players judged at the Gironde conference
five rugby players judged at the Gironde conference

From June 17 to 28, the Gironde Assize Court judges three former FC Grenoble rugby players for gang rape and two others for failure to prevent a crime. They claim that the victim, a 21-year-old student at the time of the events in 2017, consented. She says she woke up in a hotel room in Mérignac and remembers nothing.

This morning of March 12, 2017, V
leaves a hotel in Mérignac, near Bordeaux. The young woman is in a state of shock and files a complaint for rape.

The 21-year-old student has just spent a night in this establishment located near the airport, where the FC Grenoble team is staying. The Grenoble rugby players played a Top 14 match the day before against Union Bordeaux Bègles.

After a very drunken night, the young woman explained to investigators that she woke up around 7 a.m., among several men in the hotel room. She is naked on a bed, surrounded by two naked men and others dressed. A few hours earlier, she had met them with friends in a bar in Bordeaux, before ending the evening at a nightclub.

Investigators determined that around 4 a.m., V. left the nightclub by taxi with Denis Coulson, one of the five accused, in the direction of the players’ hotel. On video surveillance images upon her arrival at the hotel, the young woman can barely stand up. She is supported by Denis Coulson, who twice appears to prevent her from returning to the taxi.

According to a toxicological expert, she would have had between 2.2 and 3 grams of alcohol per liter of blood at that time.

The five accused will be tried at the Assises de la Gironde from June 17 to 28
The five accused will be tried at the Assises de la Gironde from June 17 to 28

© Sylvie Tuscq-Mounet France 3 Aquitaine

Seven years after the events, this Monday, June 17, the young woman found the five men, now ex-FC Grenoble players. Until June 28, they are judged by the Assize Court of Gironde.

The Irishman Denis Coulson, 30 years old, the New Zealander Rory Grice, 34 years old, and the Frenchman Loïck Jammes, 29 years old appear for gang rape. Irishman Chris Farrell, 31, and New Zealander Dylan Hayes, 30, are appearing for failure to prevent a crime.

Coulson, Jammes and Grice admitted to having had sexual relations with V. but assured that she was consenting and had even taken the initiative in this hotel room. Farrell, who owned the crutches, was in the room during the incident and Hayes witnessed the scene.
If the rugby players affirm that the young woman consented at the time of the events, she says she no longer remembers anything after leaving the nightclub. “We often ask ourselves the question of the victim’s consent, and not at all of the assessment of consent by the attackers”,underlines Me Anne Cadiot-Feidt interviewed by Agence France Presse. One of the four tips from the victim, now 27 years old, mentions “robbers of the soul and the body”


What is consent? When is it reduced, or even completely abolished?

Me Anne Cadiot-Feidt

Me Anne Cadiot-Feidt, lawyer for the victim
Me Anne Cadiot-Feidt, lawyer for the victim

© F3 Nouvelle AquitaineAt trial, discussions will address “perhaps the notion of responsibility that a victim may have, in the event that they have 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. For Loïck Jammes’ lawyer, Me Denis Dreyfus, the debates will revolve around the notion of consent and its difficulty in a context“general alcoholism”


What is certain is that it is a misfortune for everyone.

Mr Denis Dreyfus

Lawyer of Loïck Jammes“It’s not the trial of rapist rugby players, it’s the trial of alcohol” , insists Me Corinne Dreyfus-Schmidt, lawyer for Denis Coulson. She deplores a“climate linked to #MeToo, which is not conducive to understanding”
.“All these young people who drink to put themselves in impossible states, that is the problem of this file”

she says. The trial therefore begins on June 17, seven years after the events. How can we explain such a delay? The investigating chamber of the Bordeaux Court of Appeal confirmed, in September 2022,

the indictment order issued in June 2019. For magistrates, the presence of sufficient charges then justifies a trial at the assizes.

To avoid this, the five men (still presumed innocent) used all avenues of appeal at their disposal, up to the Court of Cassation. These appeals having now been exhausted, the trial can be held.

For the acts of gang rape, Denis Coulson, Rory Grice and Loïck Jammes face up to 20 years in prison.



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