look back at the first day of hearing

look back at the first day of hearing
look back at the first day of hearing

The trial of the double assassination of Bastia-Poretta opened this Monday in Aix-en-Provence. A look back at the first day of hearing, marked by a disjunction, a virtual absence of the civil party and a first personality examination.

“Which case is being judged?”

Near the Aix-en-Provence court, some passers-by wonder about the security system deployed in front of the Monclar palace. They look at the men of the prison administration intervention unithooded and heavily armed, positioned themselves around the building in order to supervise the convoy taking some of the accused to court.

“It’s for the double assassination at Bastia airport,” replies the waiter of a bar to two people seated around a coffee. Immediately, they take out their smartphone to (re)find out about a case which hit the headlines and caused the deaths of Jean-Luc Codaccioni and Antoine Quilichini.

Both presented as figures of Corsican organized crime, they were assassinated on December 5, 2017, late in the morning, in the forecourt of the Poretta terminal.

According to investigators, the motive for this double homicide is revenge on the part of the sons of island organized crime figures who were also murdered.

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Men from the ERIS intervention group (regional intervention and security teams), heavily armed, are positioned in front of the Aix-en-Provence courthouse, this Monday, May 6, late in the morning.

© FTV/

Since Monday, May 6, sixteen men and women have been tried for these facts by the Bouches-du-Rhône Assize Court.

After a morning devoted to setting up the court, the debates began in earnest at the beginning of the afternoon.

In the box, enlarged for the occasion, the nine people who appear detained are all in the same row. Some greet each other with a wave of the hand. Others hug each other. This is the case of Christophe Guazzelli and Christophe Andreani. The two friends are accused of “organized gang assassinations”.

Gray sweatshirt, emerging beard, Christophe Guazzelli, presented by the prosecution as the “director of this criminal conspiracy”sketches a smile towards the crowded courtroom, where his mother is seated.

Due to lack of space, the other relatives of the accused were directed to the Verdun Palace, about a hundred meters from Monclar. The proceedings are broadcast live by videoconference, on four screens, in a room where some of the press accredited for the trial are also present.

Also accused of “assassinations”, Richard Guazzelli is located not far from his younger brother, Christophe, in the box.

Between them is Ange-Marie Michelosi. Prosecuted for “complicity in assassination”, the latter stands up at the time of the call. Dressed in a blue shirt, the 35-year-old man with an imposing build explains, in a calm tone, his identity and place of birth, “Albitreccia”responding to the defendants’ appeal made by President Jean-Yves Martorano.

Behind the window of the box, in front of which the defense lawyers have taken their places, Jacques Mariani is seated between Christophe Andreani and Jaouad Sebbouba.

Shaved head, glasses, the son of the late Francis Mariani wasted no time in leaving his black blazer to remain in his shirt when the president reported, at the very beginning of the hearing, a request for severance.

It concerns Marine Andreani, accused of “criminal association with a view to preparing a crime”. Represented by her lawyer, Me Maricourt-Balisoni, the 29-year-old young woman did not travel to Aix. She is six months pregnant. After retiring to deliberate, the court granted his request.

“Her state of health does not allow her to appear, she will be judged during another session”specifies President Martorano.

In the end, fourteen people will appear for almost two months. Indeed, to the disjunction of Marine Andreani is added the non-presence of Riad Belgacem. On the run, the latter will however be judged in his absence.

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Nine of the sixteen accused took their places in the box, enlarged for the trial.

© J. Cappaï/FTV

Facing the defense lawyers, only one black dress is present on the civil party’s bench. Maître Valérie Vincenti represents a trader, collateral victim of the airport shooting. This man was shot and injured on the day of the incident. Maître Vincenti indicates that his client does not plan to come to the debates.

The other people who had filed as civil parties will neither be present at the hearing nor represented. Same for many witnesses. While some sent medical certificates, others did not respond to the summons. President of FC Nantes at the time when Christophe Guazzelli was part of the football club’s training center, Waldemar Kita, for example, made it known that he would not come to testify.

Sitting at the end of the box, somewhat apart from the other defendants, Cathy Chatelain (ex-wife Sénéchal) listens attentively to President Martorano summarizing the facts, after having presented Corsica and more particularly the Bastia region, supporting map.

Dressed in a beige jacket and a black sweater, the former guard at Borgo prison is the only one to have admitted her involvement during the investigation.

In front of her, outside the box, is her ex-husband, Dominique Sénéchal. He is sitting in the dock who appear free. Invited, like the others accused, to speak by President Mortanaro, he declared: “I recognize the facts with which I am accused, I acted for my family and out of fear.”

A little minute before, Richard Guazzelli had addressed the president as follows:

“I want to be very clear: I was not at the airport on the morning of December 5, nor, as I heard, was I at the cremation site of a vehicle. “

Along with several other defendants, including his brother Christophe, the eldest Guazzelli is also being prosecuted for concealment of the car which would have allowed Poretta’s commando to flee. The vehicle, stolen, was found burned, after the double assassination, in the town of Piedicroce.

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The courtroom where the trial takes place.

© J. Cappaï/FTV

Abdel-Hafid Bekouche is also accused of these acts of concealment. The fifth person in this trial to be prosecuted for “organized gang assassinations”, he was the first to speak about his personality.

Wearer of dark glasses, for “health reasons” he clarified to President Martonaro, the accused “born in Montreuil who grew up in Marseille” closed the debates of this first day of hearing.

The trial resumes this Tuesday at 9 a.m. This second day will be devoted to following the personality exams.

The Guazzelli brothers as well as Ange-Marie Michelosi should be asked to answer questions from the court on their respective backgrounds.

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