Gordon, I and many others in our village are convinced that I have been the victim in a case of coup monte, basically shafted, for causing damage to a parked car and leaving without supplying my insurance details. I was accused of a delite de fuite.
Exactly the same happened to me, except in my case the gendarme asked me to come to make my statement in my car and after doing that I asked him if someone had taken pictures of the damage. No they hadn't. I wanted this done and asked to see the pictures of the damage done to the other car. The sergeant couldn't find them and went to take photos of my car. He indicated to my official witness that the scratches on my car, which had been done to us by someone in a supermarket car park, did not match the marks on the other car. Despite this they managed to find witnesses to say that they had seen me leaving without putting the details of my insurance on the windscreen of the other car involved.
This all happened in a marketplace and another friend went and asked one of the stallholders if they had been asked to give a statement and he said no, despite us being assured by the sergeant that he had asked all the stallholders if they had witnessed the incident.
To make matters worse the husband of the person involved was a retired gendarme and the ex-mayor of our commune. Our new mayor went to see the gendarmerie on my behalf to tell them that the woman involved, the owner of the car, was well known in our village for causing trouble, but was told that he could not do anything about it.
The driver of the other car marked the damage supposedly caused by my car on her case to her insurers, despite never having seen my car.
Their insurance started threatening me when I was seriously ill in hospital and our insurers paid up so that it would not have to worry about being summoned for non-payment on top of the delite de fuite.
We went to see an avocat for a preliminary opinion and was told that it was not a serious matter and that the worst thing that could probably happen was that I would receive a 300 /400 euro fine!
I was recalled to the gendarmerie to hear that other witnesses had been 'found' and would I change my mind about saying it was not me? The sergeant then telephoned the procureur, who said that because the damage had been paid for, they would proceed no further.
I had been assured by the sergeant that the cases for the insurance and the police were totally separate, which was yet another piece of fiction.
I was called back yet again because the sergeant's boss said that the file was incomplete and I had to have my fingerprints and photo taken like a common criminal.
My husband was so incensed that he started thinking about returning to UK and would have done so had we not had the wonderful support and friendship of the people in our village.
All this happened when I went to our next village to get a prescription for my husband. We do not shop there now at all.
Despite the fact that I, so far, have not had to go to a tribunal, our opinion of the French system is not printable on this page. I am still waiting for the official release from the charge of the delite de fuite.
We too have installed a dashboard camera.