Macron slapped in face on high school visit

The profile of the baffeur (Damien Tarel) is certainly interesting, notably his belonging to, or strong sympathies with, the far-right anti-Semitic Royalist organisation Action Française, which was created over 120 years ago (during the Affaire Dreyfus) and has (or claims anyhow) some 3,000 members in France.

(incidentally, his trial is this afternoon in the Drôme department, it’s a “comparution immédiate”, a common procedure in French law which follows police custody/a garde à vue whevener the facts are clearly established and don’t warrant a thorough investigation. There were 60,000 comparutions immédiates in France in 2019, out of a total of 780,000 cases treated by the penal system).

One of its founders, and its main theoretician, was Charles Maurras, still a major reference today for the far right (and beyond), for its representatives or sympathisers, such as Renaud Camus and his oft-debated theory of “Le grand remplacement”, regularly quoted by the Rassemblement National and far right professional polemicists such as Éric Zemmour (you may have heard or read the adjective “Maurrassien”. Britannica: Charles Maurras, 1868-1952, French writer and political theorist, major intellectual influence in early 20th-century Europe whose “integral nationalism” anticipated some of the ideas of fascism).

In his seminal 1994 book Une jeunesse française. François Mitterrand, 1934-1947 (A French Youth: Francois Mitterrand 1934-1947), on F. Mitterrand’s shady past in the 1930s and during WWII, the investigative journalist Pierre Péan (who sadly passed away 2 years ago) established that François Mitterrand had “robust sympathies” for Action Française in the mid-1930s, when he was a young law student in Paris, when he’d gone to study from his native Charente department. Mitterrand also befriended members of the violent far-right anti-Semitic group La Cagoule, although there’s no evidence of Mitterrand took part in violent action, he even saved some Jewish friends from being beaten up with the Cagoule thugs, one of them, Georges Dayan, later a politician, became his friend).

While Mitterrand never belonged to Action Française as far as we know, he did go to a couple of anti-Republican marches organised by them (notably an infamous anti-foreigner and anti-Semitic series of demonstrations and strikes in Parisian and provincial universities in February 1935 called "manifestations et grèves contre « ​l’invasion métèque »",). Pierre Péan dug up a couple of photos as evidence, Mitterrand gave vague explanations as to his presence that day, unconvincingly claiming that “he didn’t really know what the marches were for”.

Mitterrand however did belong to the Croix-de-Feu movement, an organisation then mainly made up of nationalist WWI veterans, which he joined in 1934, aged 18, on his arrival in Paris from his native Charente department, where he had received a bourgeois, staunchly Catholic, anti-German and “anti-Bolchévik” education and grew up in the cult of Pétain (as the Hero of WWI).

Mitterrand, who cooperated with Pierre Péan in the writing of this biographical study (released in 1994) and gave Péan access to vital personal archives, was terminally ill by then and knew that the end was nigh. According to his proches he wanted to “se libérer d’un poids”, to free his mind from the weight of that past, in particular his murky role under Vichy France (he’s repeatedly made the dubious claim that he was merely what’s been called a “Vichysto-Résistant” – on the topic, I recommend the book “Les vichysto-résistants de 1940 à nos jours”, written by WWII historian Bénédicte Vergez-Chaignon) and the toxic friendships he kept after the war right up to his presidential time, chiefly René Bousquet.

and the scroat wot dunnit has just got 18 months in prison…
I reckon billy no mates will find himself isolated in fear that known associates will be put on the watch list…

That was quick. It’s amazing how quick justice can move when it needs to isn’t it.

In my view he got off lightly… it was an affront to the republic
18 months, 14 suspended.

As I wrote in the second para of my previous post, in this case all the elements were met for a comparution immédiate, a procedure which is now pretty systematic when the following key criteria are fulfilled (in summary):

  • it’s a délit (and not the much more serious crime , which given its seriousness and often its complexity falls outside of the comparution immédiate scope) and one that carries a jail sentence of at least 6 months (that’s the gist, for the detail see this), which was the case here as what Damien Tarel (the defendant) did carries a max. jail term of 3 years (and a max. fine of €45,000).

  • the facts are simple and clearly established, which obviates the need for a thorough investigation

  • the defendant(s) fully accept(s) and admit(s) the facts

  • there’s agreement from both parties, namely the Ministère Public (commonly called “Le Parquet” –the CPS in the UK) and the defendant & his lawyer, to go down the swift comparution immédiate route

There are about 60,000 procedures of comparution immédiate each year in France, it’s often used in particular for cases of “flags” (short for “flagrant délit”, to be caught in the act/red-handed), but again only if both the Procureur de la République (who heads the Parquet team) and the defendant agrees, which was the case here.

[Une comparution immédiate est une procédure rapide qui permet au procureur de faire juger une personne tout de suite après sa* garde à vue . Le procureur de la République peut engager cette procédure s’il estime que les charges sont suffisantes et que l’affaire est en état d’être jugée. L’auteur présumé doit, en présence de son avocat, accepter d’être jugé immédiatement. La procédure peut être appliquée pour certains délits *. La victime a les mêmes droits que dans une procédure classique.](Qu'est-ce qu'une comparution immédiate ? |

Here, as is their right, the defendant Damien Tarel and/or his/her lawyer could have asked for a postponement of the trial in order to prepare for their defence but asked to be trial immediately under the comparution immédiate procedure.

Ce dernier pouvait demander un renvoi du procès pour mieux préparer sa défense mais a demandé à être jugé " immédiatement".

The comparution immédiate procédure was introduced in 2000 and in 2004, another string to that bow was added in the form of a “comparution sur reconnaissance préalable de culpabilité” (CRPC), what’s commonly known as “le plaider-coupable” (guilty plea). In this case, again with the agreement from both parties, the Parquet and the defendant, there is no hearing and trial, it’s basically a judge who decides. About 80,000 cases were treated under the CRPC system in 2018 in the Tribunal Correctionnel jurisdiction, so about 13% of all cases treated by the tribunaux correctionnels each year.

These two measures were introduced to support “le désengorgement des tribunaux” (désengorger = to unbock, to ease a congestion), French justice being on the whole slow and the number of cases having to be handled by the CPS being high, staggering high even: over 4 million cases were handled by the penal system in 2019 (but many of course do not make it to the court stage, “only” 1.3 million of these cases inn 2019 for instance were “poursuivables”, treatable/justiciable – anyone can lodge a complaint but it doesn’t mean that your complaint is legally receivable. That said, s.o at the parquet has to decide of the suitability of the complaint etc., that and understaffing make for a slow system, hence the authorities regularly trying to fluidify things).

The pdf “Les chiffres clés de la Justice” is interesting, it’s produced annually by the French ministry of justice.

he should have been disembowelled :grinning:

That would be “déboyauter:grinning:

or better: “étriper”, to gut, often used colloquially in French, as in « S’il continue, je vais l’étriper » !

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Some main police stations are actually linked to the Palais de Justice/Cité judiciaire/tribunal correctionnel/etc. by an underground tunnel, to facilitate the transfer of the defendant from custody, straight after their garde à vue, to the court where their hearing will take place under a comparution immédiate procedure.

This is the case of the new-ish (2017) €4 billion Paris Police HQ of the PJ (the CID in the UK) and the 38-storey Tribunal de Paris at Batignolles in the 17th arrondissement (north-west Paris), the largest courthouse in Europe, where many legal scenes of Spiral/Engrenages S7-S8 were filmed, which are both linked by a tunnel for a quick and safe transfer for comparutions immédiates. The Tribunal de Paris is quite a sight from the Périphérique when it looms into view as there are very few tall buildings in Paris intra-muros (Paris proper):

And of course it was the case of the Préfecture de Police in central Paris on the Île de la Cité (the island in the foreground here, where, inter alia, Notre-Dame sits), the legendary 36 Quai des Orfèvres, the former HQ of the Paris PJ, a building which has now been lying empty for 4 years as the PJ HQs have moved to Batignolles as I’ve just written. The latter in passing (the Batignolles district) which has been spectacularly transformed as a hip sustainable zero-carbon eco-neighbourhood in the last 20 years (Batignolles was originally in contention for the 2024 Olympic Village to be built there as the area had large swathes of disused SNCF land, tracks and depots but the Olympic Village is being built elsewhere and instead the ground-breaking Batignolles eco-village was extended).

36 Quai des Orfèvres and the historic Palais de Justice of Paris (where, in Spiral, Juge Roban, toad-face Machard & co had their office, and where of course many legal scenes of Spiral/Engrenages S1-S6 were shot) are still linked by a tunnel but the 36 Quai des Orfèvres building (a wing of the massive and ancient Palais de la Cité complex, which dates back to the 10th century, it’s where the stunning [Sainte-Chapelle](Sainte-Chapelle - Wikipedia, pic below) is) but the “36” is no longer, it was just too old and obsolete, hence its move to a new complex in north-west Paris.

All these recent changes in the police-courts landscape in Paris (but initiated about 20 years ago) are part of an on-going complete restructuration of justice and police-related admin buildings in Paris & immediate area (the “Petite Couronne”, inner suburbs).

That old Palais de Justice building is still used in a legal capacity, but only as the Paris Appeal Court and as the Cour de Cassation.

The old Palais de justice is still used occasionally for very high profile trials though, such as the forthcoming mammoth trial (that’ll start in exactly 3 months) of the 13 November 2015 Bataclan and associated attacks that day in Paris and Saint-Denis (130 dead and 350 injured), which will last about 7 months (beg. September to end of March 2022). A large dedicated court room is being built within the Palais de Justice to accommodate everyone involved as it really is a procès “hors-normes” in terms of size: over 1,750 “parties civiles” (plaintiffs), 300 lawyers, hundreds of journalists etc. It was meant to start 6 months ago but was postponed due to the pandemic.

[Les conseils des quelques 1.700 parties civiles disposeront de 50 places. La cour d’appel s’est mise en capacité de les accueillir toutes, avec leurs avocats, même si le taux de présence moyen du procès des attentats de janvier 2015 n’était que de “10%”. Au moins 17 salles annexes pourront retransmettre les débats, a précisé Jean-Michel Hayat. Et une webradio sécurisée permettra aux victimes de suivre les audiences de chez elles, en léger différé.


L’accusation sera représentée par trois avocats généraux. Le dossier d’instruction compte 542 tomes.](Attentats du 13-Novembre : dans les coulisses des préparatifs, six mois avant un procès hors-normes)

I know what you mean but it’s not actually that lenient, at least he got a custodial sentence (4 months “ferme” – he’ll do maximum 3 months anyhow or even much less if the sentence is aménagée , see below), unlike so many other morons who insult or assault state sector employees, people dépositaire de l’autorité publique (invested with public authority, i.e state sector employees/fonctionnaires, police staff, prison staff, teaching staff, firefighters, mayors, officials, hospital staff, judiciary staff, public transport staff, customs staff etc. the non-exhaustive list is here; there are non state sector workers included too in that category, cf articles L. 611-1 or L. 621-1 of the Code de la sécurité intérieure) and who get sod all for the same or worse, not even a fine sometimes, but just a “rappel à la loi” (a slap on the wrist) even if their assault led to an ITT (a temporary incapacity to work) for the victim or worse.

A slap to someone who isn’t dépositaire de l’autorité publique simply incurs a “contravention” (as opposed to un délit or un crime ), a contravention is basically a fine (of max. €3,000), just like a road-related contravention leading to a prune in common parlance (an amende, a fine).

As I’ve alluded to, there were aggravating circumstances here as this Damien Tarel (“Taré” would be more fitting) assaulted a “personne dépositaire de l’autorité publique”, under which category the French president falls. And at this juncture votre honneur, let’s look at Article 222-13- 4° of the Code Pénal:

Les violences ayant entraîné une incapacité de travail inférieure ou égale à huit jours ou n’ayant entraîné aucune incapacité de travail sont punies de trois ans d’emprisonnement et de 45 000 euros d’amende lorsqu’elles sont commises :


Sur un magistrat, un juré, un avocat, un officier public ou ministériel, un membre ou un agent de la Cour pénale internationale, un militaire de la gendarmerie nationale, un fonctionnaire de la police nationale, des douanes, de l’administration pénitentiaire ou toute autre personne dépositaire de l’autorité publique, un sapeur-pompier professionnel ou volontaire, un gardien assermenté d’immeubles ou de groupes d’immeubles ou un agent exerçant pour le compte d’un bailleur des fonctions de gardiennage ou de surveillance des immeubles à usage d’habitation en application de l’article L. 127-1 du code de la construction et de l’habitation, dans l’exercice ou du fait de ses fonctions, lorsque la qualité de la victime est apparente ou connue de l’auteur ;

18 months, 14 of which suspended, is quite severe also as there was no apology whatsoever or remorse on Tarel’s part (he likened his act to some sort of political protest, he wasn’t contrite at all during his GAV, garde à vue). The justice can interpret an absence of apology or contrition as a sign that a defendant could well do the same thing again (with another “personne dépositaire de l’autorité publique”, not necessarily a president or politician of course, but any fonctionnaire at the wrong end of whatever raging beef he happens to have that day against “the system”).

Granted, his offence theoretically incurs a much higher sentence (cf para of Article – “carries a jail term of up to 3 years and a max. fine of €45,000”) but that’s the case for all sanctions, nobody in the French penal case ever (or very rarely) gets the maximum provisioned for, the maximum sentence in the Code Pénal merely exists as a deterrent.

The fact he had no police record softened the sentence, he is a primo-délinquant (first time offender) and these rarely get to serve an actual prison sentence these days unless they’ve done something extremely serious.

Anyway, he and his lawyer haven’t appealed of the decision so far (I think they have 10 days to do so), so in roughly a week’s time in theory he’ll be able if he wishes so to ask for what’s called “un aménagement de peine” as his ferme sentence (4 months) is < than 1 year, that’s been the case since the late 2000s, a request that will probably be accepted because of prison overcrowding. In practical terms, if this aménagement de peine is accepted (most are) he’ll end up with an electronic tag for 3 or 4 months and that’s about it, with a bit of TIG thrown in (Travail d’Intérêt Général, community service).

Since 2009 anything inferior or equal to 2 years (1 year now, since 2019) year can be aménagé , meaning that you don’t actually go to jail at all or not for more than 10 days or thereabouts for the authorities to sort out the aménagement de peine , so until the criminal justice authorities (a judge in this case) find an alternative. If you were given a ferme sentence of between 6 months and 1 year, the court is still legally allowed to you to jail if you get such a sentence, they don’t have to but they can (that’s what overwhelmingly happens now for these relatively short sentences, the authorities find alternatives. Anyway, he got 4 months ferme, so the court has to find an alternative if the defendant wishes so.

The alternative sentence is usually a tag, with the obligation to stay at home (or just home & work) you do work, or there are very strict obligations attached to your sentence management, or the 1-year (or less) prison sentence can be served outside jail, they find ways, sometimes “semi-liberté” (day is spent outside if you work, are a carer etc., but the night has to be spent in prison). Jails are overcrowded.

That’s for instance the case of Sarkozy, last month, he was handed a 3-year jail sentence with two years suspended so he won’t go to jail (he lodged an appeal anyway, and that’s suspensive of his sentence).

He [Sarkozy] was sentenced to three years in prison with two years suspended. The sentence means it is unlikely Sarkozy will physically go to prison, a punishment that in France usually applies to custodial terms above two years. The court said Sarkozy would be entitled to request to be detained at home with an electronic bracelet.

(the France24 above says “applies to custodial terms above two years.” And I wrote 1 year above, we’re both right… It was 2 years when these sentence-management laws were voted in the late 2000s – ironically, by Sarkozy’s government, he must have known that he’d need them one day! – but that’s been reduced to 1 year. However, it’s 2 yrs for Sarko as he committed the offence before the change in law, so the old law retropectively applies).

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