A man of 45 years went to trial on Friday January 3, 2020 for the burning of the car of the municipal police during a demonstration of yellow vests on September 7 2019 in Montpellier. The accused, a building worker, was sentenced to two years’ prison, more precisely a sentence of 30 months, six of which suspended and on probation (with obligation to compensate victims and a ban on demonstrating for three years). He had been arrested then imprisoned on remand on November 21 2019 on the sole basis of an anonymous denunciation. An account of the hearing was published on lepoing.net, which details the judicial constructions to condemn him. Moreover the civil parties are claiming 3154 euros for the storefront and the town hall over 35,000 for the cost of the Dacia vehicle belonging to the municipal police. These damages will be fixed at a future hearing.
Below is the article of MidiLibre of 05.01.2020 on the trial.
Municipal police car burned in Montpellier: two years’ prison for the “yellow vest”
An anonymous tip-off led the investigators to a 45 year old “yellow vest”
The building worker aged 45 judged Friday was sentenced for the arson of the municipal police car during the demonstration of the “yellow vests” on September 7.
A sentence of 30 months, including six months suspended with probation (with obligation to compensate victims and a ban on demonstrations for three years). He was incarcerated to begin the prison sentence.
“Outrageous” shouted “yellow vests” and activists who had come to support the one who has always denied his involvement in the fire of the vehicle in rue Saint-Guilhem which ravaged the front of one of the oldest shops in the town dated 1870 (total damage is valued at more than € 50,000).
“A sentence commensurate with the charges,” justified the president of criminal court, recalling that the penalty was 10 years. Believing that there was “no doubt” about his identification thanks the various pieces of equipment found during searches at his home (helmet, gas mask and protective glasses), located after an anonymous call to the police station on November 9.
The judge was also convinced that he was dealing with a “black bloc” in the light of metal spikes seized in his vehicle on November 21 as he returned from a “yellow vests” demonstration in Paris.
[…] For the public prosecutor’s office, the telephone boundary point establishes his guilt: his mobile phone marked off rue Saint-Guilhem at 4 p.m. while the fire was time-stamped at 3:24 p.m. The accused claims that he did not see it. His lawyer also contested the conclusions of the demarcation carried out by investigators. “To say that he was in rue Saint-Guilhem at the time of the fire would be lying,” she pleaded.
According to Me Aude Widuch [Montpellier Lawyers’ Directory], the evidence against her client is not solid. She explained that the equipment seized did not correspond to that visible on the CCTV images knowing that dozens of people had the same equipment that day. For her, the demarcation carried out is not convincing.
“The fire was started at 3:24 p.m. and his phone was bounded at the relay up the street at 4:06 p.m., so my client would have stayed on the street 45 minutes so that he could be picked up? Super Black Bloc!” she quipped.
Bringing another explanation to her client’s route during the demonstration, “How was he able to cover 3.7 km in 6 minutes?”, she asked the court. “In fact, he took the tram and he went back home,” she said pointing out that the last boundary was that of the accused’s home.
But the court was not convinced, also finding a record where a dozen mentions are figured (he must also serve six months’ prison for non-payment of a transport ticket). Civil action proceedings by the city and the store manager were accepted. Harm and damages will be fixed at a future hearing.
Translated by Act for freedom now!