Wednesday, November 29, 2023

The former prime minister achieves a victory before the Constitutional Council

The former prime minister achieves a victory before the Constitutional Council Will the Court of Cassation return the François and Penelope Fillon case to an appeal court for a new trial? This scenario is possible to the extent that the former Prime Minister obtained a legal victory, on Thursday, September 28, before the Constitutional Council, by obtaining the repeal of a provision of the Code of Criminal Procedure.

Sentenced in the first instance in 2020, then on appeal in 2022, to four years in prison, one of which is closed, to a fine of 375,000 euros and to ten years of disqualification in the fictitious employment file, Mr. Fillon had acted in cassation. In June, he challenged, within the framework of a priority question of constitutionality (QPC), the conformity with the Constitution of the first paragraph of article 385 of the Code of Criminal Procedure.

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Considering that he did not have the right to a fair trial, the former head of government considers that the criminal proceedings against him were flawed by “serious irregularities”. During his appeal trial in 2021, he tried to cancel the investigation by raising grounds for nullity. However, these had been rejected due to the first paragraph of article 385 of the code of criminal procedure, a provision according to which the parties can no longer allege nullities (i.e. procedural defects) taken from elements subsequent to the referral order. to the criminal court following the conclusion of a criminal investigation.

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To annul the procedure, François Fillon relied on the forceful statements of the former head of the National Financial Prosecutor’s Office (PNF), Eliane Houlette, in June 2020, before the parliamentary commission of inquiry of the National Assembly on the independence of the judiciary. . At that moment, Houlette had infuriated Fillon’s camp by evoking “the enormous pressure” that I had felt at the beginning of 2017, in the middle of the presidential campaign, due to “Many requests” on the matter of the fictitious positions of his hierarchical superior, the prosecutor general of Paris, Catherine Champrenault.

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The former national financial prosecutor then mentioned the “requests for rapid transmission of information on the latest investigative events” and a “procedural choice” of the PNF to carry out a preliminary investigation – opened on the same day of the revelations of the Chained duck – “which was not suitable” while François Fillon was then a candidate (Les Républicains) and the main favorite for the presidential elections. “They urged me to change it, that is, open information (judicial), explained Eliane Houlette. I also received a dispatch from the Attorney General to this effect. We have opened an information. (judicial) solely for procedural reasons, related to the limitation period. »

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