A Montpellier lawyer seizes the trial review court

A Montpellier resident was sentenced in 2019 to 30 months in prison for an unconstitutional offense of concealment of apology for terrorism.

It is an obstacle course that some have often thought lost in advance. Reviewing a trial is almost mission impossible (eleven reviews including those of Abdelkader Azziman and Abderrahim El-Jabri for the murder of a drug dealer in Lunel), even if since 2014, the procedure has been simplified in criminal matters.

Montpellier lawyer Paul David seized the Court of Revision and Reexamination in 2020 in the context of a case of concealment of texts, images, photos and documents from an offense of apology for terrorism dating back to 2018.

His client, a resident of Montpellier, was definitively sentenced by the Montpellier Court of Appeal to thirty months in prison with continued detention on July 9, 2019. At the time of the events, the attacks multiplied and the administrative searches on the initiative of the prefects are frequent to identify possible risks of acting out among radicalized individuals.

In this case, during the search, it is discovered works qualified as fundamentalists, flags of Daesh, photos associated with jihad, screenshots of licensed terrorists, etc. The sentence will be increased on appeal and the defendant imprisoned.

“This offense of concealment of apology for terrorism has never existed”

Except that his lawyer will introduce a new appeal a year later, not on the form (before the Court of Cassation) but on the merits. Me Paul David indeed noted at that time that the Constitutional Council (seized by priority question of constitutionality in another case) had “canceled” the offense of concealment of apology for terrorism by a decision rendered on June 19, 2020, therefore. This crime “impairs freedom of expression and communication that is unnecessary, appropriate and proportionate “.

The lawyer asks: “Would the correctional judge have found the defendant guilty of this count of concealment of apology for acts of terrorism if he had been informed of the unconstitutionality of this offense, as defined by case law?”

Answer on February 10

This new element, since unknown to the Montpellier Court of Appeal at the time of its judgment, could make it possible to have the conviction of the Montpellier and many others overturned. The obstacle course then began. The request was deemed admissible by the investigating committee and the judgment panel of the Court of Revision.

Me Paul David pleaded his case before the Court of Revision on December 9 in Paris. “I seek review on the basis that this offense never existed and that his conviction should be overturned. My client served almost two years in prison for something that is not prohibited”. Opening the way to reparation for his damage. The Advocate General, for his part, considered that the“interpretation” of the Constitutional Council was equivalent to legislative repeal without being retroactive. Reply February 10.

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