because the prescribed facts are examined by justice

Their testimonies were “classified without follow-up”. A book now tells the rest of their story. In Impunity, the journalist Hélène Devynck who, like many other women, accuses Patrick Poivre d’Arvor of raping her, develops her perception of “building impunity”. However, the investigative chamber of the Court of Appeal of Versailles recently held that the investigation could continue even for prescribed facts.

The current procedure

Faced with the dismissal of her investigation due to prescription and “insufficient evidence”, Florence Porcel then filed a complaint in 2021, this time with a civil action, to obtain the opening of a new investigation entrusted to the investigating judges before the Court of Appeal of Versailles.

Since the law was changed in 2017, the statute of limitations for rape has increased from 10 to 20 years at the time of the act’s commission. Therefore, when Florence Porcel files a complaint in 2021, the facts of 2004 are already prescribed before the entry into force of the law of 2017, but this is not the case for the facts of 2009.

However, at the end of June, the investigative chamber of the Court of Appeal of Versailles extended the scope of these investigations to the facts that seemed prescribed, recalling that the abandonment of the proceedings was not inevitable and that the starting point of the period during which justice can investigate could, in some cases, be postponed.

The character of “seriality”

On June 28, the Court of Appeal of Versailles therefore ruled that the judicial investigation now covers “all the facts” of which Florence Porcel declares herself a victim, including those (prescribed) in 2004. The court of Versailles is based on jurisprudence of the Court of Cassation of 2005 that considered that the investigation could still continue on the prescribed facts given the serial nature of the case.

Specifically, the investigating magistrates must re-examine these facts to verify if there are other similar testimonies, this time not prescribed, in search of a possible seriality. ” This decision is a request to re-examine the facts, which does not always mean that we will prosecute them, “explains Audrey Darsonville, professor of law at the University of Paris Nanterre for Information about France.

This does not mean that the Court of Appeals decides in favor of non-prescription, but that all facts will be examined before being closed for prescription. This is an opportunity to investigate to find out if there are other similar victims. “That is the same modus operandi, from the same executioner on the same victim profile”, explains Me Tomasini, lawyer of the Paris bar, specialist in violence against women, on Public Senate.

But in the case of the PPDA it is the same modus operandi: among the alleged victims, Bénédicte Martin denounces a sexual assault in November 2003 when he was 24 years old. The writer ended up filing a complaint on Tuesday 20 September, also annoyed by “this impunity”. She describes Publication a modus operandi described by many women: she was invited by the journalist to watch the news, then she waited for him in her dressing room before he poured herself a drink and sexually assaulted her.

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