Paris Court of Appeal rules on rape charges against Luc Besson

Paris Court of Appeal rules on rape charges against Luc Besson

The Paris Court of Appeal rules Tuesday morning on rape charges against director Luc Besson, a landmark case of the #MeToo era that was dismissed in December.

On April 19, the trial chamber examined the appeal of the Belgian-Dutch actress Sand Van Roy against the abandonment of the procedure from which the influential French filmmaker and producer benefited on December 9. The prosecutor requested confirmation of the dismissal.

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On May 18, 2018, the actress filed a rape complaint, a few hours after a meeting in a Parisian palace, whose protagonists gave two versions: according to Sand Van Roy, an imposed digital anal penetration and then a faint, despite your orders to stop. For Luc Besson, a consensual vaginal intercourse impregnated with “sweetness”.

Two months later, the actress filed a complaint for other rapes and sexual assaults committed between 2016 and 2018, episodes of a “relationship of professional influence” under threat of “reprisals against her acting career” with whom she created the Cité du Cinéma in al north of Paris.

During the preliminary investigation, the filmmaker and the actress were confronted in December 2018, before the closure of the investigation, in February 2019, by the Paris prosecutor’s office, which considered that they had not been able to “characterize the reported crime”.

The actress, who appears in “Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets” by Luc Besson, then filed a complaint with the civil action and obtained, despite the refusal of the Paris prosecutor’s office, referral to an investigating judge in October 2019.

Two years later, on December 9, an investigating judge issued a dismissal order “due to the lack of any material element to support the statements” of the 34-year-old complainant.

A vision rejected by Sand Van Roy who filed a complaint against the judge for being “false” and radically questions the content of the judicial information, according to her biased and incomplete.

“Luc Besson has never been confronted with the material evidence that overwhelms him, for example, the photographic report made to the medical-judicial units on the day of the events, the blows and injuries to the body of the civil party that prove the reported violation .for him and directly contradicts Luc Besson’s statements”, denounces Me Antoine Gitton, Sand Van Roy’s lawyer with Me Francis Szpiner.




AFP

They recently paid for an analysis by four doctors who confirmed the existence and compatibility of their intimate injuries with their version of the reported events.

“Exactly 4 years ago I made the big mistake of believing that France will protect me when I called the police after the rape. Since then, I have only experienced injustice, including the falsification of my medical history,” the Belgian-Dutch actress said on Twitter on May 18.

His council has requested since the hearing on April 19 the recusal of the magistrate of the Court of Appeal who must rule on this dismissal, “a pure fiction written for Mr. Besson.”

The 63-year-old producer, known for “The Big Blue”, the “Fifth Element” or “Léon”, rejects these accusations and evokes a “light and pleasant” extramarital relationship, by mutual agreement.

“I have never physically or morally forced a woman to do anything,” he assured in October 2019, evoking “regrets” about this relationship “when there is a relationship of subordination.”

“We calmly await the decision of the Court of Appeal, with the concordant position of the Paris prosecutor’s office, the investigating judge and the general prosecutor’s office who have concluded that Luc Besson is innocent,” said his lawyer Me Thierry Marembert.

The production company is one of the French figures caught up in the wave of accusations from women who claim to have been victims of rape or sexual assault following the fall of US producer Harvey Weinstein in October 2017.

In court, at least three women cited events ranging from “kisses on the neck” to “attempted rape”, disputed by Mr Besson.

Other women had also declared to Mediapart about inappropriate gestures or sexual assaults, often prescribed, by the director.

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