Monday, February 10, 2014

Prime suspect in murder case released after court fax 'ran out of ink'

The family of a murdered French disc jockey are up in arms after the prime suspect was released because the court fax "ran out of ink" - a technical hitch that allowed him to walk free. The 24-year old suspect, known only as Amadou F, had been in prison awaiting trial for the 2010 murder of Claudy Elisor, a family man lynched while working as a DJ for a private New Year’s Eve party in 2010 in Seine-Saint-Denis, northeast of Paris.

The suspect had sent a faxed appeal against his incarceration while awaiting trial, to which by law the court must respond within 20 days. Although considered a matter of course that he would remain in prison, the court was obliged to handle the request and decide whether or not the suspect should remain behind bars during the investigation.

However, the court in Bobigny never saw the request as although it was stored on the fax, the device had run out of toner, and was so old they staff didn’t know where to find any more, meaning they had no way of printing out messages received. Bobigny court blamed its failure to respond on a “technical error” that occurred because it had no maintenance contract for the fax “due to its age”. “Criminal code procedure states that if the expiry date is passed, the sanction is the immediate release of the detainee, bar an unpredictable, insurmountable event external to the state justice system,” the suspect’s lawyers, Peggy Julien and Gilles-Jean Portejoie, said.

Once the 20 day period had expired he was released on Wednesday. “The judges applied the law, there’s nothing astonishing about that,” said his lawyers. As well as highlighting the cash-strapped state of France's judicial system, the suspect’s release has appalled Mr Elisor’s family. Fabienne Elisor, his widow, said: “This man has been freed for a problem of fax ink. I am disgusted. I don’t understand how such a thing can happen. What am I going to tell my children? I am appalled at the attitude of the justice system to us.” She intends to file a complaint and the court has launched an internal investigation.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

If I had put this plot element into a fiction story, it would be castigated as "unbelievable," as "pulling the reader of out of Suspension of Disbelief."