The Court of Cassation rejected, on Tuesday, the three appeals filed by the former president of the Magistrate’s Union (SM), Françoise Martres, in the case of the “wall of cons”. A display, in the premises of the union, had pinned in 2013 dozens of personalities, mainly right or far right. His conviction for “Public insult” can no longer be appealed against in France. His advice, Antoine Comte, deplores it and explains it to Release.
What analysis do you make of the decision rendered today on the “wall of idiots” affair?
We are in press law. For there to be a conviction, there must be a responsible person. Things have to be public. Finally, to be recognized as offensive, the formulas must be used outside a context of controversy, particularly political ones. We dispute these three points.
We have always explained that Françoise Martres was responsible for the union but that she had not participated in the construction of the wall. First thing. Then there is an advertising problem: the premises of a union are not public. Journalists filmed this wall on a hidden camera, without his consent. Second difficulty.
Finally, we note that no investigation has been made to determine who posted these posters. However, we asked that people be heard. We were refused. The judges immediately ruled that Françoise Martres was responsible.
How does Françoise Martres explain the very existence of this wall?
She has always said that this wall had existed in a particular period when Nicolas Sarkozy was Minister of the Interior and then President of the Republic. The insults have to do with this tense context between the magistrates and the political body. Moreover, everyone has noticed that after the election of François Hollande in 2012, this wall has never been updated.
Françoise Martres was considered the editor of the “wall of cons”, a bit as if she worked in a newspaper. What are the implications of this ruling for press law?
There is a trend in favor of facilitating repression. The judgments in the context of this case are in this straight line. They make protection more difficult. Françoise Martres was sentenced when she had no role.
Is your client going to appeal to the European Court of Human Rights?
She has six months to do so. This is a question she must decide. Above all, I believe that she is tired of this procedure and of assuming a role that is not hers. We understand that litigants found it unbearable to be on this wall. But to deduce that it is necessary to twist the laws in order to condemn, there is a distance that, for my part, I don’t like to be covered.
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