Accusation of rape against Gérald Damanin: the case relaunched or definitively closed?

The Court of Cassation is due to rule on Wednesday January 17 on the case linked to the rape accusations against the Minister of the Interior, Gérald Darmanin.

Accusation of rape against Gérald Damanin: the case relaunched or definitively closed?

The Court of Cassation is due to rule on Wednesday January 17 on the case linked to the rape accusations against the Minister of the Interior, Gérald Darmanin. The decision could revive or bury the case.

Will justice put an end to the legal case which has followed Gérald Darmanin for more than six years? The Court of Cassation must deliver an opinion this Wednesday, January 17, on the rape accusations made by Sophie Patterson-Spatz against the Minister of the Interior since 2017, the date of the filing of the first complaint against Gérald Darmanin.

After the dismissal of two cases in this case, the first by a Paris investigating judge in 2022 and the second by the Paris Court of Appeal in January 2023, the plaintiff appealed to the Court of Cassation. The highest French court must in turn comment on this matter, in particular on the admissibility of the complainant's appeal. And this opinion counts, because it could definitively close the case, in accordance with the opinions of the rapporteur and the advocate general, or relaunch it. If the Court of Cassation follows up on Sophie Patterson-Spatz's appeal then a new hearing would be set to examine the case and the accusations of rape against Gérald Darmanin. The minister, placed under the status of assisted witness as part of the investigation, was never indicted after the complainant's accusations.

After six years of legal battle, the plaintiff and her lawyer have no illusions about the court decision. “We unfortunately no longer expect anything from the French justice system which has proven that it is incapable of fairly judging a serving Minister of the Interior accused of sexual violence,” commented the plaintiff’s lawyer, Me Élodie Tuaillon. Hibon, from AFP.

However, the lawyer is considering a new appeal, this time before the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR). This last solution would have no consequences for Gérald Darmanin, but would aim even higher. By referring the matter to the ECHR, Me Tuaillon-Hibon would initiate proceedings aimed at convicting the State of denial of justice.

In her complaint, Sophie Patterson-Spatz accused Gérald Darmanin of having raped her in 2009 when she approached the young politician to have her legal file re-examined. The minister then agreed to help the complainant but allegedly told her: "You will have to help me too." Both admit to having had sexual intercourse, but the complainant believes she was forced to "go to the pan" and was the victim of a "surprise rape" according to her lawyer, while Gérald Darmanin told investigators that he had " "given in to the charms" of an "enterprising" woman.

During the first dismissal of the case, the Paris investigating judge noted "the sincerity of the statements" of Sophie Patterson-Spatz on the rape but added that the complainant had "deliberately chosen to have a sexual relationship [...] ] with the aim of having his criminal case retried". Still according to the judge's order, Gérald Darmanin could have "legitimately misunderstood the intentions". A conclusion made despite an SMS signed by the minister, and central in the case, in which "he implicitly admits that he was able to take advantage of the situation" recognizing the judge. “The law is not the same as morality” and the complainant was “consenting under the law” concluded the magistrate in her report.

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