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Thursday, January 16, 2020 

A criminally irresponsible French prosecution

A lawyer for Sarah Halimi's family wrote about the case that's turning the French justice system into a disaster:
Sometimes it is possible to disagree with a court decision but to understand it better by reading it.

This is not the case with the judgment handed down by the Paris Appeals Court on Dec. 19 in the Sarah Halimi case. According to the judges, the suspect in her killing, Kobili Traoré, is criminally irresponsible because he "was not aware" that the massive use of cannabis could lead to an acute delirium.

This is incomprehensible. Here is an individual who has been smoking pot every day for 13 years (up to 15 joints a day!), who suffered from growing irritability, paranoia and uncontrolled fits of rage and who therefore voluntarily put himself at risk for himself and other. And despite all this, a panel of experts ruled that he could not have known what he was doing.

Such reasoning is simply untenable. By making the use of alcohol and drugs as an aggravating circumstance for any crime or offense, the members of the French parliament had no doubt about the dangerousness of psychotropic substances.

By avoiding a real trial, let alone a conviction, the experts – followed with confounding unanimity by the defense, the Advocate General and now the judges – are sending a devastating message to society as a whole.

Drug users will see this as an incentive to use more drugs, since the more they use, the less responsible they will be held. This will see France slowly turn into a huge psychiatric asylum.
Exactly. Abominations like this turn into role models of the darkest kind. And the worst part is that the prosecution undoubtably intended and hoped for this.
Mr. Traoré took drugs voluntarily. And because this was not the first time, because he already had a long history of cannabis use, because he had already been convicted of using narcotics and therefore necessarily alerted to the danger of these products, because he himself had suffered, and acknowledged to have suffered, the harmful effects of cannabis on his psyche, Mr. Traoré must answer for his actions before a criminal court.

Moreover, is it not contradictory for the Investigation Chamber to acknowledge both Kobili Traoré's "willingness" to kill Sarah Halimi and his total lack of awareness or control over her actions?

Finally, we cannot be satisfied with this legal blind spot: too "crazy" for prison, not "crazy" enough for psychiatric internment.

It is in this dark corner, far from anyone's view, that Sarah Halimi was buried for a second time. Mr. Traoré will not remain in the bonds of a compulsory hospitalization for long. But because he was "insane" at the time of the events, he shall not go to prison either.

Mr. Traoré will, therefore, leave his ward much sooner than a conviction for his crime should have provided.

About a week ago, rallies in various French cities such as Paris and Marseille saw thousands of Jews and non-Jews march together to protest the court's decision.

Hopefully, people will realize that when Jews are targeted, it is a warning that society is becoming sick. This case goes beyond the Jewish community.

Everybody should feel concerned because if the Supreme Court upholds the Investigation Chamber's decision, everybody could be at risk
.
One way or another, everything must be done to send a wakeup call as to the horror story the court's creating.

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  • I'm Avi Green
  • From Jerusalem, Israel
  • I was born in Pennsylvania in 1974, and moved to Israel in 1983. I also enjoyed reading a lot of comics when I was young, the first being Fantastic Four. I maintain a strong belief in the public's right to knowledge and accuracy in facts. I like to think of myself as a conservative-style version of Clark Kent. I don't expect to be perfect at the job, but I do my best.
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