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Fillon affair: "Justice functioned independently", considers the CSM

2020-09-16T10:02:36.267Z

According to the Superior Council of the Judiciary, the term “pressure”, pronounced against the judicial hierarchy, should not be



The Superior Council of the Magistrature (CSM) considered that no “pressure” of the executive power had been exerted on the national financial prosecutor's office (PNF) in the investigation on the Fillon couple, carried out “independently”, in an opinion made public on Wednesday.

The CSM, an independent body, was seized in June by Emmanuel Macron after the "excitement" aroused by statements by the former head of the PNF Eliane Houlette, who had denounced "pressure" from his hierarchy in the conduct investigations, reviving accusations of “instrumentalisation” of justice.

No pressure "…

Heard in June by a parliamentary commission of inquiry on the independence of the judiciary, Eliane Houlette assured to have decided independently, in January 2017, an investigation targeting the Fillon couple after suspicion of fictitious jobs revealed by the Chained Duck .

But the former national financial prosecutor, now retired, was also moved by the "very tight control" exercised according to her by the general prosecutor, her direct supervisory authority, in this investigation launched in the middle of the presidential campaign.

The Head of State had therefore instructed the CSM to "analyze whether the national financial prosecutor's office has been able to exercise its activity in all serenity, without pressure", in order to "remove any doubt about the independence and impartiality of the judiciary in that case ".

"It does not appear that

pressure

was exerted on the magistrates of the general prosecutor's office [...] or of the PNF by the Keeper of the Seals, his office or the DACG (Directorate of Criminal Affairs and Pardons)", considers the CSM in its opinion given to Emmanuel Macron on Tuesday and published on Wednesday.

... but a "special attention"

“Particular attention has been paid, at all levels of the hierarchical chain, to a case involving a major democratic stake, but this attention has not led the executive power to formulate the slightest instruction to the address of the judicial authority, or even to request feedback to an extent substantially exceeding usual practice, ”continues the institution.

If "tensions" marked the relations between the public prosecutor's office and the PNF, notes the CSM, "the term

pressure

should not be understood here in the sense of

coercive influence

but rather in the sense of a

source of stress

".

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To remove the “misunderstandings” aroused by Eliane Houlette's remarks, the CSM proposes “a double structural reform: a rationalization of information feedback between the prosecution and the Ministry of Justice, and a consolidation of the status of the public prosecutor ".

Former Prime Minister François Fillon was sentenced on June 29 in Paris to five years' imprisonment, two of which was firm, and a heavy fine, for the fictitious jobs of his wife Penelope.

Source: leparis

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