“I am solely responsible for this tragedy.
I am unforgivable.
I hardly dare ask for an apology.
Facing the three judges listening to him and with his back to an attentive audience, Serge Bromberg concluded long hours of debate on Wednesday in a few words.
Read alsoParis: a mother and her son perish in a fire
Awaited by the victims of the terrible fire which affected two buildings in Vincennes on the night of August 10 to 11, 2020, the trial of the boss of the company Lobster films took place on Tuesday and Wednesday morning at the Créteil criminal court.
Several charges are against him: intentional homicide, endangering others and involuntary injuries.
Four years in prison, including one firm, were required against this recognized professional in the field of the restoration of old films.
He stored reels of extremely flammable film in premises with little or no security, located at the bottom of apartment buildings not far from the town hall of Vincennes.
150,000 euro fine
Also required is a fine of 150,000 euros against Lobster Films and the display of the court decision.
It must be returned on January 24.
An essential display, according to Me Iris Nakov, who represents the family of Rachel Soussan, one of the two people who died in the accidental fire: "Such a tragedy must not be able to happen elsewhere", confides the lawyer.
“It is a terrible drama which has upset lives, sometimes over several generations, and whose sole responsible is Serge Bromberg”, introduces Me Emmanuel Mercinier, on the defense side.
The latter describes as "erroneous" or even "insane" the methods of the criminal investigator dispatched to the site to determine the importance of the stock of cellulose nitrate reels at the origin of the fire.
A stock which, according to him, would have been less important if the CNC (National Center for Cinema and the Moving Image) had recovered these films.
"He had to," he says.
The fact remains that Serge Bromberg had to find a solution.
“We expected more empathy”
To those who claim that his client "killed people to save money", that is to say by not turning to paid storage solutions, he retorts that "these alternative solutions do not exist", that these companies only accept such films "in small quantities and for a short period of time".
After all this, there remains the pain and incomprehension faced with the attitude of Serge Bromberg, considered cold on the side of the civil parties: "We expected more empathy, that he tries to put himself in our place , confides one of the daughters of Rachel Soussan.
He can't imagine what we are going through.