It is rare, when it comes to rape, that investigators can rely on images.
Four men were sentenced Thursday to terms ranging from 7 to 10 years in prison for the gang rape of a 19-year-old young woman in the parking lot of a nightclub in Toulouse.
Videos of the assault had been posted on social networks in the hours that followed, curious people having filmed the scene with their cell phones.
Overwhelming evidence against the four attackers, aged 19 to 25 at the time of the facts, who denied or minimized their participation, throughout the trial, before the Criminal Court of Haute-Garonne.
A 10-year sentence was pronounced against the young man filmed in full rape, 9 years against his two friends confused by DNA traces on the clothes of their victim.
The 4th accused receives a 7-year sentence, he joined the group as a second step.
“We are satisfied with the admission of guilt.
But no penalty will be able to repair the damage that has been done, ”reacted the victim's lawyer, Me Ravyn Issa.
"You didn't destroy me"
After four days of hearing, the trauma remains for the victim who hoped to hear sincere regret, deplores his lawyer.
"The defendants have only uttered the beginnings of an apology of expediency, they have shown no empathy," said Mr. Issa.
I have the painful feeling that for three of the four accused, their conception of consent is one-sided.
Advocate General David Senate on Thursday requested sentences ranging from nine to 13 years in prison against the four defendants.
"The images neutralized the debates a little, we had visual evidence, which is rare in the matter of rape," confesses a source close to the case.
For their part, the defense lawyers tried to minimize the seriousness of the facts.
"An evening that goes wrong in a context of alcoholism", for Me Caroline Marty Daudibertières.
"The first relationship was agreed", according to Me Robin Sénié-Delon.
Collective rape in Toulouse: when social networks play vigilantes
The gang rape dates back to Sunday, September 16, 2018, at dawn, at the end of a very alcoholic evening, in the sight of other customers of the disco.
During her testimony in front of the gendarmes, the young woman had declared to have felt like "a toy, a puppet in the middle of children who argue".
The four defendants, in pre-trial detention since their arrest in October 2018, will therefore remain in prison.
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The trial was held behind closed doors at the request of the victim, who left the courtroom on Thursday, visibly upset.
"The reconstruction will take a long time, but it will succeed, she is a strong young woman, assures her lawyer.
She came to face her tormentors, she looked at them and said to them “you did not destroy me”.
This is the message she wanted to convey to all rape victims, and that victims have nothing to be ashamed of, ever ”.