On June 26, 2020, Fabrice (the first name has been changed) is one of six men arrested for their involvement in the theft, six months earlier, of a work by Banksy painted on a door of the Bataclan.
On the night of January 25 to 26, 2019, several criminals had cut out with a grinder the back door of the performance hall on which the famous street artist had painted with a stencil “the Sad Girl”, in tribute to the victims of the terrorist attacks. November 13.
Indicted for "organized gang robbery" and then placed in pre-trial detention, Fabrice, who admitted to being part of the commando, was released on Thursday, April 8.
However, this decision emanates from the Court of Cassation.
The highest court in the country found that this 35-year-old native of Isère had been arbitrarily detained since December and ordered his immediate release.
An unanswered appeal request
This relatively rare situation stems from a transmission problem between the remand center and the courthouse.
On November 6, 2020, a freedoms and detention judge (JLD) refused Fabrice's release request.
Ten days later, the young man indicates by mail to the registry of the prison of Meaux-Chauconin, where he is imprisoned, his intention to appeal.
"The investigating chamber then has twenty days to rule, but nothing happens," rewinds Me Romain Ruiz, Fabrice's lawyer.
After having alerted, in vain, the investigating judge, the latter appealed directly to the Paris Court of Appeal.
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The magistrates of the chamber of instruction establish ties with the remand center of Meaux.
In an email, the head of the registry confirms that the detainee has indeed indicated his intention to appeal, but admits that the request was not processed.
But she immediately specifies that Fabrice did not respect the procedure enacted in a "note for detained persons" on the transmission of remedies, which provides in particular to fill out a form.
For the investigating chamber, these arguments are sufficient: on January 7, 2021, she keeps Fabrice in detention.
In "arbitrary" detention for more than four months
Seized by Me Ruiz, the Court of Cassation has just torpedoed the analysis of the Court of Appeal.
The senior magistrates first indicate that the procedure set up within the establishment in the form of a note has no effect on the admissibility or otherwise of the appeal.
Then, they consider that from the moment when Fabrice was not taken to the registry to formalize his letter of intent, his letter of November 16 is equivalent to a “declaration of appeal”.
And therefore that his request should have been examined within twenty days, that is to say before December 7.
"The cassation will therefore take place without dismissal and the person concerned will be released if he is not detained for any other reason," concludes the judgment of April 8.
"I regret that we had to go to the Court of Cassation to obtain a decision that was necessary from the start," comments Me Ruiz.
It is regrettable that neither the investigating judge nor the court of appeal did so sooner.
My client had been in arbitrary detention for more than four months and the Court of Cassation fortunately drew the consequences.
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Since Fabrice's release, three of the seven implicated in this affair remain behind bars.
Among them is the alleged sponsor of the theft, fashion designer Mehdi Meftah, who disputes it.
The door, on which Banksy's work is intact, was found on June 10, 2020 deep in a farm in Abruzzo (Italy).
Handed over to France, it was placed under seal.