A closed-door trial for six weeks, 14 hours of deliberation ... to achieve what the lawyers for the civil parties qualify as "judicial shipwreck".
The trial of young people accused of attacking and burning police officers in Viry-Châtillon (Essonne) in 2016 ended on Sunday with sentences ranging from 6 to 18 years in prison for five of the defendants, and release for the eleven other.
A verdict which triggered the anger of the police, who demonstrated this Tuesday in front of the courts, but also of part of the political class.
How did justice justify his sentence?
The motivation sheet for the verdict, which AFP was able to consult and which mentions "the lack of sufficient evidence", provides enlightening answers.
Already in the aftermath of the tragedy, in October 2016, the investigation promised to be difficult.
As the attackers were masked, it was impossible to recognize them.
This investigation was based on many testimonies, some of which contradicted each other, and the telephone line of the alleged assailants.
The defense denounces "serious irregularities" committed during the investigation, such as false writing or police violence in police custody.
Three people convicted at first instance were acquitted on appeal.
A victim explained to the jurors having recognized the gaze of one of them, as he threw a paving stone at her.
But while this man was initially sentenced to 18 years imprisonment, the court considered that "this recognition, although sincere, cannot be considered sufficiently reliable to be conclusive, in view of the time spent and the speed of the face- face to face ”.
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He greeted his acquittal by raising his fists and shouting "finally, finally!"
As a general fight broke out around him in the box.
Another young person first sentenced to 12 years in prison also benefited from the "doubt", explains the court.
The man, from North Africa, was described by another accused as having thrown the first stone at the police.
However, according to one victim, the first assailant had "black skin".
Another member of the band, who had received a 10-year sentence, was acquitted, the jurors judging that there was "no direct testimony of his participation".
"An organized, prepared and equipped group"
The court recognized "the clear will of the attackers to provoke the death of the victims", "the work of an organized, prepared and equipped group".
On October 8, 2016, sixteen of them attacked, some with Molotov cocktails, two police cars parked near the Grande Borne district, a very sensitive city in Essonne.
On Sunday, three of them were sentenced to 18 years imprisonment, the heaviest sentences handed down.
One of them reacted to the news by copiously insulting the president of the Assize Court.
According to the motivation sheet, he admitted "having asked (a witness) to go and buy gasoline very shortly before the incident" and having beaten up another defendant, who provided information to the police.
A backpack with the inscription "roast chicken ready" was found at his home.
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Another inmate sentenced to 18 years admitted during the investigation that he had thrown stones.
According to several testimonies, he showed signs of burns due to a Molotov cocktail after the assault.
The last of the condemned to 18 years, minor at the time of the facts, was described as the leader of this gang with "a preponderant role in the commission of the facts".
The young person who received a 6-year prison sentence “recognized his participation”, but “without his concrete role being established”.
For the last of the protagonists to sleep in prison, the 8-year sentence behind bars is notably justified by the “useful information” that he provided.
More than two months after the facts, he had been beaten up by other defendants, because of the confidences made to a friend. He explained that he felt "a pang of heart" when one of the victims, a 39-year-old peacekeeper, on fire and hit by stones, begged: "I have children, help me".