The sentences pronounced in the absence of the alleged sponsor of the kidnapping of Jacqueline Veyrac go up to 20 years in prison for one of the three kidnappers.
The lawyer for the Nice hotelier, Me Luc Febbraro, himself conceded that it was a “severe verdict”.
The sentences were significantly increased at the appeal trial of nine men suspected of having participated in the kidnapping, in Nice in 2016, of Jacqueline Veyrac, a wealthy hotelier who had finally managed to escape.
Sentences handed down in the absence of the alleged sponsor, whose case was severed for health reasons, range up to 20 years in prison for one of the three kidnappers.
The Assize Court of Appeal of Bouches-du-Rhône followed the Advocate General who had struck hard in her requisitions in the face of "crimes of exceptional gravity".
Jacqueline Veyrac's lawyer, Me Luc Febbraro, himself conceded that it was a "severe verdict".
"It's a real denial of justice"
For the lawyer of Philip Dutton, a 53-year-old ex-British soldier who became homeless and considered to be the organizer of the kidnapping, “it is a real denial of justice”.
“It is unthinkable to sentence my client to 18 years, the same sentence as Guiseppe Serena [the alleged sponsor] at first instance, when he is not there and he had appealed, unlike my client”, added Me Scalabrin.
At first instance, Philip Dutton was sentenced to 14 years in prison.
When the verdict was announced, after more than ten hours of deliberation, Wajdi Ben Hamroun, found guilty of being one of the three kidnappers, became agitated, shouting at the president: "I did nothing and I took 20 years, he's a sick person.
The other two, Ali Gueffaz and Bassem Ben Fekih were sentenced to 18 and 17 years' imprisonment respectively.
Luc Goursolas, ex-paparazzi converted into a private detective, saw his sentence increase to seven years, being found guilty of complicity in kidnapping and kidnapping in an organized gang.
At the beginning of 2021, the Assize Court of the Alpes-Maritimes had sentenced him to two years in prison, including one year suspended, only for non-denunciation of a crime.
It was he who had placed two beacons under the victim's vehicle, but under the pretext of an alleged adultery investigation, according to him.
"I don't want to go back to prison," he pleaded before the deliberation, explaining that he was considered a police officer in detention.
Acquitted at first instance, convicted on appeal
Two defendants who had been acquitted at first instance were convicted.
Achraf M'Hamdi for kidnapping and complicity in kidnapping and kidnapping in an organized gang to five years in prison, one of which is suspended.
And Kabil Raoufi for criminal association to three years suspended sentence.
Jacqueline Veyrac, now in her eighties and whose family is one of the richest in France, owns with her children the Grand Hotel on the Croisette in Cannes and the restaurant La Réserve on the seafront in Nice.
From 2007 to 2009 she had entrusted the management to Giuseppe Serena, but the business had quickly collapsed in debt.
Forced into the trunk of a van on October 24, 2016, she managed to get rid of her bonds and escape 48 hours later.
Sentenced to eighteen years in prison, the "brain" of the kidnapping of Jacqueline Veyrac appeals
Strong increase in the sentences required at the appeal trial of the kidnappers of Jacqueline Veyrac
Aix en Provence
court of appeal
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