“Wall of jerks”: the Court of Cassation confirms the condemnation of the ex-president of the Judges’ Union for public insult

27/01/2021

The Court of Cassation dismissed the three appeals filed by the ex-president of the Magistrates’ Union after her condemnation, upheld on appeal, by the Paris Criminal Court.

It is in April 2013 that the polemic started, after the publication on the Atlantico website of images coming from the premises of the Syndicat de la magistrature. These images reveal the presence of a wall full of photos of public figures, including politicians, magistrates, journalists and intellectuals with the instruction « Before adding a jerk, make sure he’s not already there. »

For part of the public opinion, the existence of this wall raises the question of the impartiality of the magistracy, and more generally of justice.

The ex-president of the Magistrates Union had been condemned to a 500 euro suspended fine, on the penal level, as well as to the payment of 5,000 euros in damages to the father of a woman murdered by a repeat offender, who had criticized the laxity of certain judges and whose photo appeared on the wall.

The means of appeal included the fact that, as president of such a union, she could not be considered to be a director of publication.

However, the Court of Cassation considered that the president was giving « means of placarding », making her comparable to a publication director . The Court also ruled that, although the union’s premises were indeed a private place, it became public by accident because of a journalist’s visit. The Court held that the union was « aware that the sign would be seen by third parties », thus characterizing the offence.

Finally, the Court of Cassation dismissed the appeals against the inadmissibility of the constitution of several civil parties on formal grounds, in particular a mayor whose photo appeared on the wall, and for whom the Court of Appeal had only granted his request on the civil side by awarding him a symbolic one euro in damages.

Last possibility: turn to the European Court of Human Rights?

By the IP/IT team of UGGC Law Firm

Sources: Dalloz News


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