Compiegne. The brothers Thiou and Yannick Haran accused of having caused the death of a client of the Zenzilé bar
“It goes back so long that I have trouble putting my memories together.” Spoken by one of the ten witnesses who came to testify on Monday, June 20, the sentence could be the refrain of the trial which opened today before the Oise Assize Court. The facts for which the brothers Mickaël and Ludovic Thiou, 38 and 32, and their former brother-in-law Yannick Haran, 56, are being prosecuted are old and date from the summer of 2015. All three appearing free, they each incur twenty years in prison for “intentional violence in meetings resulting in death without intention of giving it”.
On August 13, 2015, after spending the day doing some work at his home in La-Croix-Saint-Ouen, François Mouchet, an airline employee at Charles-de-Gaulle airport and then 51 years old , decides to go to downtown Compiègne for dinner with a friend. The heat is summer and, wishing to continue the evening, the two men then go to a first bar to have a few drinks, before joining a second, Le Zenzilé, rue des Lombards. In this dancing bar – the only establishment still open at this late hour of the night – the atmosphere is festive, some customers have also come to celebrate a birthday. “François was cheerful that evening”testifies this Monday, June 20, the friend of the victim, who also describes “a charming, friendly boy with a big heart and not at all a fighter”. He continues his account of the evening: “We were drunk, of course, but without staggering. At our age, we know how to behave. That night, we were reasonable. The atmosphere was good, it was going well, I didn’t notice anything abnormal in this evening. According to him, there was no incident inside the bar. But other witnesses claim that the victim “talked loudly, went around the tables making the heat“.
Several customers of the bar evoke in particular a scene during which François Mouchet, “already drunk”, would have removed his T-shirt in front of everyone, finding himself shirtless in the middle of the establishment. “Look at the old roach, he shows his belly”, would then have launched one of the revelers, Michaël Thiou, the eldest of the two brothers now charged. But nothing else to report at this time. And the evening to continue.
The rest is confused – and the state of alcoholism of each other, as well as the age of the facts (to which the defense lawyers will not fail to return in their pleadings), but also the absence of video surveillance there — makes it difficult to shed light on the drama to come. One thing is certain: it is around 3 am when François Mouchet comes out of the night bar, alone, to go and smoke a cigarette. And this is how we could summarize this case: the victim leaves the establishment, but does not return. Found lying a few moments later across the rue des Lombards, lying on the ground, the victim is seized with convulsions and continues to emit a kind of groan. “He was babbling in pain”will testify one of the customers present that night, one of those who will call for help.
“A thud”, this is what many witnesses of the fall heard, but no one—apart from the three defendants—saw anything of what preceded it. “Falling backwards on a hard surface” which, according to the medical examiner who will perform the autopsy, would be the direct cause of the death of François Mouchet, a fellow measuring more than 1.90m. Supported by the emergency services, then in a post-traumatic coma, the victim died on August 31.
For their part, the investigators are quick to identify the suspects of the attack, who had then fled and disappeared during the night. All three from the village of Verberie, Ludovic Thiou, Mickael Thiou and Yannick Haran are heard but – although acknowledging an altercation with the victim and exchanged insults – deny having struck François Mouchet. At the end of their hearing, only Mickaël Thiou, then 25 years old – and already convicted in 2009 for violence in a meeting, committed with Yannick Haran, one of the other defendants – was placed in pre-trial, preventive detention which will last 8 month. His brother Ludovic (clean record), and Yannick, his brother-in-law at the time (yet with 8 mentions), are placed under judicial supervision.
Now throughout the procedure their statements, they are again questioned by President Patricia Ledru this Monday, June 20. “I admit to having made a reflection, says Michaël Thiou, car mechanic, but in the altercation, I did not put any blow, and I did not seek that such a drama happens”. “I didn’t hit the person, it was me who was attacked, not the other way around”advances for his part his little brother Ludovic, maintenance agent. “I didn’t touch that man”continues the maintenance worker Yannick Haran, to say the least laconic.
The trial is expected to last five days. Will the follow-up to the debates make it possible to see this more clearly? Other witnesses are expected to testify, as well as several experts. The victim’s family, who came in large numbers to attend the hearing, is represented by Maître Ariane Mineur, of the Paris Bar. The pleadings of the defense (represented for its part by three lawyers from the bar of Compiègne, Me Sabine Thoma-Brunière, Me Charlotte de Boislaville and Me Anthony Alexandre) will take place tomorrow, Friday morning. The deliberation is expected at the end of the day.
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