Dino Scala trial: Why did “the rapist of the Sambre” appeal his conviction?
“Because he tells you it’s not him.” Dino Scala’s two lawyers had a lot to do during the trial of the man whom the police had nicknamed “the rapist of the Sambre”. After three weeks of hearing, the North Assize Court sentenced the 61-year-old father to twenty years in prison for 54 rapes, sexual assaults or attempts.
However, the latter decided on Thursday to appeal the judgment. While he confessed to being the author of 40 facts, including 16 rapes, Dino Scala is still contesting 14 facts that date back to the early 1990s. Why appeal when his sentence, given the gravity of the facts, does not has virtually no chance of being reduced?
An unsuitable law for serial rapes?
To understand the stakes of this new appeal trial, we must first dive back into the Code of Criminal Procedure. As the Advocate General had mentioned during the trial, “with only one of his rapes with a weapon, Dino Scala would already incur fifteen years of imprisonment”. Except that the law does not provide for either the serial side or premeditation as aggravating circumstances in relation to rape.
The maximum sentence that Dino Scala risked in this case was therefore twenty years’ imprisonment with a two-thirds security sentence. Sentence which he actually received. However, in its verdict, “the Court was not insensitive to the sincerity of the accused”, assures his lawyer, Margaux Mathieu. Indeed, he was cleared of the only rape he contested, but also of an attempted rape of a 13-year-old minor.
“However, it is regrettable that the Court did not go to the end of its reasoning, believes Me Mathieu. For 14 disputed facts which are misdemeanors, the Court condemned my client without the slightest incriminating element. Sometimes offenses dating back 35 years for which no procedure has been found. »
In her argument, the lawyer had notably mentioned the case of rapists who had raged in the same sector. “It has been established that other men committed similar acts in all respects over the same period, says Margaux Mathieu. Dino Scala must be condemned for what he did, not for attacks committed by others. »
For example, in one of the complainants, fingerprints were found at the scene of the assault, which do not match those of Dino Scala. “Such elements should have led to an acquittal,” denounces the lawyer. Especially since with the closure of the investigations, it will no longer be possible to confront other possible suspects.
And the victims in all this?
Lawyer for nine victims, Fanny Bruyerre regrets, on the other hand, this call. “They are disappointed and wonder if they will have to come back to testify at the bar. It’s a terrible ordeal for them,” she explains. This exercise risks, in fact, waking up painful memories again, but the appeal trial, which must be held in several months in Saint-Omer, in the Pas-de-Calais, will perhaps make it possible to remove the last doubts. .
This trial may not be the last. The public prosecutor has decided to reopen 14 proceedings against Dino Scala. These are acts of rape and sexual assault also committed in the Val de Sambre and which had already been studied and excluded from the file. “The fact of reopening these investigations after the trial at the Assizes is insane”, according to Dino Scala’s lawyer. In any case, the case of the “rapist of the Sambre” is far from over.
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