The Attorney General has requested a suspended prison sentence of eight months for Bastien Chalureau, player of the French rugby team who was tried on Tuesday, November 14, on appeal for a racist attack on two men in 2020 in Toulouse.
At first instance he was given a suspended prison sentence of six months. The affair resurfaced before the Rugby World Cup. The court of appeal’s decision will be announced on January 16.
At the helm of the Court of Appeal in Toulouse, Bastien Chalureau played inconspicuously on Tuesday, wearing a gray-blue jacket and black-rimmed glasses on his nose. He admits to drinking too much that evening – beer, whisky, vodka – and hitting the two complainants. He assures that he has one ” difficult time “ of his playing career, as he did not play for his club, Stade Toulouse.
“I’m not a racist”
“It is not forbidden to drink, it is only forbidden to hit people”, responds Bastien Chalureau, the president of the court of appeal. The 31-year-old rugby player denies throwing them ‘Are you okay, the bougnoules? »as the plaintiffs claim.
“I deeply regret what I did, I am not a racist”, “I have never made an inappropriate statement to anyone”, “I worked on myself with a psychologist, I changed my lifestyle”defends Montpellier’s second line.
The attorney general asks him if he has apologized to his victims. He answers “No”. Since then, he says, he has stopped drinking or going out, and he believes this has helped his career take off.
“If you are a top athlete, you have to show exemplary behavior. Why attack two people who have done nothing to you? », asks the representative of the Public Prosecution Service. He was then surprised that the player denied any form of violence during his police interrogation, twelve days after the events.
A heavier punishment
In his comments, the Attorney General demands a harsher sentence than Mr Chalureau was sentenced to. “The facts are established”the claimants “Evoking undeniably racist comments”he suggests, assessing that alcohol consumption likely occurred “uninhibited” the accused.
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For David Mendel, the defense lawyer, the judgment at first instance, which upheld the aggravating circumstance of the racist nature of the athlete’s comments, is “infamous”. “There is nothing in your record that contradicts Mr. Chalureau’s comments. (…) You regard the testimonies of witnesses as objective testimonies”pleads Me Mendel.
“If there is no evidence that these comments were made, the presumption of innocence applies. As for the racist motive, you need to relax him. Bastien is not a racist, everyone knows that”he emphasizes.
Among the documents included in the file is a letter from his captain and teammate within the Montpellier rugby club Yacouba Camara, in which Bastien Chalureau is cleared of racist tendencies.
“It’s unnecessary aggression”
According to the defense, when the suspect and his two victims collided at 4 a.m. that night in the center of Toulouse, it was the result of an altercation in a bar earlier in the evening.
“My clients heard racist insults and were then attacked. It’s not a fight. This is unnecessary aggression. It all started with a blow from behind to one of my clients.”underlines Me Laurent Sabounji, attorney for the plaintiffs.
As the Rugby World Cup approached, the matter was again highlighted in the media, prompting the head of state to speak out on the issue. Emmanuel Macron then estimated that in the event of confirmation he would appeal the verdict “would be preferred” that he no longer wears the jersey of the French team.
During the World Cup, Bastien Chalureau played only half an hour against Uruguay. He got a call at 1uh September in the French group to compensate for Paul Willemse’s injury.