The Paris Court of Appeal is due to rule on Tuesday on the dismissal for “rape” ordered in December by an investigating judge in favor of director Luc Besson, an emblematic case of the #MeToo era.
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On April 19, the investigating chamber examined the appeal of the Dutch-Belgian actress Sand Van Roy against the abandonment of the proceedings from which the influential French filmmaker and producer benefited on December 9. The public prosecutor requested confirmation of the dismissal.
On May 18, 2018, the actress filed a complaint for rape, a few hours after an appointment in a Parisian palace. The two protagonists have two versions of the events: according to Sand Van Roy, an imposed anal penetration which led to her fainting, despite her injunctions to stop. For Luc Besson, a consented vaginal intercourse imbued with “gentleness”.
Two months later, the actress filed a complaint for other rapes and sexual assaults committed between 2016 and 2018 in Paris and London, episodes of a “relationship of professional influence” under threats of “retaliation on her career as a actress” with the man behind the creation of the Cité du Cinéma in the north of Paris.
During the preliminary investigation, the filmmaker and the actress were confronted once, in December 2018, before the closing of the investigation, in February 2019, by the Paris prosecutor’s office, which considered that it had not been able to “characterize the reported offence”.
The actress, who appears in “Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets” by Luc Besson, then filed a complaint with civil action and obtained, despite a refusal from the Paris prosecutor’s office, referral to an investigating judge. in October 2019.
Two years later, on December 9, an instructing magistrate issued a dismissal order “in the absence of any material element to support the statements” of the 34-year-old complainant.
A vision rejected by Sand Van Roy who filed a complaint against the judge for “false” and radically contests the content of the judicial information, according to her biased and incomplete.
“Luc Besson has never been confronted with the material evidence which overwhelms him, for example the photographic report made to the medico-judicial units on the day of the events, the blows and injuries on the body of the civil party which accredits the rape recounted by this one and directly contradicts the declarations of Luc Besson”, denounces Me Antoine Gitton, lawyer of Sand Van Roy with Me Francis Szpiner.
They recently paid an analysis of four doctors confirming the existence and the compatibility of his intimate wounds with his version of the facts denounced.
“I regret having lodged a complaint, this country does not protect the victims of known people”, affirmed still recently the Belgian-Dutch actress who considers herself “destroyed” by this procedure.
His advice has asked since the hearing of April 19 the challenge of the magistrate of the Court of Appeal who must rule on this dismissal, “a pure fiction written for Mr. Besson”.
The 63-year-old producer, known for “The Big Blue”, the “Fifth Element” or “Léon”, rejects these accusations and evokes a “light and pleasant” extramarital relationship, mutually consented to.
“I have never physically or morally forced a woman into anything”, he assured in October 2019, indicating that he “regrets (had) to have had a relationship with this young girl when indeed there is a relationship of subordination”.
“We calmly await the decision of the Court of Appeal, with the concordant position of the Paris prosecutor’s office, the investigating judge and the general prosecutor’s office who have all concluded that Luc Besson is innocent”, commented his lawyer Me Thierry Marembert.
The producer of “Taxi” is one of the French figures caught in the wave of accusations from women who claim to have been victims of rape or sexual assault in the wake of the fall of American producer Harvey Weinstein in October 2017.
In court, at least three women mentioned facts ranging from “kisses on the neck” to “attempted rape”, disputed by Mr. Besson.
Other women had also testified to Mediapart about inappropriate gestures or sexual assaults, often prescribed, on the part of the director.