By: ELOISE WALTON
THE TWO French siblings accused of murdering the French sailor André Le Floch aboard his trimaran the Intermezzo last August were found guilty of all charges by Lagos court last Friday and sentenced to 24 years in prison each.
On entering court at 3.30pm, Thierry Beille and his half sister Corinne Caspar turned their backs to the court and spoke to the press, professing their innocence and anger at the Portuguese judicial system.
“We refuse to play any further part in the trial,” said Thierry Beille, adding: “This has been an unfair trial. The examinations we requested were not carried out and André le Floch died from hypothermia while waiting to be rescued, not by strangulation.”
As the judges, lawyers and state prosecutor entered the room, Thierry and Corinne refused to face them and continued speaking loudly to the press in an attempt to stop the proceedings.
“I will not face the judge, I will not answer her and I will not play any part in this any longer,” said Thierry Beille adding: “I will not stop talking until this is over.”
He handed a plastic wallet with several pages of handwritten notes to a French journalist in the crowd and told him it was his declaration and the real truth that should be told. This document was quickly seized by one of the prison guards and taken away. Within seconds, Dra Alda Casimiro, one of the judges, ordered the prison guards to remove Thierry Beille and Corinne Caspar by force from the court room, while they both continued to protest loudly.
It was agreed between Dra Alda Casimiro and the public prosecutor, Magalhães e Menezes, that the arguidos would not be allowed back into the court and the reading of the sentence continued without them.
Thierry Beille and Corinne Caspar were found guilty of every charge brought against them, first degree murder, attempted robbery of the Intermezzo trimaran and the attempt to hide the body. Dra Alda Casimiro said that the pair acted together in a cold and calculated manner that showed little value for human life or any remorse for what they had done.
Together, all of the charges attracted a total sentence of 24 years in prison each. This was considered by both defence and prosecution lawyers to be a very heavy sentence, considering that in Portuguese law the maximum sentence is 25 years.
The pair were also ordered to pay 20,000 euros to Stephan and Filipe Le Floch, the victim’s two youngest sons, and 15,000 euros to Franck Le Floch, the eldest son. Compensation of 20,000 euros is also to be awarded to Danielle Durigneux, the widowed partner of André Le Floch.
After the trial, Manuel dos Santos, the pair’s defence lawyer, told The Resident: “First of all I am going to read the sentencing document very carefully, and then I will decide whether I will appeal.
“It is likely, though, that I will appeal against the judge’s decision because I have doubts about proof for the crimes of theft and defamation of the body.”
Manuel dos Santos also said that he did not want to comment on Thierry and Corinne’s behaviour in the court.
Carlos Ferreira da Silva, the lawyer representing André Le Floch’s sons, told The Resident: “I can say that the law has been applied justly in this case. twenty-four years certainly is a very long sentence, just within the 25 year limit that Portuguese law allows.”
Carlos Ferreira da Silva also said that if Thierry and Corinne appeal against the sentence or ask for conditional release after half the time has been served then it may become an inadequate sentence.
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