tahiti mag attacks judicial harrassment

"True justice, like the can-can, happens in Paris."
MEDIA PRESS FREEDOM ALERT from TAHITI PACIFIQUE MAGAZINE October 2007 issue “The judicial adventure continues ..” Prosecutor Bianconi and his cronies use subtle tricks of justice against Tahiti-Pacifique magazine What was doubtful, has happened. Our astonishing conviction – from a trial we consider scandalous - brought by Ms. Bourne, as well as two other trials in the same vein (Nelson Levy(1) and Yves Haupert(2)), reinforces our view that they were only a first step, an "appetiser" for a large-scale offensive mounted by prosecutor Jean Bianconi to silence Tahiti-Pacifique magazine. For example, on 1st September we received a fax from a grand dame of an investigatory court, commanding we submit ourselves to her offices, in Paris, on 10th October at 9 am (she indicates which metro station!) so they could examine us over our article "Yes, JPK was murdered." See (TPM 189, p.22-25). Plaintiffs in this remote control procedure are none other than senior prosecutors in Papeete, namely public prosecutor Jean Bianconi, vice-prosecutor Christophe Perruaux and Philippe Stelmach, deputy investigator at trial court. In Paris? Yet all these senior judges live and work just fine under the coconut trees of Tahiti, (which is why they have been honoured in our pages), as does the Tahiti-Pacifique editor, on the island of Moorea, 20 kilometres from Papeete. Why Paris? Why move legal actions to 20,000 km away? Is not that what one might call a judicial ‘trap’? So, just for the "first hearing of a formal review,” I was condemned “to begin” a trip to Moorea-Tahiti-Los Angeles-Paris (and back), a journey that can not be completed in less than four days because it represents a trip of 38,000 km with a minimum of 46 hours in the air at a cost of about 4,000 euros: airplane, taxis, restaurants, hotels in Tahiti and Paris where I do not know anyone; buying warm clothes, and so on. I do not even have a tie. Nightmarish, you need extra support for two flights of 12 hours. Is this requirement for such a journey - allegedly for justice - not unreal, too? So, even before formal review, we would already be sentenced to pay a small fortune that Tahiti-Pacifique does not have, because the monthly publication is a tiny {circ: 6,500}, almost philanthropic business in a micro market (with an economy in crisis); as our accusers know very well. A lawyer friend familiar with the world of Parisian black robes explains how this Schmilblick works: "To file a complaint in Paris was simple, Bianconi did not even have to apply for relocation of the case. It was enough to show that Tahiti-Pacifique is distributed in Paris. He bought a copy of the magazine in Paris [a bookstore in L'Harmattan sells 25 a month], is issued a purchase invoice and completes the trick: the offence is committed in Paris and the Court of First Appearance holds jurisdiction. Complaining against this kind of "contract" - dependant on the goodwill of one party to decide jurisdiction - has been tried before. It is an old petty viciousness already used in the past at trial in St Denis, Reunion or St Pierre and Miquelon, forcing the author or editor of a book published in Paris to defend themselves in these distant jurisdictions. “Under such practice, an effort to prejudice the rights of the defence is obvious, because free choice of jurisdiction in investigation and trial is contrary to general principles of law - we do not choose the judge. “Nevertheless, strangely, the supreme court has so far accepted any place as proper jurisdiction wherever the crime was committed. “You will have to defend yourself against Bianconi and his acolytes assisting the leading lights from the fourth section of the Paris prosecutors’ office specialising in this area, under a magistrate who must regularly commit this type of case to trial, and ends before the 17th chamber of the courts, which specializes in the law of the press. I have seen the problems raised by such a case and you will not get away without hiring a lawyer expert in laws of the press. “It is certain that the three judges will rely on statutory protections for a magistrate acting in the discharge of his duties. Still, it is known that for any hope of a discharge before the 17th Chamber of the Paris courts, you must engage the services of a professional in the field. Expect to suffer financially." This is a very Machiavellian trap. First our accusers appear to have used procedural tricks known only for forensic purposes, too long to explain here. The fact that for the evidentiary review, we must first defend ourselves before charge courts, with what we can do with lawyers that cost ‘the skin off your ass,’ that even after three trials before the 17th special chamber, the chance to be heard will be that person who hired the best lawyers at the best price. Then it will be the court of appeal, then supreme court, then certainly I will be doomed. Indeed, our accusers most certainly have friends and friends of their networks from schools, churches or others, ready to rend us apart. In addition, the complainants themselves enjoy beautifully indexed wages and legal aid, which, under ‘this statutory protection for magistrate discharging their duties’(3) will allow them in March to draw from the leading lights of the 4th section of the Paris prosecutor’s office that specializes in this area, as well as lawyers at the Bar of the 17th Chamber, "specialists" where justice is rather a matter of endless debate among lawyers, costly experts on the intricacies of procedure and legal jurisprudence, at the expense of the poor litigant, of course. So, if these proceedings are on their terms, convicted or acquitted, it will guarantee the demise of our publication, which has been in existence for 17 years and has an excellent reputation, both locally, nationally and across the Pacific region. An apparent eagerness of the attorney Bianconi against certain persons is public knowledge of some notoriety in Tahiti. Several cases: Vetea Guilloux, the agent who accused his colleagues of murdering the journalist Jean-Pascal Couraud (JPK), but who was himself sentenced to jail; former doyen of senior examining Papeete magistrates, Jean Taliercio-Baptiste who resigned in disgust after a legal reprimand. According to his lawyer, files mounted against him reached five meters high. As former head of research for police, Capt. Gilles Goubin saw his career shattered, having to sell his apartment to pay his legal fees, an economy from a life of honest work. Now it is our turn to suffer the wrath of Bianconi. It seems obvious that we will suffer singed feathers, especially since our opponents have access to all means of state justice, the better to grind us down. Since a fairly rough interview with prosecutor Bianconi after the first trial of Vetea Guilloux in late 2004, we gathered two witnesses including another magistrate inside the courthouse who told us Bianconi made statements such as "I will have the head of du Prel." We also believe that this trap was in planning for a long time: in fact, beginning in April 2005 a meeting took place of the "inner circle" of former president Gaston Flosse during which they analyzed the reasons for the crushing electoral defeat of their Senator. Several comments in confidence as well as articles in weekly newspaper L'Hebdo confirmed that Tahiti-Pacifique is seen by these people as one of those "responsible" for the fall of the great Gaston (thanks for the compliment). So, in order to ensure a glorious return to power of "brother Chirac”, it is necessary to shut down this little, overly-independent news organization. Apparently attending this same meeting was Ms. Christine Bourne, a former journalist of Les Nouvelles, which explains the 80 million FPF French Pacific Francs (668,000 euros!) in public money that former president Flosse gave to her: "my role was much more confidential based on breaking news (...) and conducting confidential strategy meetings each weekend to discuss what tactics were planned, in addition to talks on the phone almost every day." This would explain why this lady wrote in April 2005, under the heading "Confidences" in her internet blog, this sentence: "Our colleague du Prel stands a fair chance of having to exculpate himself from court (etc)(4). From Paris to Papeete, trials will descend ... " (5) The question is this: how is it that the confidential adviser to Mr. Flosse knows in advance that we would have three trials in Tahiti (hers and two other forced ahead by Gaston Flosse), and especially that three different prosecutors were assigned us in the courts of Paris? Would the prosecutor have been able to participate in this memorable meeting of the "inner circle" for Gaston Flosse??? We don’t doubt it! Of course, it is clear that we are not going to be “put through the mill" without defending ourselves, even with our small "provincial", or "colonial" resources. So we wrote a long letter to Mrs. Rashida Dati, the Minister of Justice and Keeper of the Seals to explain our problem, stating that "even if I testified in Paris courts how justice works in the distant island of Tahiti, for sure you will take me for a fool it seems so unbelievable. " We also contacted our brothers in the Parisian press, and you know how some responded? "Listen, it's great. The subject of the article which we are attacking is the JPK case, the GIP agents, the network of protection around Flosse, and so on. Finally a trial in Paris on these affairs! So go ahead, tell everything that you know, we will all be there, our pencils sharpened already!" Maybe, but even if ultimately I won, I would be ruined, battered. That is certainly the aim of this Parisian "manipulation" that strongly resembles a vendetta. One case, to be sure, to follow! Alex W. du PREL (1) Shortly after Ms. Bourne, M. Nelson Levy, a former treasurer of the Tahoera'a Party (from Mr. Flosse) drags me to court for supposed defamation in a letter from a reader, claiming Fcfp 1 million in damages. I called a long time associate to ask him where the case came from. He says "Listen, take a look at Quinquis (a lawyer for the Tahoera'a), he did it." Shortly after, unfortunately, he died. Some days before the trial, I call and leave messages for Mr. Quinquis which he does not respond to. On the eve of the trial, on 26th June, I call the clerk of the criminal court who replied, "No, I have nothing at all on the court register, there's no trial, but call the prosecutors Registry to be sure." I call this office and state my name, and a lady say "Yes, yes, yes, you must come, if it has been registered, the trial will take place." Panicked, I quickly prepare my defence, working until late at night; take the boat at 5am for court at 8 am, where I discover that my case has been added to the bottom of the register. Then, the president of the tribunal agreed with the lawyer of Nelson Levy that there is no security of costs, and that they would advertise notification of a new date for trial. I had to wait until the end of August to receive a letter from the correctional court to say that as Mr. Levy had never filed records, the case is closed. I was therefore summoned to the court when it knew very well that there could be no trial. That is quite similar to being made an unwitting tool of justice. (2) For the complaint by Yves Haupert (a former head of the propaganda unit for President Flosse, same lawyer, same one million claim, same fallacious reasons), I find myself in the dock on 31st July (after Mr. Flosse signed into ‘civil union’ with Mr. Temaru) and, oh surprise, I can speak, I can defend, they allow me to plead freely. On September 26, the court dismissed Mr. Haupert and declared my discharge. (3) Legal protection also enjoyed by High Commissioner Mathieu following a complaint from Yves Conroy accusing him of refusing to dismiss vice president of the assembly, Henri Flohr, even though declared legally ineligible. Thanks to the players at the Paris bar, the case was entitled to a ‘presidential’ funeral. (4) Extracts from a report by territorial auditors. (5) April 2005 “Confidences” – Tahiti Today