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The Case of Geneviève Legay: The Prosecutor Who Lied Will Not Be Punished

Jean-Michel Prêtre, prosecutor of Nice, deliberately lied several times and confessed to have done it to protect Emmanuel Macron’s version of the incident. Instead of a sanction, he was simply transferred to the post of general advocate at the Court of Appeal of Lyon.

Geneviève Legay, a 73-year-old Attac organisation activist, spent several weeks in hospital following a police charge at a Yellow Vest demonstration in March. She suffered multiple fractures to the skull and coccyx, and a partial loss of her 5 senses. During the first week of her hospitalisation she was in a critical condition.

This case is the place of innumerable scandals, first and foremost the police violence suffered by the retiree. Then the words of Emmanuel Macron, turning the blame on Geneviève Legay, advising him to show more “wisdom”: “When we are fragile, we may be jostled, we do not go to places that are defined as forbidden and we do not put ourselves in situations like this”. Then we learned that the investigation was conducted by the wife of the commissioner involved. Geneviève Legay also said that she was pressured to be told that it was a journalist who had pushed her. The investigation was then disoriented. A few weeks later, the report of a commander revealed that even the gendarmes found the order to charge at that time to be “disproportionate”.

In mid-July, we discover that Jean-Michel Prêtre, Nice prosecutor and in charge of the case, was present in the police operations surveillance office on the day Geneviève Legay was assaulted. Finally, a few days ago, it was discovered that the same prosecutor who had witnessed the scene had deliberately lied to the press about the circumstances of the violence – in order to “protect the president’s version”. The truth therefore has little importance in the eyes of this prosecutor. He defended himself by arguing that it was necessary to avoid “too great divergences” with Emmanuel Macron.

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The latest development: after his lie, the Nice prosecutor will have to leave his post. Would this be a sanction for his scandalous management of a scandalous affair? Not really: he was simply transferred and is preparing to become general advocate at the Lyon Court of Appeal. This transfer is presented as a demotion, but as Mediapart points out, it allows above all to give no disciplinary follow-up to this case.

This is a perfect illustration of the lack of separation between the government and judiciary. Justice is not independent, it applies laws – that are themselves decided by the government. The repression, both police and judicial, of the Yellow Vests is an example: the judicial system is eminently political. Thus the impunity of this prosecutor is not the result of chance but rather the logical consequence of a repressive system organised against the popular classes and which rages more and more strongly.

Revolution Permanente, Cléo Rivierre



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