Police, judges target Sarkozy after teen murder horror
President Nicolas Sarkozy was under fire from France`s police and magistrates, outraged at his claim their incompetence let a repeat sex offender allegedly murder and dismember a teenage girl.
Paris: President Nicolas Sarkozy was under
fire on Friday from France`s police and magistrates, outraged at
his claim their incompetence let a repeat sex offender
allegedly murder and dismember a teenage girl.
The magistrates` union called for courthouses across the
country to go on strike until February 10 in protest, while
two major police unions accused the president of using the
murder to further his own right-wing political agenda.
The head, arms and legs of 18-year-old Laetitia Perrais
were found in a pond in the west of France on Tuesday after a
police hunt that gripped the nation. Police were today still
looking for her torso.
The main suspect in her murder, Tony Meilhon, 31, had
been jailed several times for crimes including sexual
offences, and was released in February last year after
finishing his latest sentence.
Sarkozy yesterday said that "serious dysfunctions" in the
police and judicial services had led to the suspect, who is
now in police custody, being released without being properly
"When you let an individual like the suspect (Meilhon)
out of prison without making sure that he will be monitored by
a probation officer, that is a mistake," said the president, a
former hardline interior minister.
But both police and magistrates say that they had carried
out their duties as best as they could, and blamed Sarkozy`s
government for not providing them with enough staff to keep
tabs on sex offenders when they are released.
Christophe Regnard, president of the main magistrates`
union USM, said that Sarkozy, who has on several occasions
criticised the country`s judges, should "assume his
responsibilities and stop blaming others for his own errors."
Magistrates in the western city of Nantes have already
gone on strike for a week over the affair, and now the rest of
the country`s judges are being urged to join them.
Le Monde newspaper yesterday noted that French
legislation includes a measure to allow offenders deemed
particularly dangerous to remain in detention even after
serving their sentence.
The paper said the problem lay in the fact that the state
has not provided the resources to implement such laws and
called for over-worked probation staff to be given the means
to carry out the post-prison monitoring of offenders properly.