The Paris Court of Appeal will rule on Tuesday morning’s rape allegations against director Luc Besson, an emblematic case of the #MeToo era that was dismissed in December.
On April 19, the investigatory chamber examined Dutch-Belgian actress Sand Van Roy’s appeal against the dismissal of the case, which benefited the influential French filmmaker and producer on December 9. The public prosecutor’s office requested confirmation of the dismissal.
On May 18, 2018, a few hours after meeting in a Parisian palace, the actress filed a complaint of rape, the protagonists of which gave two versions: according to Sand Van Roy, an imposed digital anal penetration, then fainting, despite his orders to stop. For Luc Besson, consensual vaginal intercourse full of “gentleness”.
Two months later, the actress filed a complaint alleging other rapes and sexual assaults committed between 2016 and 2018, episodes of “professional influence” under threat of “retaliation for her acting career” with the one who started the Cité du Cinéma north of Paris.
Classification, then dismissal
During the preliminary investigation, in December 2018, before the investigation was completed in February 2019, the filmmaker and the actress were confronted by Paris prosecutors, who considered that they had not been able to “characterize the denounced crime”.
The actress, who stars in Luc Besson’s Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets, then filed a civil lawsuit and, despite opposition from Paris prosecutors, obtained a referral to an investigating judge in October 2019.
Two years later, on December 9, a judge authorized to issue orders released the 34-year-old applicant “for lack of material evidence to support the statements”.
A vision rejected by Sand Van Roy, who filed a complaint against the judge for “falseness” and radically disputes the content of the judicial information, is, in her opinion, biased and incomplete.
“Luc Besson was never confronted with the material evidence that overwhelms him, for example the photographic report made to the forensic medical units on the day of the events, the beatings and injuries to the body of the civilian party accrediting the rape related by this and directly contradicts Luc Besson’s statements,” denounced Me Antoine Gitton, Sand Van Roy’s attorney at Me Francis Szpiner.
They recently paid for an analysis by four doctors who confirmed the existence and compatibility of his intimate wounds with his version of the facts being denounced.
“It’s been exactly 4 years since I made the big mistake of believing that France will protect me when I called the police after being raped. Since then I have only experienced injustice, even the falsification of my medical records,” the Belgian-Dutch actress said on Twitter on May 18.
Since the April 19 hearing, his council has called for a challenge to the Court of Appeal judge who must rule on that dismissal, “pure fiction written for Mr Besson”.
The 63-year-old producer, known from “The Big Blue”, “Fifth Element” or “Léon”, rejects these allegations and evokes an “easy and pleasant” extramarital relationship that we both agree on.
“I have never physically or morally compelled a woman to do anything,” he affirmed in October 2019, eliciting “regret” about that relationship “when there is indeed a relationship of subordination.”
“We await calmly the decision of the Court of Appeal with the concurring position of the Paris Prosecutor, the investigating magistrate and the Attorney General, all of whom have concluded that Luc Besson is innocent,” commented his attorney Me Thierry Marembert.
The producer is among the French who have been caught up in the wave of allegations from women who are said to have been victims of rape or sexual assault following the fall of American producer Harvey Weinstein in October 2017.
In court at least three women mentioned facts ranging from “neck kissing” to “attempted rape” which were denied by Mr Besson.
Other women had also testified to Mediapart about inappropriate gestures or often prescribed sexual assaults on the part of the director.
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