Fake gun pointed at passers-by causes panic in Monaco

GPSI police officers, who specialise in high-risk operations, were called in on the day of the incident, Friday 12 May 2023 - © Sûreté Publique

The police responded with assault rifles and shields outside the Ever exhibition that was taking place under the Fontvieille marquee. 

A thoughtless joke that turned out to be no laughing matter as the two young men spent three nights in Monaco’s jail before appearing in court. On the day of the court hearing, they were handcuffed as they were escorted to the stand by several police officers, as is customary procedure when the accused are caught in the act.

Friends and work colleagues at a Monaco car cleaning company in Monaco, the two young men, aged around 25, looked sheepish. They seemed to have realised the serious consequences of their behaviour, which caused a great deal of commotion and alarm a few days previously. On Friday 12 May, as the two men were attempting to park to go to the Ever exhibition, the passenger pointed what looked like a gun out of the car window.

Concerned by what he could see happening, another motorist reported the incident to the Police Department around 2 pm. Once on the scene and heavily armed, the officers quickly realised that the weapon was a fake. The two pranksters were taken into custody.

No criminal record

“How do you think it feels to have a gun pointed at you?” the Court’s president asked the two defendants, who claim that they had not been drinking or taking drugs on the day in question. “It must be scary, of course. I don’t know why I did I”t, says the passenger, head bowed. “As for my colleague, who was driving, he had nothing to do with it. At no point did he help me or encourage me to do it,” sayid the Menton resident who, like his colleague, had no criminal record.

Their employer agreed to testify in court. “I am surprised. I have no complaints about them from a professional point of view. In any case, I can assure you that I will be taking disciplinary measures, because they were on the job when the events took place.” Their partners also spoke up for their sweethearts.

“A couple of idiots who wanted to play at being gangsters”

Despite the defendants’ exemplary behaviour at the hearing, the prosecutor stressed that: “this pair caused a serious breach of the peace especially when there is an ongoing terrorism threat in a neighbouring country. That said, I get the feeling that these few days in custody have given them a real wake-up call.” The public prosecutor asked for a three-month suspended sentence for each of them.

“A couple of idiots who wanted to play at being gangsters. Today they are ashamed and sorry. When the GPSI arrived [Groupe de Protection, de Surveillance et d’Intervention – Ed.], they could have been shot,” pleaded their lawyer.

The court found one of them guilty of death threats and the other of being an accessory, and sentenced them to a somewhat lenient €1,000 suspended fine. This was a relief for the families and friends who were present at the hearing in large numbers to support them.