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Delivery driver assaults Monegasque policewoman: 10-month suspended sentence

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The man was charged with insulting behaviour, verbal death threats and assault - © Communication Department / Michael Alesi

He stopped in the middle of the road on Boulevard Albert-Ier. 

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In mid-August last year, at a time when the Principality’s roads were particularly busy, this 37-year-old delivery driver randomly parked his vehicle on a pedestrian crossing while looking for an address. Seeing the inconvenience this was causing, a policewoman approached and, initially, made sure pedestrians could cross in safety. Then, when the driver hadn’t returned after 10 minutes, she decided to give him at ticket.

Reading from the case file, the President of the Monaco Criminal Court described the scene: “the gentleman was very irritated on his return, and the discussion quickly became heated. He uttered the first insults, Madame attempted to check his papers and, as she approached the vehicle, he closed the door on her, causing her injury.”Get out of the way or I’ll run you over. Shut your mouth,” he yelled at her, among other things. “You weren’t just badly parked,” continued Florestan Bellinzona, “you were right in the middle of the road,” as proven by the CCTV footage.

The policewoman was badly shaken

Present at the hearing on Tuesday 21 November, the police officer, who is part of the Unité de Préservation du Cadre de Vie (Living environment protection unit) was invited to speak. “When I arrived on the scene, my first reaction wasn’t to give him a citation, but to take care of the pedestrians. When I saw the gentleman, I greeted him and was never insulting towards him. I am badly shaken by what happened to me. I am not in this job to annoy people, contrary to what he says.” The officer suffered a bruised arm and grazes, for which she was granted a day’s absence from work.

One of the assessors, puzzled by the defendant’s nonchalant attitude, asked: “Do you regret what you did? We haven’t heard a word of apology from you during the hearing.” The thirty-year-old from Saint-Nazaire eventually uttered a barely audible “sorry.”

“We all know it is never pleasant to get a ticket. On the other hand, if you are parked like he was, you keep your head down,” said the plaintiff’s lawyer. “I thought he would withdraw his statements, but his explanations are still implausible. He says he didn’t see her when he shut the door, which is not true. As for his apology, it is not genuine.” Hervé Campana asked for €2,000 in damages for his client.

“I also would have liked a little more maturity and less bad faith,” said Prosecutor Maxime Maillet, with some irritation. “If we receive a citation, we should show respect to the officer and we do what is asked of us. Madame was simply doing her job, and maybe she wouldn’t have given him a ticket if he had apologised on his return. The gentleman should be aware he faces up to 10 years’ in prison and a fine of €18,000. The situation is of course compounded by the fact that the victim was a police officer on duty.” The public prosecutor asked for a 10-month suspended sentence.

A stressful job

In the accused’s defence, Grégoire Gamerdinger pointed out that the client’s work is particularly stressful. “Yes, he deserved the ticket, but you must understand that sometimes the delivery drivers have no choice but to park like that. His inappropriate response was stress-related, and he had no intention of injuring the officer. I would ask you to be lenient on this first-time offender.” 

After deliberating, the court decided on a 10-month suspended sentence and a fine of €500. It also awarded €500 in damages to the young woman.