Last Thursday, the Indictment Chamber should have analyzed the case of the Strépy tragedy and decided whether Paolo Falzone, the driver, remained incarcerated or could benefit from the electronic bracelet or not. But Me Gwennaëlle Bombart, collaborator of Me Discepoli asked for a postponement of the hearing, which was postponed to this Thursday, August 25.
As a reminder, the driver violently hit a carnival procession in Strépy-Bracquegnies on March 20, killing six people and injuring around thirty others. He had been placed under arrest warrant for the charge of manslaughter and involuntary assault.
At the end of May, the Tournai Council Chamber had granted him the electronic bracelet. But the prosecution had appealed. In early June, the Indictment Chamber extended the arrest warrant for two months.
In August, a dramatic turn of events: the Chamber of the Council of Tournai reclassifies, this time, the facts as murder for one of the victims. To do this, it was most certainly based on the numerous testimonies of the victims, as well as on the first more technical elements. We know, for example, that Paolo Falzone was driving at more than 140 km/h while the authorized speed at the location of the tragedy is only 50 km/h. The results of the technical analysis of the vehicle carried out in Germany are, however, not yet known. These will be decisive for the rest of the investigation…
As a reminder, Paolo’s lawyer appealed against this decision of the Council Chamber.
This Thursday, the debates therefore once again focused on the qualification of the facts. Me Bombart also asked that his client be able to benefit from the electronic bracelet. “The risks targeted by the law on preventive detention would be perfectly avoided by such surveillance, which is a form of detention. The person who holds a bracelet cannot leave his four walls except to go to his hearings or to a medical emergency for example and this, only with the agreement of the investigating judge, ”recalled the lawyer.
In the end, the Indictments Chamber decided to adopt the same position as the Council Chamber: the judgment it rendered advocates continued detention for two months as well as the charge of murder at the against one of the victims. Concrete consequence: the driver of the car now risks a heavier sentence and a trial at the assizes.
Note that the qualification may change throughout the duration of the survey. It also confirmed the driver’s arrest warrant for a period of two months.
For Grégory D’Andrea, the brother of Fred, the gille who was dragged several meters by the BMW of Paolo Falzone, the decision of the Chamber of indictments is a relief. For Fred d’Andréa’s brother, the most important thing, however, was the qualification of the facts. “In my opinion, this qualification can only be more serious against the driver. I mean that, if it still has to evolve, it is in the direction of recognition of a voluntary act against all the victims, even if the current recognition is already a great victory. It allows an appearance before the Court of Assizes. But, we must not forget that there were six deaths…”, he concludes.