Attorney General Requests Heavier Sentence for Rugby Player
The attorney general has requested an eight-month suspended prison sentence for Bastien Chalureau, a player of the French rugby team who is currently on trial for a racist attack against two men in Toulouse in 2020. Chalureau had previously been given a six-month suspended prison sentence. The court of appeal will announce its decision on January 16.
During the trial, Chalureau appeared in court wearing a gray-blue jacket and black-rimmed glasses, maintaining a low profile. He admitted to consuming alcohol excessively on the night of the incident and to physically assaulting the two complainants. Chalureau claimed that he was going through a difficult period in his playing career as he was not being selected for his club, Stade Toulouse.
“I am not racist”
Chalureau vehemently denied making racist remarks towards the victims, stating, “It’s not forbidden to drink, it’s just forbidden to hit people.” He expressed regret for his actions and emphasized that he had never made any inappropriate statements towards anyone. Chalureau also mentioned that he had sought help from a psychologist and made significant lifestyle changes.
When asked if he had apologized to the victims, Chalureau admitted that he had not. He claimed to have stopped drinking and going out at night since the incident, believing that this change had positively impacted his career.
Request for a Heavier Sentence
The attorney general argued for a heavier sentence, citing the established facts and the undeniable racist comments made by Chalureau. The consumption of alcohol was believed to have contributed to the defendant’s uninhibited behavior.
Chalureau’s defense lawyer, David Mendel, criticized the initial judgment, describing it as infamous. Mendel argued that there was no evidence contradicting Chalureau’s statements and questioned the objectivity of witness testimonies.
Among the documents presented in court was a letter from Chalureau’s captain and teammate at Montpellier rugby club, Yacouba Camara, which attested to Chalureau’s lack of racist tendencies.
The defense claimed that the altercation between Chalureau and the victims occurred following a verbal exchange in a bar earlier that evening. The defense lawyer for the victims emphasized that his clients had been subjected to racist insults before being attacked, characterizing it as gratuitous aggression.
The media attention surrounding the case increased as the Rugby World Cup approached, prompting President Emmanuel Macron to comment on the matter. Macron stated that if the initial judgment was confirmed on appeal, it would be preferable for Chalureau to no longer represent the French team.
During the World Cup, Chalureau only played for half an hour against Uruguay. He was called up to the French team on September 1st as a replacement for the injured Paul Willemse.
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