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Trial of Frenchman charged with murdering girlfriend starts |04 February 2022

The trial of 35-year-old Frenchman Thomas Debatisse accused of and charged with murdering his girlfriend, 32-year-old Emmanuelle Badibanga, during their holiday at the Club Med Seychelles’ all-inclusive resort on Ste Anne Island on April 26 last year, opened at the Supreme Court yesterday morning.

The whole of yesterday morning was spent choosing members of the jury in the case and they are five men and four women.

Judge Melchior Vidot is presiding over the case while the prosecution lawyers are Herman Kumar and Gulmette Leste. The accused is being represented by lawyers Basil Hoareau and Ms Afif.

During the afternoon session Judge Vidot explained the modality of the case to members of the jury, informing them that as of yesterday the case would be heard every day and it is expected to be concluded by the end of the month of February.

He informed the jurors that several witnesses are expected to give evidence before the court in the case and these are the only evidence on which they are expected to focus their judgment.

Judge Vidot also informed the jurors that they are the soul judges of the facts and their judgment in the case based on the evidence that the witnesses will present is very important.

He also stressed that the accused, Thomas Debatisse, does not have to prove his innocence in the case but that it is the responsibility of the jurors and the prosecution to prove him either guilty or innocent.

For his part, Mr Kumar has called on the jurors to listen carefully to all the evidence that the witnesses will present before the court to decide if they are really telling the truth.

Furthermore, he went on to explain to the jurors their role and responsibility, adding that together with the prosecution lawyers they have the responsibility to prove the accused either guilty or innocent.

All the jurors were presented with a copy of the charges set against Mr Debatisse in the case.

Meanwhile, at the end of yesterday’s session the defence lawyer asked judge Vidot for a court order to ensure Club Med Seychelles preserves camera footage of the door record of room 2027 ‒ from April 26, 2021 to April 28, 2021 ‒ where the body of Ms Badibanga was found. His request was supported by the prosecution lawyer Mr Kumar.

The trial continues today with presentations from different witnesses including two doctors.


Marie-Anne Lepathy

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