Raphaël Michel defence lawyers question the impartiality of customs

Thursday March 28 2019 by Vitisphere

Guillaume Ryckwaert, former CEO of Raphaël Michel. His lawyers question the role played by customs in the fraud proceedings.Guillaume Ryckwaert, former CEO of Raphaël Michel. His lawyers question the role played by customs in the fraud proceedings. - Photo credit : DR

In another dramatic turn of events in the case of bulk shipper Raphaël Michel, Olivier Morice, the lawyer of the company’s former CEO, Guillaume Ryckwaert, and his colleague Pierre-François Giudicelli, counsel of the eponymous company, have questioned the role played by customs authorities during the procedure that led to the indictment of Guillaume Ryckwaert for fraud in June 2017. On 13 March, the two lawyers filed a priority constitutionality question with the investigating division of the Nîmes Court of Appeal.

“We pointed out the lack of impartiality by customs”

Declared admissible by the Court, it was forwarded to the Criminal Division of the Court of Appeal, which in turn must forward it, after examination, to the Constitutional Council. “Since the beginning of this case, we have pointed out the lack of impartiality of customs in the investigations they have conducted”, Olivier Morice told Vitisphere. “It is their departments that carry out investigations at the request of the courts while, at the same time, assessing and claiming the amount of damages in payment of sums likely to be related to fraud and of which they are victims. Mr Guillaume Ryckwaert, who has always contested his full responsibility, denounces the fact that customs behave as both judge and jury”. According to the defence lawyers, the procedure contravenes Article 16 of the Declaration of the Rights of Man and of the Citizen, which stipulates that “any society in which the guarantee of rights is not ensured, nor the determined separation of powers, has no constitution”.

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