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Why Joël Guerriau, accused of having drugged a member of parliament, will not benefit from parliamentary immunity

The senator from Loire-Atlantique, accused of having drugged MP Sandrine Josso without her consent, was indicted.

A senator indicted and placed under judicial supervision. Joël Guerriau, senator of the Independents of Loire-Atlantique, is suspected of having drugged the Modem deputy of the same department Sandrine Josso. A case which mixes Palais Bourbon and Palais du Luxembourg, and which raises the question of the parliamentary immunity of the elected official.

Parliamentary immunity does not prevent prosecution

Article 26 of the Constitution of the Fifth Republic states that “no member of Parliament may be subject, in criminal or correctional matters, to arrest or any other measure depriving or restricting liberty except with the authorization from the office of the assembly of which he is a member”.

“This authorization is not required in the event of a flagrant crime or offense or a final conviction,” further specifies article 26.

Important point: parliamentary immunity does not prevent the opening of an investigation, or even the initiation of prosecutions

Immunity lifted by vote of the Senate Bureau…

In the event that a senator is therefore the subject of proceedings involving a measure depriving or restricting liberty, it is therefore up to the Senate office to decide on the lifting of parliamentary immunity by a vote.

Article 16 of the General Instruction of the Office provides that the file is examined by the president of the delegation responsible for the conditions of exercise of the mandate of senator who then presents his report to the Office of the Senate.

The members of the Senate Bureau, who must decide “on the serious, loyal and sincere nature of the request presented to it with regard to the facts on which it is based to the exclusion of any other object”, then vote by hand lifting.

Only the meaning of the vote is made public and there is no appeal procedure for the parliamentarian concerned by this request for lifting of immunity.

…or automatically when there is a flagrant crime or misdemeanor

In this case, the parliamentary immunity enjoyed by Joël Guerriau in his capacity as senator has not been examined by the Senate Office: it is automatically lifted because it is a flagrant offense.

Article 53 of the Code of Criminal Procedure qualifies as flagrant “a crime or offense which is being committed or which has just been committed”.

“There is also a flagrant crime or misdemeanor when, very close to the time of the action, the suspected person (…) is found in possession of objects, or presents traces or clues, suggesting that he has participated in the crime or misdemeanor”, it is still written.

As part of this affair, a search carried out at the senator’s home allowed investigators to get their hands on a sachet of ecstasy, a drug found in the deputy’s body thanks to medical examinations. Thus, the Senate office did not have to meet to rule on this matter.

Hugues Garnier Journalist BFMTV

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