Two years in prison for having used an automatic pistol

The 27-year old man appeared Wednesday morning before the Saint-Martin criminal court for a summary trial.

The facts are fairly typical in terms of delinquency and violence in Saint-Martin. A 27-year old man pulled out an automatic pistol and shot the person who had gotten on his nerves and insulted him. However, without injuring him. The incident took place on Sunday May 15 at a party in Saint-Louis. The defendant wanted to go get some ice and took a car, but wanted to leave by the parking lot entrance. Therefore, the security guard gave him a sign that he was driving in the wrong direction. Obviously, he didn’t get the message. The tension rose between the two men. There was a first insult. Followed by a second one. The driver was upset by the security guard’s supposed lack of respect towards him. He pulled his gun out and pulled the trigger. The firing angle is different according to the versions: in the air according to the author, toward the victim according to the latter who supposedly avoided the bullet by pushing himself. According to the defendant, the bullets were blanks. "I just wanted to scare him so that he would shut up," he explained.

However, this case is different from those that the court is used to examining due to the shooter’s profile.

The author of the shots, François, went  to turn himself in at the gendarmerie on the following day of the incident. He’s considered as a "remarkable young man, a great person" who has been working for a social-integration support association for almost a year. Everyone acknowledges and appreciates his work. The investigation file highlighted his many human qualities. “Everything’s going well for him. He’s in this logic of helping others, getting people out of the street", noted the Deputy Prosecutor Michaël Ohayon. The defendant regularly goes in schools and middle schools to give an example to the children; he works in collaboration with the authorities.


"He’s the very image of reintegration," said his employer. François served an 8-year prison sentence. He was sentenced in 2010 by the Assizes Court of Guadeloupe for having committed violence with a weapon resulting in death (but unintentionally). He was released in May 2015 with an electronic bracelet that he wore until December. And was hired by a social-integration support association.

In court, he was calm. He didn’t lose his patience as the judges asked him questions as can happen with other defendants. On the contrary. He took it upon himself. He didn’t try to find any excuses. "I know that what I did was serious...", he repeated on several occasions. "I will surely go to jail," he added before apologizing to the victim by turning his eyes from the judges towards him. "He doesn’t have the profile of the kind of offender that we’re used to seeing," said Michaël Ohayon. "What a shame!", he allowed himself to say. But, in his requisitions, he "couldn’t allow himself to ignore his criminal record and the seriousness of the incident". Therefore, he requested a 3-year sentence including one year of suspension and two years of probation with the obligation to work, receive treatment, and prohibition to carry weapon. He also requested a detention warrant.


It was in this same state of mind that the court deliberated. In order to ensure "the institution’s credibility in the light of the seriousness of the acts committed", the judges  delivered a detention warrant and a 3-year prison sentence, including one year of suspension with two years of probation with the obligation to work and receive treatment. He will also be banned from carrying a weapon. A ban by which the defendant will be compliant, this time, he said.

"When you have a weapon, you’re tempted to use it", he replied to the judge who had asked him if he would want to once again carry a weapon. Last Sunday, François had a gun because he felt threatened since the death of his friend in February, who was killed in front of him.





Estelle Gasnet