Diana crash inquiry report
Final report by Paris prosecutor's office
COURT OF THE FIRST INSTANCE
Public Prosecutor of the French Republic
Dept. : P5 GENERAL CRIMINAL LAW
The Public Prosecutor of the French Republic, at the court of the First Instance,
Having examined the following enquiry against:
1) ARNAL SergeUnder investigation charged with:
failing to assist people in danger
Public Prosecutor's charge of 2nd September 1997 (D792)
Mr Jean PAUL
Mr Mohammed AL FAYED
Mrs Francis SHAND-KYDD
Mr Trevor REES JONES
WHEREAS THE ENQUIRY HAS ESTABLISHED THE FOLLOWING FACTS:
The first Paris fire brigade crew arrived at the scene at 0.32 hrs.
Inside the tunnel, in the Concorde-Boulogne lane, police and rescue services discovered a black Mercedes vehicle, type S280, registration number 680 LTV75. The vehicle was badly damaged and had come to rest against the outer wall of the tunnel, facing in the opposite direction to the normal flow of traffic.
Four people were found inside the vehicle
- Lady Diana SPENCER, who had been sitting in the rear right passenger seat, was still conscious and crouched on the floor of the vehicle with her back to the road.
- At her side, stretched out on the rear seat, was Emad AL FAYED, who had been sitting in the rear left passenger seat and appeared to be dead. Nevertheless, fire officers were still trying - in vain - to resuscitate him when he was pronounced dead by a doctor at 1.30hrs.
- In the front of the vehicle was the driver, Henri PAUL, the deputy security manager at the Ritz hotel, who had been killed immediately and was declared dead on removal from the wreckage.
- The front passenger was Trevor REES JONES, a body guard in the employment of the Al FAYED family, who was still conscious and had suffered serious multiple injuries to the face.
The two forward passengers' airbags had functioned normally.
Three people attended to the casualties: Dr Frédéric MAILLEZ, a doctor with "SOS Médécin", and two volunteer fire officers, Dominique DALBY and a second who is unnamed. All three had been driving in the opposite direction, and on seeing the wrecked car, had stopped to go spontaneously to the aid of its occupants.
In the tunnel, among the onlookers who had gathered around the vehicle, several photographers were in action.
(D1602 - D1606)
(D789 - D6858)
(D6833 - D6821)
However, despite intensive surgical intervention, doctors had no option but to declare her dead at 4am.
The report submitted by professors Dominique LECOMTE and Andre LIENHART concluded that the cause of death was a wound to the upper left pulmonary vein, together with a rupture to the pericardium. The experts believed that it was exceptional for a patient who had suffered such serious intra-thoracic lesions to reach hospital alive, resuscitation had been in accordance with pre-hospitalisation regulations. According to the experts, the surgical team was beyond reproach, and no other surgical, anaesthetic or resuscitation strategy could have prevented deterioration in the condition of the patient.
The opening of the enquiry ....
The Paris Prosecution Department, which immediately sent a representative to the scene, entrusted the enquiry of the case to the Paris police crime squad. It is in these conditions that several press photographers: Christian MARTINEZ, from the Angely Agency, Romuald RAT from the Gamma Agency, Stéphane DARMON, his companion, Jacques LANGEVIN, from the Sygma Agency, Serge ARNAL, from the Steels Press Agency, Laslo VERES, independent photographer and Nikola ARSOV, from the Sipa Presse, were taken in for questioning because of their attitude at the scene.
(D796 - D797 - D800 - D803 - D809 - D813)
(D1299 - D1302 - D1305)
The paths explored by the enquiry:
-The enquiry, which was finally entrusted to two examining magistrates by the Presiding Judge of the Court of Paris, because of the extent and complexity of the investigations to be carried out, was going to clarify the context in which the photographers had followed the Mercedes in which the couple were travelling and the affect of their presence on the behaviour of the driver of the vehicle immediately before the accident.
-In addition, the preliminary investigation file had to identify and examine the attitude adopted by these same photographers in the moments which immediately preceded the accident.
-The enquiry was also going to look into the conditions in which Henri PAUL had taken the wheel of the Mercedes carrying the couple on the evening of 31st August 1997
(D816 - D828 -D1329 - D1332 - D1342 - D1519 - D1522 - D1524)
Similarly, these analyses revealed as those carried out on samples of the hair and bone marrow of the deceased, that he regularly consumed Prozac and Tiapridal, both medicines which are not recommended for drivers, as they provoke a change in the ability to be vigilant, particularly when they are taken in combination with alcohol.
- Finally the investigations which were carried out both at the scene and on the vehicle itself, allowed for the hypothesis of a possible collision with another vehicle.
(D5433 to D5829 - D5969)
The additional research carried out by I.R.C.G.N. showed traces, both on the front right wing and on the body of the wing mirror, which came from the same vehicle, whose technical characteristics corresponded to a vehicle make Fiat "Uno", white in colour, built in Italy in the period 1983 to the end of August 1987.
The arrival in Paris of the couple Diana SPENCER and Emad AL FAYED:
The arrival of the couple in Paris and their movements during the day of 30th August 1997 mobilised a growing number of press photographers.
Lady Diana SPENCER, Princess of Wales, and her friend, Emad AL FAYED, had landed at Le Bourget airport in the morning of the 30th August 1997 from Sardinia, at the end of a Mediterranean cruise, where they had been followed by a great number of the world's press.
The couple were accompanied by two English bodyguards, employed by the private security of the AL FAYED family, Trevor REES JONES and Alexander WINGFIELD.
Two vehicles were waiting for them, a Range Rover which was driven by Henri PAUL, deputy security manager of the Ritz hotel, owned by the father of Emad AL FAYED, Mohammed AL FAYED, and a Mercedes 600, driven by Philippe DOURNEAU, Mohammed AL FAYED's official driver when he was in France.
The Princess had not advised the British Embassy of her presence in France and had not requested any particular protection from the French authorities.
The press was present from their arrival: at the airport were: Fabrice CHASSERY, at the wheel of a charcoal grey Peugeot 205, registration no. 5816 WJ 92, David ODEKERKEN was driving a beige Mitsubishi "Pajero" 4/4, registration no.520 LPZ75, Romuald RAT and his driver, Stéphane DARMON, on a dark blue Honda motorcycle, registration no. 302 LXT75 and Alain GUIZARD, from the Angely Agency, was in a grey-blue Peugeot 205, registration no.3904 ZR 92, accompanied by three press motorcyclists from the same agency.
After a detour to one of the residences of the AL FAYED family, the Windsor villa, situated on the Bois de Boulogne, Lady Diana SPENCER and Emad AL FAYED went to the Ritz hotel.
(D1043 - D2473 -D1052)
At about 18.00hrs the couple, still in the Mercedes driven by Philippe DOURNEAU, returned to the AL FAYED family hotel, rue Arsène Houssaye, very close to the Arc de Triomphe, while Jean-François MUSA replaced Henri PAUL at the wheel of the Range Rover.
(D2173 - D2178 - D1043 - D2020 - D1633)
As well as the photographers who were already present since Le Bourget, there were in front of the building in the rue Arsène Houssaye, Serge BENAMOU and Lalso VERES, who were both riding their scooters, as well as Christian MARTINEZ and Serge ARNAL , who had come in the latter's car, a Fiat black "UNO", registration no. 444 JNB 75.
He cancelled this reservation at about 21.00, as Emad AL FAYED informed him that, because of the crowds of journalists they were dining at the Ritz, in the hope of getting some more peace.
Despite these precautions, when the Mercedes and the Range Rover arrived at Place Vendôme, the photographers had followed them from the rue Arsène Houssaye, and in front of the hotel there was a big crowds of curious onlookers and journalists.
As the couple left their vehicle belatedly there was a crush at the moment when they entered the hotel.
(D1043 - D5073)
The change in the programme: the diversionary tactics decide by Emad AL FAYED:
Learning from the latter that Henri PAUL had returned, he asked him to tell him that they needed a third vehicle, placed in rue Cambon, at the back of the building, to return to rue Arsène Houssaye, and that the two vehicles used by the couple during the day would stay in Place Vendôme to create a diversion.
(D1043 - D5073 - D2473)
Emad AL FAYED had in addition stipulated that Trevor REES JONES should accompany them.
The two bodyguards explained that they had expressed their disagreement with these arrangements, but only in as far as they were to separate.
None of them, however expressed any reservations on the capability of Henri PAUL to drive. They stated that nothing in his behaviour lead them to think that he was drunk and they claimed that they had not seen the types of drinks that he had had.
(D2144 -D2156 - D2159 - D2169 -D2136)
He stated that Henri PAUL had replied that "he was going to finish his "Ricard" with the English".
The results of the analyses, notably of the amount of transferrin, showed the existence of a certain amount chronic alcoholism and the testimony of one of his closest friends, Dr Dominique MELO revealed that it was not an isolated problem, as the latter had consulted him a year and a half previously about the matter.
The enquiry was not able to establish formally is the employers of Henri PAUL were in a position to know about this aspect of his personality: apart from the testimony of Alain WILLAUMEZ, none of the other professional colleagues of Henri PAUL had heard anything about this subject. He did have the reputation of being someone who "enjoyed life".
He had been employed at the Ritz since 1985 and was well liked by the management.
(D1011 - D1020 - D2213)
In fact, if the appointment of Henri PAUL as the driver poses a problem about the awareness of his state on the evening in question and his intemperance, it should also lead to an examination of the conditions in which it had been decided to resort to a vehicle from the company Etoile Limousine, whose fleet was made up of high powered cars, necessitating to drive them, the possession of a special licence, which Mr Henri PAUL did not possess.
(D1023 - D4936)
Jean François MUSA, who however admitted still allowing the use of the vehicle, despite knowing that Henri PAUL was to drive it, justified this by reason of the fact that he could not refuse what was asked of him.
Now, examining the nature of the commercial links which united the Ritz - Jean-François MUSA used to drive for the Ritz - to the Etoile Limousine company, one can see the total dependence of the Etoile Limousine company on the Ritz, its only client, which put it in competition with another company offering identical services - the MURDOCH company.
Finally, it is worth remembering that during the day Jean-François MUSA had been used to drive the Range Rover for Emad AL FAYED and that the same Jean-François MUSA, who did not belong officially to the staff of the Ritz, had been used on different occasions in the same conditions, as if he were still an employee of the hotel.
From a general point of view, even if Emad AL FAYED and the Princess had not gone down to the Ritz, the management and the staff of the institution as a whole were put at the entire disposal from their arrival in Paris and Emad AL FAYED had, as a last resort, the power to decide all matters.
While the diversionary manoeuvre was being prepared, the photographers were still waiting in front of the hotel, in the Place Vendôme, and several more arrived: notably Alain GUIZARD, Jacques LANGEVIN, who arrived in a grey Golf registration no. 3765PL94, and Nikola ARSOV, driving a white BMW motorbike registration 448 BNE 91.
Towards midnight, Philippe DOURNEAU and Jean-Francois MUSA simulated a fake departure, driving around the Place Vendôme in the Mercedes 600 and the Range Rover.
Several journalists noticed that Henri PAUL was behaving unusually towards them that evening, coming to see them, and announcing the departure of the couple as imminent. Several described him as "laughing, particularly jovial".
Frederic LUCARD, the young valet in charge of driving the Mercedes S280 to the Rue Cambon, confirmed the "jovial" discussions between Henri PAUL and the journalists and even added - although he alone described it - that when Henri PAUL took the wheel of the Mercedes in the Rue Cambon, he heard him say to the journalists present: "Don't try to follow us, you'll never catch us".
Anticipating the possibility of the couple's exit by the rear of the building, Serge BENAMOU, Jacques LANGEVIN, Fabrice CHASSERY and Alain GUIZARD went to the Rue Cambon and watched both the arrival of the Mercedes S280 and the departure of the couple.
They then warned Romuald RAT, Christian MARTINEZ, Serge ARNAL and David ODEKERKEN , who had stayed in front of the hotel.
Jacques LANGEVIN, Fabrice CHASSERY and Serge BENAMOU took a few pictures of the couple, then the Mercedes left at speed.
It was then 12.20am on the hotel's surveillance camera clock in the Rue Cambon.
The drive from the Ritz to Alma:
Among those under investigation, several confirmed they had followed the same path as the Mercedes.
(D1636 - D1720 - D1710 - D1700 - D5033)
They had then slowed down at the exit of the first tunnel, thinking that the Mercedes might have turned off, but they continued along the road, only seeing the Mercedes again, this time involved in the accident, as they approached the Alma tunnel.
(D1731 - D5033)
(D1688 - D4745 - D5033)
(D1648 - D5033)
Consequently, none of the photographers admit that they "chased" the car carrying the couple, nor that they had impeded his progress or taken pictures en route. None of the negatives seized from the photographers show pictures taken on the journey. Nor did any of them admit to having been close enough to the Mercedes to have witnessed in the actual accident.
There were three photographers under investigation who claimed not even to have tried to follow the Mercedes:
Laslo VERES stayed in front of the Ritz and only learned of the accident later in a phone call from Serge BENAMOU. His story was confirmed by the Ritz surveillance cameras, which established that at 12.26am he was still in front of the hotel.
-Finally Nicola ARSOV had stayed in front of the Ritz with some other photographers, including Pierre HOUNSFIELD, and had finally followed the Range Rover and the Mercedes 600 until the Champs Elysées, then avenue Wilson, where he had left these two vehicles and turned into Cours Albert 1er to arrive at the Place de l'Alma.
In fact the critical examination of the accounts of the persons questioned does not allow them to be radically called into question . . .
(D5293 - D7087 - D5969)
- As for Serge BENAMOU, who was driving a scooter, the question did not arise, and the same can be said for Serge ARNAL, whose Fiat "Uno" could not be compared with the Mercedes.
(D136 - D1459 - D1087 - D2352 - D141)
(D1418 - D1426 - D1532 - D1536 - D2377 - D2363 - D1422 - D1448 - D1529)
- The explanations of David ODEKERKEN and Fabrice CHASSERY were not totally convincing as Romuald RAT, Stéphane DARMON, Serge ARNAL, Christian MARTINEZ and Serge BENAMOU confirmed having seen them behind the Mercedes at the red traffic light at la Concorde.
Furthermore it is difficult to understand why professionals reputed to be "persistent" and who had already waited for hours would have given up in this manner.
But, there again, the presence of the David ODEKERKEN quite distinctive vehicle was, however, neither noticed by the witnesses to the journey nor by the witnesses to the accident.
- If the statements made by Nikola ARSOV do not correspond to the route described by Philippe DOURNEAU, as being the one that he would have followed, one cannot deduce with certainty that he had set off in pursuit of the Mercedes.
(D1057 - D5003)
- Finally, the only survivor of the accident, Trevor REES JONES, suffering from amnesia, had no memory of the part of the journey between the Ritz and the Alma tunnel, and was not able to supply precise information on the progress of the journey.
(D2473 - D4346)
In conclusion, it is not possible to determine exactly which of the people under examination who followed the Mercedes for the whole of the journey right up to the place of the accident, as a doubt exists on this point with regard to Fabrice CHASSERY and Nikola ARSOV.
As for those who had taken the same route as the Mercedes, their behaviour on the road nor the exact speed is not known precisely.
And even if it is undeniable that they arrived in the tunnel a very short time after the accident, one cannot estimate with any certainty what distance they were away from the Mercedes at the moment where the latter sped into the tunnel.
Finally, taking account of the technical findings of the I.R.C.G.N. experts, one can state that none of the vehicles used by the people under examination corresponds to the Fiat "Uno" which is likely to have been in collision with the Mercedes.
The analysis of the causes and the liability with regard to the crimes of homicide and voluntary [sic.] injury:
First of all, as far as the possible role played in the accident by a Fiat "Uno", the existence of which was revealed by the traces found on the Mercedes, the experts' reports have underlined that, in every hypothesis, its role could only have been a passive one.
(D2359 - D2371)
(D5433 to D5829)
The speed at which the Mercedes was travelling was described as very fast by all the witnesses, both during the journey along the banks [of the Seine] and at the moment when it entered the tunnel.
Mr NIBODEAU-FRINDEL and Mr AMOUROUX estimated the speed of the Mercedes, before the collision at a total of between a maximum of 155 km/hour and a minimum of 118 km/hour and the speed, at the moment of the crash on the thirteenth pillar of the Alma tunnel was between 95 and 109 km/hour with a margin of error of more or less 10%.
They attributed the direct causes of the accident to this excessive speed which, taking account of the particular profile of the road, had rendered the vehicle difficult to control, all the more so because of the presence of the Fiat "Uno" at the entrance of the tunnel and the fact that the driver of the Mercedes had a very poor control of his vehicle.
They finally stated that Emad AL FAYED and Lady Diana SPENCER would have survived if they had fastened their safety belts.
Consequently from all of the investigations lead and from the different expert reports it transpires that the direct cause of the accident is the presence, at the wheel of the Mercedes S280, of a driver who had consumed a considerable amount of alcohol, combined with the fact that he had recently taken medication, driving at a speed not only faster than the maximum speed limit in built up areas, but excessive when taking account of the layout of the places and the predictable obstacles, notably the presence on his right of a vehicle moving at a slower pace.
Therefore the loss of control of the vehicle by the driver in the Alma tunnel constitutes the main cause of the accident.
Now, any possibility of pursuing this case is extinguished by the very fact of its previous demise by setting in motion of the public action.
Therefore, in these conditions it remains that the criminal liability of those persons under examination for homicide and involuntary injuries can only be considered in terms of indirect cause since the direct cause of the accident has thus been established.
In other words, the question is knowing whether the fact that a certain number of photographers had undertaken to follow the vehicle carrying Diana SPENCER and Emad AL FAYED played a contributory role, and a clear contributory role, by creating psychological conditions whereby the driver felt constrained to drive at an excessive speed.
This supposes first of all, therefore, that the photographers had "pursued" the vehicle.
Now it is observed that, for the duration of the day, if the growing presence of the photographers did legitimately irritate the Princess and her companion, it was not unexpected, given the extreme media coverage of their relationship, nor, given the amount of means and personnel at their disposal, an event which had left them completely helpless.
The presence of these photographers during the day, although undesirable, had not manifested itself in dangerous practices, nor in recourse to ruses or subterfuges, all the photos taken showing clearly scenes in public.
Taking account of these elements, it is not possible to support the view that this general context constitutes a hounding of the couple by the photographers.
Secondly, this supposes researching how many photographers had followed the couple, their number being able to play an important role in the creation of a psychological effect on the driver, and who from among the photographers had been able to play this role.
In this regard, a rigorous assessment of the charges against each of the people under examination lead to eliminating Laslo VERES from any responsibility, as it has been established that he had not followed the Mercedes and to not uphold that of Fabrice CHASSERY and Nikola ARSOV for whom there remains some doubt on this point.
Finally, with regard to Romuald RAT, Stéphane DARMON, Serge ARNAL, Christian MARTINEZ, Serge BENAMOU, David ODEKERKEN and Jacques LANGEVIN, it is necessary to determine with certainty if, at the moment when the driver lost control of the vehicle, they were within sight of the Mercedes.
The enquiry not having being able to establish this, one cannot therefore state that their presence provoked such a stress in the driver that it definitely explains the speed taken.
In fact, in the hypothesis of a slower speed, or 118 km/hour, it is rather rash to allude to a "fleeing" behaviour.
The speed adopted by the driver can also clearly be attributed to the presence of alcohol in his blood, the effect of which was increased by the medicines, and thereby characterise the psychological effect of a driver who was totally uninhibited at the wheel of a powerful car and sure of having distanced the photographers.
Consequently, it was not shown that at the moment when the driver lost control of his vehicle, he found himself having to drive at speed, rendering the accident inevitable.
One can only state that there is no clear underlying link between the speed of the vehicle and the presence of photographers following the vehicle.
Therefore the charges of homicide and involuntary injury will be judged as no grounds for prosecution with respect to Romuald RAT, Christian MARTINEZ, Stéphane DARMON, Jacques LANGEVIN, Serge ARNAL, Laslo VERES, Nikola ARSOV, Fabrice CHASSERY, David ODEKERKEN and Serge BENAMOU.
-The establishment of an incidental civil claim for damages by Trevor Rees Jones:
This claim was followed on 2nd November 1998 by the opening of an enquiry and, by reason of the connection with the enquiry opened 2nd September 1997, a joinder order was made on 30th November 1998.
This claim could not go ahead, in as far as, on the one hand the crime of having endangered the life of another person is only constituted in the absence of harmful result, which is not the case of Trevor REES JONES, as he presented with numerous traumatic lesions following the accident of 31st August 1997 and the experts commissioned to evaluate the gravity [of his injuries] and determine the resulting ITT, concluded on 2nd October 1997 that the initial ITT was still in course and would not be less than six months (D1736).
On the other hand, in order to establish the crime, it is necessary to show that the manifestly deliberate violation of a particular safety or cautionary obligation imposed by law or regulations has directly exposed another person to an immediate risk of death, mutilation or permanent disability.
One cannot sustain in the matter of the non-respect of the provisions of the decree of the 15th July 1955 and the decree of 18th April 1966, which impose for the driving of high powered vehicles, the possession of a special licence, has directly exposed the plaintiff to an immediate risk of death, mutilation or permanent disability, it being a matter of carrying out a relatively short journey in town, i.e. in a secure road environment and on board a vehicle, certainly high powered, but technically accessible to the holders of a Category B driving licence.
Consequently the claim will be judged as there being no grounds for prosecution.
-After the accident: liability with regard to the crime of failing to come to the aid of people in danger:
In order to come to a decision regarding each of the persons under examination on the imputability of the facts with regard to not coming to the aid of people in danger, first of all requires the establishment, with utmost exactitude, of the time sequence of events after the accident occurred, in order to define the exact period during which they can be legitimately charged with voluntary abstention.
Taking account of the multiplicity of sources of information, which cannot be synchronised with certainty, the sequence of the events has been established based on several factors:
The first source comes from the recording of the security cameras at the Ritz hotel, where the internal clock indicated the departure of the Mercedes from the Rue Cambon at 00.20.
Then come the telephone switchboards of the emergency services:
- at the number "18", the number of the main Fire Station, the first
call was received at 00.26, the call from Dr. MAILLEZ who arrived on the
scene at almost the same period of time;
(D6135 - D6106)
(D6132 - D6134 - D159 - D6131 - D6128 - D6127 - D6126 - D6125)
In spite of an inevitable margin of error, it is accepted therefore that a short time passed between the departure from the Rue Cambon and the occurrence of the accident, as well as the existence, in very quick succession of a large number of calls to the emergency services then the rapid arrival of these services.
Equally one notes that the call from Dr MAILLEZ to the firemen happened a very short time after the accident, which is to be emphasized, as from the moment when the doctor was at the location and took charge of things, the legal obligation to personally act is no longer imposed with the same force for any non specialists present at the scene.
It is consequently in the few minutes preceding Dr MAILLEZ's arrival that the attitude of the different people under examination can be usefully considered by piecing together their statements, the analysis of the photos which they took and the statements of the witnesses most directly involved.
In fact, the enquiry was able to piece together the existence of a small group of witnesses present at the scene before the arrival of Dr MAILLEZ, knowing that other onlookers had equally appeared very quickly on the scene, as seen on the photographs, but without being able to be identified.
(D2396 - D6086)
Belkacem BOUZID stated that he then saw four photographers in action, among whom he identified Romuald RAT, while Abdelatif REDJIL claimed that they had been the first on the scene, even before a first photographer, who got off a motorcycle and whom he identified as being Romual[d] RAT.
It is worth noting that Adelatif REDJIL could only be heard rather belatedly.
However they are both identifiable on different photos, Belkacem BOUZID, dressed in a mustard coloured jacket and Abdelatif REDJIL in blue jeans and a green jacket (D191, D368, D457).
- Two young people had left a car travelling in the opposite direction to go to the vehicle involved in the accident: Damien DALBY, a voluntary fireman, and his brother Sébastien PENNEQUIN.
(D121 - D1266 - D4928 - D123 - D1259 - D4940)
They heard him shout in the direction of another photographer who was moving away: "she is alive", then saw him push back the other photographers.
After having gone round the car to estimate the state of the injured, Damien DALBY had then seen Dr MAILLEZ, who was taking charge of Lady Diana SPENCER and he himself, together with another unidentified fireman, therefore dealt with Trevor REES JONES (cf. D186, D188, D367, D471, D472 - Damien DALBY being dressed in blue jeans and a blue T shirt and the other volunteer fireman in blue jeans and a blue-grey T shirt).
Sébastien PENNEQUIN stated that he had helped a man to describe the state of the injured, as this man had the firemen on line, thanks to a mobile phone.
On photo D470, Sébastien PENNEQUIN appears in a black jacket and black jeans.
(D129 - D132 - D1418)
He recognised Romuald RAT, whom he described as particularly agitated: "Romuald RAT was everywhere around the car (. . .), he was moving around in all directions" (D5018).
He also said he had seen him argue with Christian MARTINEZ.
He spoke in English to the injured to reassure them and, indeed, he also appears on several photographs (D188, D366, D368, D470, D471).
In addition, during the course of the enquiry, Stéphane DARMON, Serge ARNAL, Christian MARTINEZ, Romuald RAT and Serge BENAMOU admitted that they arrived at the scene of the accident before the arrival of Dr MAILLEZ.
(D238 - D243 - D1720 - D5033)
Serge ARNAL informed him that he had called the emergency services.
Stéphane DARMON had moved his motorcycle, then he remained apart [from the others], quite distressed, according to his statement.
(D336 - D348 - D340 - D350 - D1636 - D5033)
On a total of 19 photos taken by Romuald RAT in the tunnel there are certainly three photographs which depict just the Mercedes, it must be added that a non-identified individual is in the shot in two of the photographs (D371, D370) and a man who could be Mr BENAMOU on the third (D369).
Finally, on a fourth photo, which did not show either Dr MAILLEZ or the policemen, but already a number of onlookers (D363).
(D4830 to D4867)
(D168 - D172 -D179 - D1710 - D5033)
He explained that he had then gone down into the tunnel, where Romuald RAT, Christian MARTINEZ, David ODEKERKEN and Serge BENAMOU were already, and he had taken photos of the Mercedes.
He took 16 photographs in the tunnel, of which 8 featured the Mercedes completely alone (D219 to D226).
According to the expert the photo D226 was certainly, of all the photos seized, the first to be taken immediately after the accident, as the smoke coming from the car can be made out, the lights were on and the driver's air bag was still inflated. The seven photographs after that had been taken by going around the vehicle, from the back to the front.
At the time of taking the following photos, Serge ARNAL had never approached the injured by less than 1.5 metres.
(D420 - D428 - D435 - D438 - D1700 - D5033 - D5013)
He had taken some photographs before going, with Serge ARNAL, to move the vehicle of Serge ARNAL, then came back and took more photos.
He was the one who had taken the most, 31 in total, and the expert identified him as the one who had come the closest [to the victims], less than 1.50 metres from Lady Diana SPENCER, notably at the moment when Dr MAILLEZ was attending to her.
On four of these photos Dr MAILLEZ did not appear. (D455, D470, D472, D473).
(D1177 - D1188 - D1206 - D1731 - D5033)
(D1207 to D1216)
(D1134 - D1134 - D1166 - D1648 - D5033)
(D902 - D413 - D862 - D489 to D499)
As for Nikola ARSOV, he said that he took some photographs, when the emergency services were present, but his flash did not work.
In addition, no witness mentioned their presence before the arrival of the emergency services.
Consequently, since there are no facts which establish the presence of David ODEKERKEN, Jacques LANGEVIN, Fabrice CHASSERY, Nikola ARSOV and Laslo VERES at the scene during the period of time preceding the arrival of the police and the emergency services, and a fortiori that of Dr MAILLEZ, one cannot claim that they failed to offer assistance at the scene.
One must wonder then about the credit that can be accorded to the statements by Serge ARNAL concerning the telephone call to the emergency services, in as far as he explained that he had dialled "112" when, on the listings of calls passed on from the mobile telephones, the call that he made at 0.23 had been to "12", the number for telephone information.
(D230 - D6126 - D7218)
Consequently, the inconsistency existing between the reading of his calls in his mobile and that of the general listing cannot constitute an offence. [there being none]
Serge ARNAL, having acted to call the emergency services, cannot be held in custody.
Then with regard to Stéphane DARMON, Christian MARTINEZ, Serge BENAMOU and Romuald RAT, one must note that, if the law requires you to offer to people in danger immediate and personnel assistance, or to call for assistance, that which each of them was able to do, as they all had a mobile telephone, it remains that the offence cannot be said to have occurred in the absence of intent.
This can be deduced from the establishment of the facts, consequently it is not proved that Stéphane DARMON, Serge BENAMOU and Christian MARTINEZ, who were informed by Serge ARNAL that he had made a call to the emergency services, had, by refraining from making a call themselves, the intention of not proffering assistance to the passengers of the vehicle involved in the accident.
Finally, with regard to Romuald RAT, the few seconds that he took to take three photos, before approaching the vehicle involved in the accident, do not appear in themselves likely to represent criminal intent.
On the one hand, he also maintained that he had heard someone shout that the emergency services had been informed, an assertion which is not improbable, given the telephone call by Serge ARNAL. On the other hand, it emerges from the different testimonies and the photos seized that he had stopped taking photos as soon as he had reached the vehicle and was able to ascertain the state of the injured, and did not resume until after the arrival of Dr MAILLEZ.
The conduct which he adopted in this period of time, crouching down in front of the back passenger door, calling another photographer to tell him that the Princess was alive, then arguing with the other photographers, was liable to several interpretations, favourable or not according to whether you considered that, in the panic of the moment, he had tried to intervene, albeit clumsily, or whether he was acting as a professional cynic, calling his colleagues for a "scoop", then pushing them away to organise his own room for manoeuvre.
In these conditions, it does not appear that the constituent elements of the crime of not assisting a person in danger were identified, the charges weighing on the various aspects of the case under examination being insufficient to justify their referral to a tribunal entertaining jurisdiction.
The critical view which could be brought on the manner in which the various people under examination have, during the course of the night in question, exerted their professional activity can only be recorded within the circumstances of the moral appreciation or the code of ethics which govern the profession of journalist or phot-journalist.
CLAIMS OF NO GROUNDS FOR PROSECUTION:
Whereas within the terms of the enquiry, there are insufficient charges against the following: ARNAL Serge, ARSOV Nikola, DARMON Stéphane, LANGEVIN Jacques, MARTINEZ Christian, RAT Romuald, VERES Laslo, ODEKERKEN David CHASSERY Fabrice and BENAMOU Serge of having committed the crimes of involuntary manslaughter, involuntary injury, having incurred an ITT of more than 3 months and of failing to assist people in danger, of which they are charged, neither against all other charges of homicide or involuntary injury having incurred an ITT of more than 3 months.
Whereas there are also insufficient charges against any of having committed the crime of endangering the life of another person:
In accordance with articles 175, 176 and 177 of the Code of Penal Procedure;
The examining magistrates find that there is no case to answer in the case of the state versus the above named of the charges of involuntary homicide, involuntary injury incurring an ITT of more than 3 months and of failing to assist a person in danger and against any of the charges of involuntary homicide and injury which have incurred an ITT of more than 3 months and of endangering the life of another person.
Signed at the Public Prosecutor's Office, on . . . . . .
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