MEPs remove or ease some sanctions

MEPs remove or ease some sanctions

“Disproportionate”. “Disregard of the constitutional principle of proportionality of sentences” : the deputies of the law commission were not very tender, Wednesday, March 8, with the senators during the examination of the bill “relating to the Olympic and Paralympic Games (JOP) and containing various other provisions”. Especially when it came to looking at the articles of this text concerning the sanctions applicable during acts of incivility or violence in sports arenas, the contents of which the Senate had hardened in January. Certain provisions voted by the senators have been deleted, others being brought back to the initial version of the government.

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Removal of a sanction created by the Senate

The National Assembly’s law commission thus voted to abolish article 12 bis, which the Senate had introduced against the government’s advice: it aimed to punish by 3 years’ imprisonment and 45,000 euros. to fine the perpetrators of violence in a sports arena that resulted in incapacity for work less than or equal to eight days or that did not result in any incapacity for work.

“Under the applicable law, this violence constitutes contraventional offenses punishable by a fine of the fifth class, i.e. 1,500 euros”, recalled Sacha Houlié (Renaissance), chairman of the law commission and author of one of the two deletion amendments that were adopted. The sentences passed by the Senate would have had “excessive character”, he added.

During her hearing by the Law Commission on March 1, Amélie Oudéa-Castéra, the Minister of Sports and the JOP, had implicitly asked the deputies to delete the article adopted by the senators. She had referred to a provision ranging “against legal efficiency”.

Return to the original text for sanctions aimed at unlawful entry into a stadium or onto a pitch

With regard to article 12 of the bill, which seeks to create two offenses punishing “illegal entry into a sports arena” and the fact “to enter or remain on its competition area without legitimate reason”the deputies chose to return to the text proposed by the government.

In the initial wording, only persons acting as a repeat offender or in a meeting were likely to be punished with a fine of 7,500 euros, isolated first-time offenders being liable to a fine of 1,500 euros (fine of 5e class). The senators had decided that these isolated first-time offenders would be liable to a fine of 3,750 euros.

“A disproportionate sentence”, estimated Guillaume Vuilletet (Renaissance) and Stéphane Mazars (Renaissance), both rapporteurs on the bill. The deputies chose to reduce the sanction to a fine of 1,500 euros. “In case of recidivism or commission of the offense in assembly, the offenders will expose themselves to a heavier penalty. Thus, the principles of proportionality and gradation of penalties will be better respected.recalled Mr. Mazars.

Read also: Senators want to make nominative and dematerialized tickets mandatory for sporting events

Exclusion of smoke bombs and reduction of the duration of the stadium ban

However, the deputies did not only endeavor to calm the ardor of the senators. They also weakened some of the provisions proposed by the government. On administrative stadium bans, for example, for which article 13 of the bill proposes that they be made compulsory for perpetrators of criminal offences: introduction of alcohol, access to the stadium while intoxicated, incitement to hatred and violence, use of rockets or fireworks, throwing of dangerous projectiles, illegal entry into the playing area.

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On the proposal of Mr. Houlié, the deputies removed the introduction of smoke bombs from this list, “as long as these pyrotechnic devices are not used as projectiles presenting a danger to the safety of persons”. The chairman of the law commission recalled, in this regard, that“an experiment is currently being carried out to regulate the use of smoke bombs in the stands of certain stadiums”.

Similarly, Mr. Houlié had an amendment adopted which reduced the maximum duration of administrative stadium bans to twelve months, and to twenty-four months in the event of a repeat offense (i.e. if, within three previous years, the person has already been subject to a prohibition order). “It is a question of putting an end to the continuous one-upmanship which led, between 2006 and 2016, to multiply by twelve this duration, without evaluation of the application of the measure”pleaded the president of the law commission.

Relaxation of the pointing obligation

The Law Commission also adopted an amendment by Mr. Vuilletet aimed at ” consolidate ” the clocking obligation, which accompanies a stadium ban, “while adjusting its implementation”. In this case, it is a question of ensuring that the court which pronounces the ban on the stadium specifies the events for which the convicted person “ is obliged to respond to summonses from the police or the gendarmerie. and let her do it “taking into account the family, social and professional obligations of the person sentenced to this penalty”.

In this regard, considering that the pointing obligations “are disproportionately restrictive, much more than the stadium ban”the deputies also adopted an amendment from the LFI-NUPES parliamentary group, which specifies that these should only be put in place “only if it clearly appears that the addressee intends to evade the prohibition measure”.

In a report written in May 2020, MPs Marie-George Buffet and Sacha Houlié had recommended “target” the use of the pointing obligation “in cases that truly justify it, and not to systematize it”, while giving “the possibility of adjustments in order to remove the vexatious and punitive character that it too often takes on”.

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