Emotion at the announcement of the judgment in the case of the fire of nitrate films, which had killed two people on the night of August 10 to 11, 2020, in Vincennes (Val-de-Marne), and for which the criminal court de Créteil delivered its judgment on Tuesday, January 24.
The judges struck hard by sentencing to five years in prison, including one firm, Serge Bromberg, the boss of Lobster Films, a figure in heritage cinema and owner of this stock of hyper-flammable films, who had kept them in defiance of legal rules, in an inhabited building, where the fire had broken out. Even if this year of imprisonment will be arranged in the form of house arrest under electronic surveillance, the court thus goes beyond the requisitions of the prosecution, who had requested, in November 2022four years in prison, including one firm, for the producer, and a fine of 150,000 euros for his company, not to mention the damages to be paid to the victims.
“Murderer! », shouted, at the end of the hearing, the sister of one of the victims who, cornered by the flames, had jumped from the balcony of 4e stage. The second person who died was found burned to death in his apartment. “For the victims, the mere fact that my client is there, alive, while their loved ones have died, is unbearable, agrees the defense lawyer, Emmanuel Mercinier-Pantalacci, in front of an impassive Serge Bromberg, black shirt, dark suit, dark mask on his face. My client would have taken twenty years but that still wouldn’t be enough, that’s normal. »
The understanding does not completely mask the consternation in the defense camp. While waiting to obtain the reasons for the judgment – a text which may take some time to be produced, often beyond the ten-day period granted to appeal, Mr.e Mercinier-Pantalacci decided to do so conservatively. “We know the sentence, but not the reasoning adopted by the court, explains the lawyer. When you defend yourself, people think you are denying. If Mr. Bromberg does not dispute his responsibility in this drama, and if he is fully aware of the consequences to which these events have led, it is important to us that he be understood. We want to check that we have been heard about the shortcomings of the National Cinema Center. »
Convicted of manslaughter, involuntary injury, endangering the lives of others and involuntary destruction of property by fire, Serge Bromberg is appealing “public action only”, gives his advice. As for compensation, the civil procedure will continue on June 9 before the personal injury compensation division.
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