French serial killer tries to block biopic broadcast

9th March 2005, Comments 0 comments

PARIS, March 9 (AFP) - France's strict privacy laws were put to the test Wednesday when a notorious serial killer won an emergency court hearing in his bid to stop a drama based on his life being broadcast on the country's most popular television channel.

PARIS, March 9 (AFP) - France's strict privacy laws were put to the test Wednesday when a notorious serial killer won an emergency court hearing in his bid to stop a drama based on his life being broadcast on the country's most popular television channel.

Francis Heaulme, 45, who is serving life in jail for nine murders, was represented in court by lawyer Florent Girault who said that the biopic - to be broadcast Thursday on the private TF1 station - was produced without his client's assent.

"He may be a prisoner, but he has the same right to protection as anyone else. The law on privacy applies to everyone, no matter their notoriety," he said.

Another lawyer Liliane Glock argued that the film violates Heaulme's presumption of innocence because it links him to the murders of two children in 1986 for which he has not been convicted.

TF1 indicated it intends to go ahead with the programme, entitled "In the head of the killer," unless it receives an injunction from the court in the western Paris suburb of Nanterre.

"The telefilm is based on real facts, but it uses the language of fiction and out of respect for victims and their families most of the names and some of the circumstances have been changed," it said.

The company firmly rejected suggestions that it could pay Heaulme a fee if he waived his objections.

A specialist in French privacy law, Emmanuel Pierrat, said Heaulme's case was uncertain because the drama "concerns those events which made him a public personality."

A decision was expected later Wednesday.

© AFP

Subject: French News

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