Suicide bid by man acquitted in Outreau fiasco

24th January 2006, Comments 0 comments

PARIS, Jan 24, 2006 (AFP) - One of 13 people acquitted in a French paedophile case that collapsed into judicial fiasco last month attempted to commit suicide overnight, the justice ministry said Tuesday.

PARIS, Jan 24, 2006 (AFP) - One of 13 people acquitted in a French paedophile case that collapsed into judicial fiasco last month attempted to commit suicide overnight, the justice ministry said Tuesday.

Alain Marecaux was in hospital in the northern town of Calais after taking an overdose, but his condition was "reassuring," according to Justice Minister Pascal Clement.

Marecaux, 41, served two years in pre-trial custody before his conviction for sexual abuse of his own children in July 2004. His family broke apart and he lost his job as a court bailiff.

On December 1 2005 he was cleared on appeal at the end of what President Jacques Chirac described as an "unprecedented judicial disaster".

Last week Marecaux and others whose lives were damaged in the so-called Outreau affair gave harrowing evidence before a parliamentary committee about the way they were caught in a spiral of unverifiable accusations.

Of the 18 people who were originally detained in the investigation into an alleged sex abuse ring, only four were guilty of the offences. Seven were acquitted at the 2004 trial, six at last month's appeal and one committed suicide.

Marecaux has made several previous attempts to take his own life, friends said.

"Despite the acquittal he is not bearing up. He can't. His life is a catastrophe. He feels powerless to repair his family and his relationship with his children. He doesn't have the energy to go on, to fight," said Roselyn Godard, another of those wrongfully convicted in the affair.

The Outreau case has led to growing calls for reforms to France's judicial system.

Copyright AFP

Subject: French news

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