French doctor, Olivier Larroque sexually abused children in Vietnam between 2011 and 2013. The case was brought by the public prosecutor in Paris. On 23 November 2022, Mr Larroque was given the maximum penalty and a 20-year jail sentence following a trial held at the Paris Assizes Court.
Fieldfisher represented the victims as civil parties to the case. After the trial, which was held in the absence of the defendant due his absconding from authorities, the court also ordered Mr Larroque to pay compensation to the victims.
The offences took place in Vietnam between 2011 and 2013 when Mr Larroque was stationed at a French hospital in Hanoi. He was arrested in July 2013 in Vietnam after an Interpol sting operation found images and videos of him sexually abusing underprivileged children. Mr Larroque was imprisoned, deported to France and released on bail.
The case was finally listed for trial in May 2022, but it was subsequently postponed as Mr Larroque fled from the authorities. He was found by the police and the case was relisted for November 2022, but Mr Larroque once again escaped and the trial took place in his absence.
In 2015, Child Redress International brought this matter to the attention of Fieldfisher's Director of Corporate Responsibility and founder of the charity iProbono, Shireen Irani.
The case required a multifaceted approach, working with civil society organisations and a local Vietnamese NGO to ensure that the survivors were supported and that their voices were heard throughout their quest for justice. Emma Day, the founder of Child Redress International, played an integral role in ensuring that the survivors were added as civil parties so that they had a chance of being awarded compensation.
In 2017, Christopher Mesnooh, Partner at Fieldfisher took on the matter pro bono to enable the boys to access compensation. Mesnooh was assisted by Maxence Robillard, Associate of Fieldfisher France, and Mohamed Naït-Kaci, Fieldfisher alumni.
Christopher Mesnooh, said: "We are pleased to see that justice knows no borders and has been served despite the defendant's absence from the trial. He was sentenced to the maximum prison term and to the compensation we had demanded. We are very satisfied with this result. We hope that this verdict will bring some comfort to the victims. This case - however hard it was - gives real meaning to our profession as lawyers."
Shireen Irani, Fieldfisher's Director of Corporate Responsibility, said: “When this case came to us, we never imagined that it would take almost a decade for a prolific child sex offender to be brought to justice in France, nor that he would be able to escape twice. Our clients, have always expressed that their abiding wish is for the perpetrator never to be able to abuse children in this way again. With Olivier Larroque's disappearance before the trial and his whereabouts still unknown, the very idea of obtaining justice had seemed to be compromised. However through the work of the entire team, our clients have the best chance possible of seeing any reparations so that they can rebuild their lives."
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