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Pro bono : Fieldfisher represents 7 Vietnamese victims of a French doctor before the Paris Assize Court

09/12/2022

A team led by Christopher Mesnooh, Partner at Fieldfisher France, represented seven victims in the trial of a French doctor accused of raping minors in Vietnam between 2011 and 2013. The defendant, who was then stationed at the French Hospital in Hanoi, was prosecuted under the extraterritorial provisions of the French Penal Code - Article 222-22, 3rd paragraph, authorising the prosecution in France of sexual crimes committed by a French person in a foreign country against minors.

Christopher Mesnooh was assisted by Maxence Robillard, Associate of Fieldfisher France and Mohamed Naït-Kaci, alumni of this firm and now partner of CNK Associés. At the request of Shireen Irani - Fieldfisher's Director of Social Responsibility, and founder of the charity iProbono, Christopher decided to represent these young men since 2017. In view of the seriousness of the crimes, the evidence presented and the distress of the victims - who were under 15 at the time of the events - he agreed to act as a pro bono lawyer for seven civil parties. The trial was held in the absence of the defendant, who was on the run.

Following the oral arguments of the lawyers before the magistrates of the Assize Court (France's high criminal court), and in view of the seriousness of the facts, the defendant was sentenced to 20 years in prison on 23 November and, according to the French legal system, to pay damages to the victims.

Christopher Mesnooh commented: "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."

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