Orange with Media Services, published on Thursday, April 14, 2022 at 09:00
The lawyer for the director of “Les Miserables” has announced that his client will appeal in this case, which dates back to 2019.
The case comes back to the fore. Magazines Talker and Current Valuessued for defamation for articles on a criminal conviction of filmmaker Ladj Ly, were released on Wednesday April 13in Paris, a decision which the director of “Les Miserables” will appeal.
The case dates back to December 17, 2019, a few days before the Oscars ceremony for which Ladj Ly’s film, jury prize at the Cannes festival and success in theaters, had been selected to represent France. That day, Causeur.fr published an article, taken up by the ultra-conservative weekly Valeurs Actuelles, entitled: “Ladj Ly was imprisoned for complicity in attempted murder”. The latter had announced to file a complaint.
Defamation lawsuits dismissed
Ladj Ly was sentenced in 2011 to three years in prison for “kidnapping and forcible confinement” and not “complicity in attempted murder”for a punitive expedition carried out in January 2009 with two men, a case in which he has always proclaimed his innocence. The investigation showed that he had not participated in the violence against the victim.
In 2012, the court of appeal reduced the sentence to three years in prison, one of which was suspended, served by Ladj Ly. In its judgment on Wednesday, the court dismissed the lawsuits for defamation on the basis of the real or supposed affiliation to a religion, included in the complaint of the artist. For the rest, the press chamber considered that some of the remarks were indeed defamatory and underlined that the article contained an “error”.
She nevertheless felt that the defendants should be released because the journalist, author of the article, had a “sufficient factual basis”, namely court decisions. According to the decision, “the visibly complex nature of the unfolding of the facts and the mode of narration chosen by the criminal court (in its judgment NDLR) were of likely to cause some confusion in each person’s role.
“seriously defamatory information”
“While it is certain that Ladj Ly was not convicted of attempted murder, this error, limited to the sole qualification of the facts (…) and committed by a non-lawyer, cannot suffice to remove its relevance to the factual basis”. The director’s lawyer indicated his intention to appeal.
During the hearing on February 4, Lawyer Julia Minkowski had criticized “seriously defamatory information” and denounced “the malevolence” and “the extraordinary bad faith” of the article. “Causeur is an opinion journal not an investigation,” replied the magazine’s lawyer, while admitting a “qualification error”. Maître Rodolphe Bosselut had also argued that the article had been rectified the day after its publication. “We are obviously very satisfied with the decision rendered,” he said on Wednesday.