‘Clean Hands’ Verdict has been pronounced and Mayor of Beausoleil, amongst others, was also released from the corruption charges that were placed against him. Nice Matin managed to have a short interview with the Mayor to find out about his after-release feelings and future projects.
How do you feel about your release?
Gerard Spinelli: I feel a lot of emotions. And a lot of fatigue too. It has been a very heavy constraint that I had over my head for seven years and two months. And it will take time for me to recover.
What left the biggest impression on you during this case?
Gerard Spinelli: What surprised me most is that I was never listened to by an investigating judge about the case. I was put under indictment for seven years, with all the consequences this may have. At no moment was I given the floor to explain myself, and at no time did I feel heard.
Should we reform our judicial system?
Gerard Spinelli:A seven-years proceeding is dysfunctional. It’s hard to accept. And again I do not complain. I am an elected official, I have the means to defend myself. There are probably other, far worse cases. It resonates with me and makes me want to fight. Provided I would have concrete results. However, it is difficult to claim to want to speed up judicial decisions. Even if it cannot escape administrative burdens, justice requires a lot of perfectionism because the public’s freedoms are at stake. This requires resources that have not been given by successive governments.
Do you feel that justice has demonstrated a demand for perfection in the case?
Gerard Spinelli: I was indicted for seven years and detained for 80 days. Obviously that’s what I’m concerned about. Because I am a French citizen, I have a job, a house, a family in France… I have all the qualities of representation that justice demands. Yet I found myself at Les Baumettes where the general controller of prisons instates a systematic violation of fundamental rights. I have seen things that are hardly acceptable or tolerable. It is also a battle that should be waged. But I did not see myself leading it as a charged Mayor. This label which I had to wear for seven years has penalized me and my political aspirations.
Would you have run for other mandates?
Gerard Spinelli: With this indictment, the question did not arise. I did not feel it right.
You are represented in the municipalities…
Gerard Spinelli: In my town it was different. I think people are very quick to judge this. At the departmental level it would have been something else… I am an independent elected official, the only one from the coastal strip who is not with The Republicans. It has advantages and disadvantages.
You talked about political manipulation at the beginning of this affair, is that still your opinion?
Gerard Spinelli: I think the answer can be found in the population of Beausoleil, who still elected a mayor who was under investigation, who was sent to prison. I was re-elected with 71% of the vote. Obviously, this was also the opinion of the Beausoleil law. For them I have never been guilty. Today I am happy to be able to tell them that I am truly innocent, even in the eyes of the court.
Are you afraid that the prosecution will appeal this release?
Gerard Spinelli: The public prosecutor will decide in his soul and conscience. I will keep my peace of mind.