From the court: Where bad habits can take you
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From the court: Where bad habits can take you

Two recent cases at the criminal court of Monaco prove that using substances and inappropriate behaviour are not accepted in the Principality.

Case 1: Drunk at the wheel

A tipsy driver, having previously been expelled from the area, drove through Monaco to return to his home in Beausoleil. He was examined after an accident, found to have a blood alcohol level of 0.63 mg per litre of exhaled air, and appeared before the Criminal Court. The judges sentenced him to a fine of 2,000 euros plus a 45 euro ticket.

The 3rd of May last year, around noon, a 67-year-old retiree drove his vehicle towards his place of residence. At the top of the Boulevard d’Italie, his car veered off and pulled out two metal studs. Immediately, help arrived to administer first aid. Police officers directed the heavy flow of cars during this period of rush hour. The driver was not injured. But the agents found that he was inebriated. In addition to drunkenness, the applicant had been served with an expulsion order on 17 July 2000 and had already been convicted of an identical offense on 3 March 2015.

“Usually,” Judge Florestan Bellinzona noted, “it’s at the end of the evening that one finds people intoxicated behind the wheel. You were already drunk at noon! Why?” The defendant did not seem to be aware of his repeated behaviour. “Oh! I just had two or three glasses of red wine …”

“One last chance”

The magistrate also remarked: “A year ago, you were convicted for the same thing. And this time, you have finished your race in the plots …”

Drunk at the wheel

The culprit apologised and called it “a malaise”, saying “This accident had nothing to do with alcohol.” The judge sighed: “Like the previous time! Apparently there is never a link with drunkenness. Do you have a problem with alcohol?”

The driver defended himself, but such explanations were not enough for senior trial attorney Olivier Zamphiroff.

“Discomfort, the illness of his mother, what other excuses? I do not know what the accused is trying to accomplish. But he’s headed for incarceration. What will the court decide? For my part, I will give him one last chance: four months imprisonment with suspended sentence and a 45 euro ticket“.

The court will sanction this misconduct one last time with a heavy fine. But at the next offense for intoxicated driving, one thing will be certain: the destination will be le Rocher prison.

Case 2: Cannabis at lunch

An affinity for cannabis breaks led to three young employees of a Larvotto restaurant appearing before the criminal court. On 29 June, the trio decided to share a smoke between friends in the afternoon after work! A few steps from the establishment, on the beach of Larvotto, they shared a small smoke in secret. But an anonymous passer-by, attracted by the smell, approached. He was a policeman! He questioned them. Meanwhile, the oldest, from Carros, quickly realised the danger of having too many narcotics on him. In addition to the 268g of resin discovered in his pockets, he sent a text message to the mobile phone of a colleague who was still in the changing room: “Careful,” the message said, “you have to hide the grass (794 g) left in my locker.” The illicit substance was found on the youngest, from Levens.

Cannabis at lunch

“After you put it in your pocket,” said Judge Florestan Bellinzona, “you became an offender because you were carrying drugs.” The third accused, from Éze, would not have been in much trouble. He was just a passive smoker. But he had a joint on him! And the other two casual smokers? Of course, the three offenders tried to minimise the importance of the allegations. The eldest of the group could not escape the court’s records: “You have already been convicted in 2009 and 2014 for the same thing. Then in 2016 for driving under the influence (CEA for the court). Where did the substance come from? Do you still smoke?”

“He has turned his life around”

The young man confessed: “I had bought the cannabis the day before in Nice and I kept it on me. This summer, I called a detox center with free treatment for addiction. Since then, I have stopped smoking.”

Then it was up to the senior trial attorney Olivier Zamphiroff to request the most appropriate penalties. “In this case, the latter, with a critical record, did not take into account previous warnings: he should get a heavy fine. The younger, since the psychotropic substance was a small amount: a fine. For the third, the carrier: a fine too, but suspended.”

On the Defence side, Sarah Filippi pleaded the case for her client in relation to the criminal record connected with addiction. “He had the will to escape this situation,”claimed the attorney by providing the results of drug screening tests.

“Since then he has turned his life around! He really wants to pull himself up, to move on with his life! We ask for leniency.” The court will follow the requisitions of the public prosecutor by setting the amount, with fines of 1,000 euros, 150 euros, and 500 euros with reprieve, respectively.

In the end, both cases show that the criminal court of Monaco will not tolerate irresponsible use of substances, and criminals will have to pay for their bad habits.

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