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Missing brother - French criminal legal system

(15 Posts)
probleminparis Fri 19-Oct-12 20:52:27

I posted in July about missing brother whom we understand from a friend was arrested on possession of cannabis.
British Embassy have no record of this and the UK police have not been able to get any information from the French authorities whom they say have not responded to enquiries.

I today called the prison services in France and (with my very basic French) learned there is no record of him having been convicted.

Can anyone tell me how the system works ie if he was arrested on a drugs offence and is awaiting trial months later, where would he likely be kept and of which section of the justice system would I be enquiring of his whereabouts?

ripsishere Sat 20-Oct-12 01:58:57

That sounds awful. Possesion or dealing?
This is a bit quiet here, can you post it in -chat?

fraktion Sat 20-Oct-12 03:18:15

Marking place so I remember to ask DH in the morning.

probleminparis Sat 20-Oct-12 09:05:49

Not much information I'm afraid. Db was only one in family living in Paris having moved there a year ago. We had little information of his whereabouts and did not ask much as we thought he wanted to get away after the breakdown of a relationship.

I asked someone who was in Paris recently to make some enquiries and he learned that db was interpelle (does that mean arrested?) on 26.06.12 at a station in the 16th arrondissement.

I called that station yesterday and they did try to assist but it was difficult communicating. However they did confirm that he was no longer there. They suggest that I try calling the tribunal de grand instance du paris. Looking that up though, it appears that this court deals with civil matters.

CoteDAzur Sat 20-Oct-12 09:19:36

Interpellé means that he was taken in for questioning.

I remember your original thread. Did you have no news from him since then?

If he were arrested, I'm sure that you would have heard from him or his lawyer by now.

laptopwieldingharpy Sun 21-Oct-12 00:05:07

I remember your earlier posts.
They left me with the sad impression he might have sunk deeper into addiction and cut ties.
Also think if he'd been arrested and charged you would know.
If that is the case, the TGI would have records.
Is it not possible for you or any family member to travel to Paris for a few days?

ripsishere Sun 21-Oct-12 00:08:26

British embassy or are they useless in most things- just for people in prision.
Good luck.

MrsSchadenfreude Sun 21-Oct-12 22:27:04

Rip, how would you propose that the British Embassy try to locate someone when they only have his name, there is nothing to suggest that he is being imprisoned or detained anywhere? All they could do is pretty much what the OP has done - I guess they might be able to find out if he has been detained anywhere in France if the French system is centralised - have you asked them, OP?

probleminparis Sun 21-Oct-12 23:43:44

Just catching up...

CoteDAzur, have heard nothing from him and I think at this point I would feel better if I knew that he was in prison.

Laptop, I'm hoping that there are records to show what happened after questioning eg that he was charged and is still awaiting trial. I have thought about going to Paris but my French is basic and would not suffice to ask the probing questions that are necessary.

MrsS, I've been trying to find out about centralisation of records but am still not sure.

I think I may need to get an English speaking lawyer practising criminal law in France or even an investigator to shed some light.

ripsishere Sun 21-Oct-12 23:56:47

That is what I meant. I thought the embassy were informed if one of their citizens were arrested.

MrsSchadenfreude Mon 22-Oct-12 06:48:28

The Embassy should be informed if one of their citizens has been detained/arrested. But it's not unusual for the person to ask that the NOK not be informed of this. I wouldn't get a lawyer involved at this point - give the consulate a call and ask them about the centralisation of records and if they have any record at all of your brother coming to their attention. Ask them to call the police for you - I don't see why they shouldn't do this. (I used to work in a consulate about 100 years ago and we would have done this for someone, although things might have changed with the cuts...)

probleminparis Wed 24-Oct-12 12:15:39

We have found him. He is doing a short term for cannabis possession. I did not go through Embassy but instead called up the prisons direct and with my halting French and the aid of an online translator (thank God for the internet!)
managed to enquire.

Not sure why the directorate of prisons could not confirm this before - perhaps they did not input his name correctly.

Not sure why the Embassy does not have this information either.

It has been a difficult process and I think I was lucky in getting someone at the prison who seemed very eager to help. I have since called back and have not been assisted much in getting other information.

Thank you all for taking the time to read and for your kind suggestions.

probleminparis Wed 24-Oct-12 12:18:49

MrsS - I know that Embassy needs permission to confirm release of information but they confirmed that he had not come to their attention (rather than 'he has come to our attention but we are not able to say anything about the circumstances')

CoteDAzur Wed 24-Oct-12 13:09:50

I'm glad that you have found him.

Why hasn't he called you when he was sent to prison? Did he not think anyone would look for him?

probleminparis Wed 24-Oct-12 14:05:27

Have no idea. I still have not managed to speak with him as there seems to be quite a bit of bureaucracy involved eg getting judge's consent.

It is a short term and he may have just wanted to do his time and come out with minimal fuss.

It's hard to say what he's been thinking but it is a tremendous relief to have found him.

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