NEW CALEDONIA: DENIAL of JUSTICE, JUDICIAL TRAP and OSTRACISM
Warning to investors in New-Caledonia: the exemple of Raoul MONTHOUEL facing up to the "colonial" justice & media with their "friendly arrangements". Story of a trap:
"When innocents must defend themselves against professional prosecutors, enthroned into their offices through the judicial apparatus with great ceremony voluntarily impressive and formal, they are particularly vulnerable, indeed panic-stricken and completely at a loss, powerless. Unfortunately, justice is the plaything of men and women today, the fruit of our societies defects and dark side. The ones who serve it are they accomplices or victims? Something is certain, they constitute its body and spirit".
"Justice is the sanction of established injustices" Anatole FRANCE (1844-1924. French National Academy, Nobel price 1921).
Persons involved in that case, for their contribution exclusively against the defendant (not exhaustive list) : Mr Richard DUTOT, Mr SIMETE, Mr Jean-Louis PAGNON, Mme Fabienne OZOUX, Mr SIMETE (public prosecutor's department); Mr Jean PRADAL, Mr LAUQUE, Mr FRIAT, Mr BERNARD, Mme LE TAILLANTER, Mme DE COLLORS, Mr VIDALLIER, Mr Gérard FEY, (Juges); Mr Jean-Louis THIOLET, Mr GUEPY, Mme Anne AMAUDRIC du CHAFFAUT, Mme GICQUEL, Mr GRESEQUE (assessors); Me Magali FRAIGNE, Me Serge BERQUET, Me Frédéric DESCOMBES, Me Caroline DEBRUYNE (lawyers); Mr Vincent DENAMUR (Affaires maritimes); Mr Gilles ROULER (Direction Jeunesse et Sports); Mr Philippe BOYER (inspecteur Direction du Travail;, Mme Miwako KAWAI (Instructeur PADI;, Mme Marie-José MICHEL (consul honoraire du Japon en Nouvelle-Calédonie); Mme Atsuko DELRIEU (interprète) ; Mme Mayumi TAKAHASHI (S.P.T. & DUTOT's spouse), Mr Masataka HORI (S.P.T. & NAUTAC ALIZÉ manager); Mme Annabella DE CANDIA (Lagoon Safari's manager), Mr Bernard ANDRÉANI (Amédée Diving Club's manager), Mr Jean-François CRUELLAS (colleen Excursions' manager); Mr Marc RANDON, Mr Nicolas KERISIT (gendarmerie maritime); Coralie COCHIN, Philippe FRÉDIÈRE, Pierrick CHATEL, Mr Sylvain AMIOTTE, Mme Géraldine PION (newspaper Les Nouvelles Calédoniennes); Mrs B.J. SKANE - Mrs Glenda SHING (Daily Post Vanuatu).
Twenty six years in New Caledonia, I created the biggest diving operation of this French overseas territory 'NOUMEA DIVING', by using several diving boats including a big Dive Support Vessel (DSV) 'IMPERATOR to offer an exceptional diving service. I operated and developed the activities for seventeen years, until commercial jealousies and friendly relationships in connection forced me to leave, like many others before me, becoming undesirable passengers of the "vessel New Caledonia" and who, the more often, like a bottle thrown in the sea, one never heard speaking about anymore.
In fact, I am not the first to get such disappointments, for these 26 years I could hear so many stories like mine, but, not being directly concerned, they were part of an abstract concept, or the subject of simple rumours and anecdotes; and a day, one of them splashed onto my face: I was inside!
My story will particularly interest, at the forefront, all diving business managers and everyone who followed the debate about the abolition of the investigating magistrate and the police custody in France few times ago (this latter has been abolished now).
Others, interested to invest "at the end of the world", will certainly find matter for serious thought about those "tropical paradises" seen from a far from brilliant angle; micro-societies with that I call the "magnifying effect" on to the politic, social and economic life : what could go unnoticed elsewhere... will stick out like a sore thumb, or is quickly getting terribly worse.
But, above all, thanks to the wonderful means of freedom and communication that is the "World Wide Web": instead of getting lost in the immensity of the ocean, my small bottle will deliver its message; it will tell you a real-story through which all investor, immigrant, adventurer, tourist, friend will find source of inspiration and thought...
My state of mind for these last years was, allow me the comparison, the one of the victim of a rape of which the court decided in the rapists favour for a public hearing, one of the rapists acting as prosecutor... This rape was affecting my moral and social values, it was resulting in my lost of seventeen years of work and my company destruction. Its media coverage had so unfairly laid me out in the opprobrium ditch, never allowing me to get a word in edgeways, that I left.
Now the cases, to which I will make reference, have been judged and took upon myself without any comment, it is time to give another version of the facts than the one of the deputy public prosecutor within its summons to appear, media leaks and summing-up for the prosecution; with the aim that my relatives, friends and acquaintances whom supported me and that everyone interested, may form an opinion by considering my version of the facts.
To improve the authenticity of my account and its transparency, I have linked to the text some surprising official documents completely ignored through the investigation summaries and trials, even possibly disappeared from the files in the maze of the public prosecutor's office...
At the time I am writing these lines, the last chapter of the case, or I should rather say "of the cases", is ending by a discreet discharge after a succession of iniquities, for years and for all legal proceedings involving my company, or myself, even if plaintiff.
A brief chronological summary (French) of the essential facts, with a reminder of the commercial context, written on 9th January 2009, allowed my lawyer to have an overview at his return from holidays, just before which the deputy public prosecutor was in a hurry to summon me to appear (hearing on 31st December 2008) without allowing me the time to prepare any defence.
What follows occurred apart from the summary and after:
I decided to start writing, five years after the climax of the cases: my summon to appear on 31st December 2008, because I am in the spotlight of a gutter press in Port-Vila (Vanuatu), which spews out slanderous allegations collected on Internet from another press, New Caledonian, with a no more enviable behaviour (French); should we understand that the gossip market is a winner?...
Anyway, as these both dailies never tried to contact me in regard of what they planned to write about me, one is well-founded to think they admitted of no dissenting voice to their point of view. Quite strange journalistic deontology...
It is like that all the slanderous allegations in relationship with my darkest judicial time, displayed on Internet (in breach of the French law (French): right to access to files, article 38 of the law «data-processing and freedoms» dated 6 January 1978 modified) are now " copied, pasted and translated" to title the front pages of a Vanuatu newspaper; for mercantilism without any doubt and, maybe, for commercial jealousies as well... It does not matter. I am now qualified of « French criminal recorded, banned from diving in New Caledonia ».
But, if the influence of the "French version" was limited to the French-speaker, the influence exerted internationaly by the "English version" is unlimited. The harm caused to me is huge. Aware of the proverb "silent gives consent", I must speak.
About my life in New Caledonia, its trials and tribulations, it would be too long to relate in this account; the tale of my woes would not interest anyone and about to "settle a score", I have much better to do "Carpe Diem!"; but about my descent into hell of the opprobrium, through a real judicial trap fomented by rumour, friendly contacts, commercial jealousies, administrative incompetence and a pathetic lack in discernment specifically about the tourism in New Caledonia: a Vanuatu media is very hard speaking about me, and the subject seems to be concern of everyone now.
Before to set out an eloquent part of these cases and some surprising documents in connection, it would be appropriate to wonder about the specific tourism sector:
How to eliminate a more successful rival, easily and for cheap? It turns out that the more effective means is by spreading rumours, often well served by friendly contacts and by denunciation to the administration and media.
The process works particularly well within small communities, where the press, to compensate for a lack of information and circulation, maybe tempted by an unending source of gossips to give many column inches to real sagas, sometimes fuelled by their own victims whom try to clear themselves from an accusation, unfortunately without any control on the source or on the publication.
Moreover, the media publication is extremely pernicious, because its damaging effects are instantaneous and with an "official" connotation accredited by another press more serious and credible; worse, all legal proceedings will take months, will be expensive in time and money, with the risk to stir up the troubles! The directors of these small dailies know that very well and make their business on it.
At least, it is not a secret for anyone that the judicial world knows perfectly this machinery and is not the last to organize its own "media leaks", with the aim to influence public or politic opinions, court orders, or to settle a score.
But, if what is written in a newspaper is "gospel truth" for a large majority, however limited to the circulation of the newspaper, at the time of Internet there is no doubt about the fact that a newspaper's website, or a simple blog, spreads on the Web an indelible information, copied endlessly and even translated (more or less correctly) by the search engines...
On 16th December 2008, I was getting something great...
Police custody and questioning almost the whole day, photographs and fingerprints taken (like to the cinema), handcuffing, waiting inside the police van, law courts cells, introduction to the deputy public prosecutor, Mr Richard DUTOT, at his office. This about thirty man, with the look of a gnome, is obviously very annoyed that he did not get any confession (although expected promptly) and now he is doing everything he can to overwhelm me with his judicial apparatus.
In return, no need to me of any effort to show him the greatest indifference, as I am weary with almost 70 hours in police custody*, 90 hours of police questioning for the last two months for so many police investigations, searches, seizures and after all that it's a bit of an anticlimax... Finally, I feel that I will not wait for long to see the pitiful end of this story...
*According to the French law, the police custody could be extended, for exceptional cases, from 24 to 48 hours. Its aim was to extract a confession by overwhelming pressure and humiliation through an uncomfortable solitary confinement, limited in time, in a sort of dungeon. The European court assessed it was a shameful procedure which did not respect the rights of the person concerned. It is not allowed anymore in France.
The deputy public prosecutor summons me to appear on... 31st December! So, after fifteen days, "in person" and in position as "Diving Director in fact and Technical Director in fact" accompanied with many details without more true but making worse the charges in a judicial language. At this stage, I cannot be surprised by anything anymore.
For good measure, he adds the case of "endangering the life of others" (French) with my boat (based on the only allegations of my rivals, supposedly victims).
And finally, he adds a "work without agreement" (for the Dive Support Vessel) found I do not know where, in reference to a regulation project not applicable because not published to the gazette!
So, there are all the charges imaginable against me: Diving and Technical Directors, Captain of the Dive Vessel, the vessel itself for lack of agreement!
He's certainly got a nerve! That is going a bit far and by giving too many knocks there is no reaction anymore, it is roughly my feeling at that time.
My mind was focussed on a belief, probably naive, that it was impossible for "our" Justice to invent charges for facing a lack of them and that it was not conceivable the famous "presumption of innocence" was just an artificial set of words. At this time, I lost these illusions... Irremediably.
While I am at it, introduction to the "judge of the liberties" the matter is: prison or not prison? (at this stage I have to clarify, for the reader, that my police record is clean, I am "unknown from police records" and the charges were supposed to concern a managerial staff of my company).
Inquisitor look from the magistrate feeling smug, with an assistant on each side. Slow gesture... Thought on to documents... Obviously these three persons are taking great trouble over their effects. Questions. Replies. My lawyer replacement, Mme J. BOUQUET, pronounces feeble ineptitudes for my defence. Then deliberation... Waiting... We are called in again: ... within its great leniency Justice avoid me the prison.
My lawyer replacement is given a 15 to 20 centimetres thick file: to ingest within the next 14 days before the trial! Only the lawyer is allowed to keep this file, not me.
The public prosecutor's department knows very well that my lawyer, Mr DESWARTE, is in holidays oversea and will not come back before the beginning of next January. How a such conspiracy is possible?...
We leave the law courts, Mme J. BOUQUET passes me the thick file... I have a look to this pile of sheets, I start reading ineptitudes and revolting untruths... It would take up over three months to ingest all of that and to comment on. Everything is to comment on. It is impossible. There is too much.
At this time I probably did a mistake by going to see another law firm, instead of keeping my current lawyer replacement Mme J. BOUQUET; but her provision of services in front of the "judge of liberties" made a very bad feeling to me and it was matter to have to plead on next 31st December, in case the request for postponement would not be accepted... the day of the hearing! It was an evidence that it would not to be. So, even if it would mean coming back to my lawyer after, I chose to go to see Mme Severine BEAUMEL following the (bad) advices of a friend.
The following morning, I am discovering that all the details of the charges concerning this fiction, coming straight from the deputy public prosecutor's secret drawers are becoming reality...
They are indeed in the front page of the local newspaper and covering all its titles, in terms which do not allow any doubt about their authenticity and about... my culpability in regard of all the charges; excepted for readers looking carefully for conjugations at the conditional time ("would") employed with great parsimony through this only New Caledonian daily and its Internet Website: I am on trial by media before going on trial by jury.
Unfortunately, it was the beginning of the media coverage and "leaks" from the deputy public prosecutor's office Richard DUTOT, from whom the statements and summing-up for the prosecution will become sentences through the local press.
By facing such advertisement through the city and the whole country, I was founded to feel that the trial on next 31st December at the law courts, would be only a theatre performance; because I was already sentenced in the public opinion and the latter was without any appeal. Bravo mister Richard DUTOT!
For the continuation, it is essential to know that, according to the Diving Law in New Caledonia, the whole liability of the activity is shared between the "Directeur de Plongée" -Diving Director- (must be on site) and the "Directeur Technique" -Technical Director- (presence not mandatory on site).
On 22nd September 2008, the day of the drowning accident for a Japanese tourist, the following managerial staff was directly concerned:
It is essential to remind that the activity was fully operating in Japanese, with Japanese clients and Instructors (under contracts), with documents in Japanese and that it would be impossible for someone not speaking and reading Japanese to be in charge of it, which applied to me. Reason for why the company was employing Japanese Instructors.
For very simple reasons:
Based on the rumour, the deputy public prosecutor Richard DUTOT promised my head will roll promptly (we'll come back to that in another section). But the case turned out to be EMPTY of charge and I did not give in for the police questioning; worse, I was making pertinent comments, as I knew well the diving and maritime regulations. To don't help matters, my big DSV was outrageously operating almost every day, without nothing to stop her legally, regardless I was arbitrarily not allowed to stay on board and that, not less arbitrarily, the dive compressor was maintained under seal without any reason, though essential to operate the activity.
It is like that, despite my establishment was fulfilling absolutely all the requirements in regard of the laws, including labour regulation, the deputy public prosecutor launched for the umpteenth time an immediate inquiry, through the labour department this time, as a labour officer was claiming to provide him with evidences of multiple breaches of the labour regulation (he was obviously confusing "evidence" and "point of view)... According to this officer all the employments or offices at NOUMEA DIVING were fictive or irregular... No less!
From that moment, the public prosecutor considered he could summon me to appear instead of them, with their prerogatives and liabilities shouldered "IN FACT".
It is not insignificant to point out that, not only to summon me to appear, but for the debates during the trial on 31st December as well, these charges of Labour regulation multiple breaches (without any evidence) were considered as established, and used as a point of reference by fully discharging the main person concerned: the Japanese instructor Miwako KAWAI (considered as my victim...).
However, five years later on 7th October 2013, I will be fully DISCHARGED (French) by magistrate's court order!
Unfortunately, too long time after my judicial and media lynchings based on the public prosecutor's charges, omissions, lies... but full impunity. About such behaviours, I do not have any words strong enough still today to qualify them...
In Noumea for the time of his holidays, the prosecutor of another French collectivity, former teacher at the Magistrate School in France, was staying at a friend's home. I was introduced to him.
Having informed him of "my case" few days before the hearing on 31st December 2008, he opened the penal code and shown me that my rights did not have been respected, by keeping me over 69 hours in police custodies through different inquiries, parallel to the main one (involuntary manslaughter) and ordered by the same magistrate for one single case, then only 24 hours renewable were allowed. He explained me that it was a procedural error and the whole proceeding must be cancelled!
Told about further detailed and the date of the hearing, he warned me: "don't let them to try you on 31st, it's a judicial trap". At the time of these lines, I can only salute his assessment pertinence.
In fact, the whole case was appearing in a way very open to criticism, indeed surprising to say the least. You will quickly understand, with evidences to prove it (ignored by the investigations and the whole proceedings):
DAN Europe requested a surveyor coming from Australia for investigations. He made his report (English) well detailed about the accident circumstances.
He confirmed my statements and the ones from the other witness, the Japanese Instructor. But he never could access to any document of the case (neither my lawyer) and could not meet any authority: it was the "black-out" for everyone.
NOUMEA DIVING's historical (1992-2009) including the chronology of the facts, accusations and investigations was made in January 2009 for the good understanding of my lawyer in regard of the situation, as specified in the forewords section.
It sums up well the commercial atmosphere and the attitudes in connection with these diving business.
Five years later, I fully understand that I took the right decision by leaving, because "the dice were loaded".
On 31st December 2008: the "BIG TOY".
At the time each of us is normally preparing for the New Year's party, the infamy bench was waiting for me inside the main courtroom of Noumea law courts, full to bursting in my back, then I was standing up face to the bar and to a platform of magistrates with solemn looks, not affable at all; I was looked on like the main actor of that last 2008 hours bad play, in fact I was its big toy.
I was subject of so much rumours and commercial jealousies for years, spread by my rivals and recently by excessive media coverage, that many people were interested with "my" case : my rivals of course, but even the maritime military police was there, dressed in civilian clothes.
I knew, for years, that I was got to get it right. Now I must face up to the accusations "in person".
So, my lawyer in holidays overseas, I was facing the "Diving Director" and "Technical Director" liabilities, then the persons really entitled were comfortably either sitting in the courtroom for the show, or staying at home in Japan. However, I could get an inner smile by thinking that, alone, I was holding simultaneously all the employments, duties and responsibilities within my company.
Mrs Severine BEAUMEL was in charge of my defence; young, pretty, ambitious. The day before, I told and wrote her that I would request the postponement of the hearing, but she received a call phone from the Prosecutor in the evening and took the initiative defence speetch... Anyway, I was quite sure that we would never get the postponement; but I think that by lack of experience and wrong interpretation of the penal code, she did not dare to request the cancellation in reason of a procedural error... It could be a cataclysm in the courtroom, full to bursting!
As soon as I was allowed for speaking (it was a matter I was very strongly feeling about), I rouse the deputy public prosecutor Richard DUTOT's visceral ire, as I complained about the 69 hours of police custody. He stood up and with a very aggressive voice, he eructated: "IT'S WRONG!" (However, he perfectly knew that my lawyer would to point that if he was there, reason for why he summoned me to appear this 31st, for his holidays).
My lawyer, Mrs "SB" did not say ANYTHING and, hours after, she pleaded, without great conviction, with a female voice incapable of waking up the audience or the Jury obviously sleeping. At the end of her speech, she requested a discharge.
In fact, I will be informed, much later, that it was her first speech in front of a penal court... It was not at all what she let me know.
Worse, as she was new at her barrister cabinet, she was required "to make money", so, without waiting for the payment from the insurance she debited immediately my cheque of 4200 euros let in guarantee.
It is also later, I was told the request for cancellation should be done immediately by my lawyer, at the whole beginning of the trial, because after it was once and for all too late.
I suppose she did not know about it, because I previously really insisted a lot about this essential matter, that I was very strongly feeling about (I stayed in the solitary confinement of the dungeon and I would to settle the score).
The presiding judge decided, at the beginning of the hearing, to postpone all the other cases and to keep only the manslaughter case because they were too voluminous altogether.
As the deputy public prosecutor Richard DUTOT was not happy, the president told him that he could make reference to the other (postpone) cases if he would and at any time! (Like if they were tried... and the charges established!) We were moving inside a "real fiction"... It was a sort of "GREAT ARCANE GAME". My feeling was to be caught in the net. I completely forgot my lawyer as she was so much silent.
Standing "at the bar" ("à la barre" in French, which means the "witness bar", equivalent to the "witness stand") I was trying to take notes for the presiding judge's speech at the beginning of the hearing, as he was reading the investigations summary.
I was discovering a work based exclusively on the accusation, with extravagant allegations by way of evidences, like, for example:
And so on... My lawyer did not speak to me about that; I suppose she did not have the time to read a so thick file within the too short delay before the trial.
I knew perfectly "my" case and all the matters in connection, specifically to the regulations; so, I could efficiently defend myself, but only by answering to the presiding judge's questions after his very long speech. It was too difficult, indeed, to keep in mind over a 30 minutes reading with so many false allegations, to fume in anger, heard by the whole audience and considered as evidences!
I was under a strong pressure, in front of a packed courtroom I could feel in my back, regardless its silent and the lawyer coming regularly behind me, to request me to look at the presiding judge for his summary reading, instead of to taking notes.
However, despite the tiredness resulting from the standing up continuously for hours (I was never allowed to seat down for about 8 hours of hearing) I was confident, as I was not legally reproachable for anything and that I could do such demonstration, in accordance with all the regulations applicable.
But, because this pressure, I could not realize how much everything was already settled for me in this case, its proceedings and all this... farce.
The deputy public prosecutor Richard DUTOT pushed it by requesting my placement under a committal order, straightaway! For the New Year Eve dinner... Fortunately, the presiding judge did not follow.
As I said, it was a sort of great fiction and I think that all this magistrature had great fun: the "GREAT PLAYTHING".
The day after, the newspaper titled that I defended myself by a surprising way. It seemed the audience had discovered that, finally, all the accusations were not so clear than inside the previous articles, rumours or summing-up for the prosecution.
I was becoming guilty to defend myself...
Few times after, new hearing in March 2009: the case in connection with three commercial rivals' formal complaints for "ENDANGERING the LIFE of OTHERS".
Finally, I will be summoned to appear on 20th March 2009, only for the facts in date of 9th February 2008 and in connection with a new complaint from one of these three rivals: "LAGON SAFARI / Annabella DE CANDIA".
I do not remember for which reason the previous complaints did not succeed, but I could access to the file (French) at my lawyers' firm and work on it by providing evidences that not only the plaintiffs did lies but they were reproachable of "endangering the life of the others" by a repeated, aggravated and manifest way, then I could not be reproachable of anything. I based my argumentation on their own police statements, the maritime law and the diving regulation. It was so clear and precise that it could not be matter to any doubt.
This new complaint from "LAGON SAFARI / Annabella DE CANDIA", for which I was summoned to appear, was just the two years continuation of the previous complaints mentioned above and I remind that it was initially joined to the manslaughter case, to help this latter "to hold water" by making these cases worse altogether, by providing a particularly pathetic image of me and by sweeping aside over 16 years of my irreproachable conduct of the diving activities (I could say exemplary).
My eloquent comments, about the initial complaints in reference above, were given as they were to the court by my lawyer at the trial on 20th March 2009 and, without any doubt, they were filed to trash (like all the evidences in the manslaughter case)... You will understand.
The story is quite eloquent about the way the judicial and Maritime authorities dealt with the case; the inclosed documents speak for themselves (All of them completely ignored by the authorities and by the proceedings):
THE REAL STORY ?
It appears in the letter above dated 16/02/2009 to my lawyer and in the summon dated 16/12/2008, from Richard DUTOT, to appear before the court on 31st:
One have good grounds to think the deputy public prosecutor Richard DUTOT brought to a standstill the case files in connection with me (maybe all of them...), so:
It was resulting that I was literally "thrown to the lions" with all the divers involved and endangered:
About the (at least) very questionable Maritime Affairs Director's behaviour, Mr Vincent DENAMUR...
AS A MATTER OF INTEREST:
One of the divers on board of LAGON SAFARI / Annabella DE CANDIA's Dive Boat the day of the facts (09/02/2008) came to the hearing on 20/03/2009 ; he was coming to the "show" and was alone, as the plaintiffs did not come.
He got a chance to make himself heard in the discussion when the presiding Judge asked to the audience if someone involved in the case was there:
- The Judge: "Sir, did you feel to be in danger?"
- The witness: « No, at any time ». He was honest... One never hear speaking anymore about him.
I really was the fall guy and this trial was a farce, but not funny at all. Did you say trap?
A SENTENCE EQUAL TO THE OTHER CASE :
I was sentenced (county court) despite a case file which should completely and utterly charge the plaintiff with shameless lies and multiple breaches of the regulations, with statements, testimonies and contradictory pieces as evidences, specifically concerning the facts dated 9/02/2008.
All those documents, that could charge LAGON SAFARI / Annabella DE CANDIA and discharge me, were completely ignored by the authorities and, of course, by the court as well (i.e.; Testimonies from Mr PD or Mr MF).
What to say about my numerous Sea Reports, warnings, distress calls for two years? Or about the impossibility to get the records of discussions on the VHF channel 16? Altough essential evidences for the case.
Still there, one can be amazed at the absence of investigating magistrate in regard of the accusations and aftermaths seriousness; investigations let in the deputy public prosecutor Richard DUTOT's hands, worse: with evidence of collusion!
The sentence inflicted on me was as insane than excessive: I was ban for diving for three years... With immediate effect!
In another words, just based on commercial rival's allegations it was decided to put an end to my company.
I did not imagine it could be conceivable (I must point out that my Dive Vessel was operating and that nothing "legally" could stop her... Until this sentence).
So, why to appeal against the judgement if the sentence was with "immediate effect"? Was it not an explicit demonstration of the only aim of all of that: to delete me?
My dangerousness? I operated the diving activities, almost daily, for 16 years and not only one single accident!
But, as my lawyer was insistent about wanting to appeal against that "unacceptable" judgement, I appealed. The insurer should pay. I was already in Fidji at that time. I was not under any illusion and deeply disappointed by justice and its magistracy; I never could imagine all of that possible.
At this date, four years have flown and I am not waiting any more for the appeal... I think that I have been "forgotten".
Thus, after taking the whole responsibility for the "manslaughter case" and being sentenced with "immediat effect" in the pseudo "endangering the life of others" it is without any surprise that NOUMEA DIVING was deleted from the diving business in New Caledonia.
But it was not finished! Still was remaining another development...
After having fulfilled my judicial obligations, I left Noumea, quite freely and according to the regulation, on 1st December 2009 at about 5:00 am, destination Fiji Islands, avec ma compagne japonaise et nos deux très jeunes enfants. Le pont arrière du bateau était chargé d’un désordre exposé aux embruns, bribes disparates mais utiles de 26 années d’une vie calédonienne. Nous allions vers une destination totalement inconnue, sans imaginer ce que représentait un voyage en haute mer sur plus de sept cent mille nautiques, sans pilote automatique. Mais j'étais tellement écœuré par le traitement dont j'avais fait l'objet, que pas même le risque cyclonique, réel à cette époque de l'année, n'aurait pu me retenir en Nouvelle-Calédonie. On fit face au cyclone "MICK" force 4 à notre arrivée à Suva.
Une dernière page était donc tournée pour « NOUMEA DIVING » qui avait été, de loin, la principale structure de plongée touristique de Nouvelle-Calédonie, avec dix sept années d’une exploitation exemplaire jusqu’à son seul et unique accident de plongée; fait tout de même remarquable et exceptionnel pour un tel établissement touristique gérant quotidiennement une activité classée « à haut risque », avec une grosse unité de plongée, une capacité d’accueil en conséquence et une clientèle Japonaise estimée "sensible".
J'ai cependant encore trop présent à l'esprit des années d'un discours politique incitant à investir dans un tourisme "en mal de décollage" depuis plus 40 ans... J'y avais investit plus de soixante millions XPF (500.000 euros), ce qui représentait bien plus que les investissements de tous mes concurrents réunis, sans que je n'ai jamais trouvé le moindre appui administratif en retour; bien au contraire ! Peut-être aurais-je du organiser des barbecues et des causeries (comme mes concurrents subventionnés) au lieu de travailler 16 heures par jour, tous les jours de l'année...
La Nouvelle-Calédonie me laissait quand même les souvenirs de 25 ans d'encadrement en plongée, à titre bénévole ou professionnel, et de bien d’innovations, d'excursions et d'activités exceptionnelles dont j'avais eu l'initiative dans différents secteurs : plongée sur la côte Est à Hienghène, Thio (Récif Poui-Poui), Goro (fosse aux requins), doubles plongées dans la matinée au départ de Nouméa (estimé impossible), plongée en grottes à Lifou (dont avec Ushuaïa), nourrissage de requins passe de Boulari, plongée en casques à l’île aux Canards, ouverture des plongées au Club Med, mise en service d’un navire de plongée de grande capacité (estimé impossible), expéditions plongée dans le grand Sud, etc.
Mais le sentiment qui prédomine est encore celui du gâchis et de la frustration, par le fait que pratiquement tous mes soucis durant ces années passées, n'étaient pas venus de la difficulté à réaliser ce que d'autres étaient incapables d'imaginer ou d'oser entreprendre, mais du succès de leur réalisation ! Il en ressort que mon échec fut d'appréhender correctement les bassesses liées à la jalousie commerciale et les procédures sans fins qui en découlèrent, par lesquelles, au lieu de réaliser bien d'autres projets, je découvris le monde judiciaire et ses méandres... mais aussi la nature humaine sous l'un de ses aspects les plus méprisables...
A l'heure où encore bien des politiques se prévalent du "Gaullisme", une phrase bien connue qu'on lui attribue à l'intention de la Nouvelle-Calédonie et de sa classe politique me vient à l'esprit : "Ah, cette bande* de terre peuplée d'une bande de c...".
*"Bande de" in the original French version. In French, this word is the same to mean "Gang of..." and "Srip of...", the author plays with the different meaning of the French word.
The last (and not the least!) development of the judicial five years saga. What was it about?
Roughly and without going into details :
Despite the reality of the contracts between my company and the Dive Instructor Miwako KAWAI, within the strict observance of the rules and a full transparency, I was reproached several violations labour laws, including:
What is about the position of "TECHNICAL DIRECTOR" ? It had been still simplest:
Placed under police custody for the whole night, because he was conforming his position at NOUMEA DIVNG, my Technical Director René T. collapsed early morning under the threats and a too big pressure. The prosecutor representative, Richard DUTOT, requested immediately confrontation with me, which resulted in a double setback: I made reference to René T.'s contract and gazette publication, reality that it was difficult to ignore ; moreover, once returned at home, René T. sent to me a formal registred letter to confirm his position until the end of the police custody on 02/10/2008 and to discontinue...
Never mind! the prosecutor representative Richard DUTOT decided by his own that I was Technical Directeur « in fact » !
(and consequently, I was summoned to appear at this position, in the case of MATSUMOTO involuntary manslaughter, at the beginning of judicial Saga).
Quiet strange also that this official and important letter had been completely ignored and never produced by my lawyer for my defence).
Height of relentlessly, although not living in New Caledonia any more (I remind that I was not allowed to work anymore), I was summoned to appear "in person"! Then the hearing was delayed three times...
So, my lawyer Mr DESWARTE, should plead to be allowed to represent me (and this also has a cost...), the prosecutor requesting a warrant for arrest ! to force me to come to the hearing... Finally, the presiding judge grant me the authorization to be represented by my lawyer... Amazing.
Mrs Miwako KAWAI, the diving instructor, was requesting me to pay her a compensation of ONE MILLION FIVE HUNDRED THOUSAND XPF (12.570 euros) for moral wrong and THREE HUNDRED THOUSAND XPF (2.565 euros) for her financial lost! (I just would to say "what a shame")
In return my lawyer was requesting a DISCHARGE (what he wrote was like a balloon of oxygen and true, in a nightmarish and huge judicial fiction).
On 7th October 2013 I was fully DISCHARGED from all the accusations!
As explained supra, the discharge means NO CHARGE, in other words, the whole case was EMPTY. It is eloquent and shocking.
That case was the cornerstone of the whole judicial saga and the reason of my whole professional, social and familial demolition.
On month earlier, immediately after the hearing and according to its habits, the local Newspaper "Les Nouvelles Caledoniennes" was titling slanderous allegations about me, by reminding and spreading all the summing-up for the prosecution, worthy of the inquisition...
The news about my discharge was so surprising, after such determined demolition through the media, that even the Tv spoke about it at the news...Then "Les Nouvelles Caledoniennes" was going on my demolition, despite the discharge.
Pour en finir avec cette justice indexée rendue sous les pins coloniaux de la Nouvelle-Calédonie, j'aimerais cité un vieux monsieur aujourd'hui disparu, Pierre DRAI, qui avait accédé au poste le plus élevé pour un juge : premier président de la Cour de cassation.
Alors qu'il n'en était plus que le président honoraire, il avait rendu hommage aux juges qui avaient réhabilité Dreyfus en 1906 :
"Dans notre pays, subsiste dans le tréfonds de la conscience populaire, cette vieille méfiance à l'égard des juges, méfiance qu'accroît encore la vue des défectuosités d'une machine vieillie et vite essoufflée dans l'effort" Les juges de 1906, dont nul n'a retenu les noms, disait-il " nous ont appris que juger, c'est aimer écouter, essayer de comprendre et vouloir décider (...) Ils nous ont appris que, dans l'action de juger, il fallait toujours laisser place au doute mais que, jamais, la moindre place ne devait être laissée à la 'rumeur', au 'préjugé', au soupçon. Ils nous ont appris qu'il ne fallait jamais mépriser le droit, la règle de droit préexistante et objective. Ils nous ont appris qu'il fallait toujours avoir égard à la personne qui souffre dans sa liberté, dans sa réputation, dans sa vie familiale et affective. Ils nous ont appris qu'en se présentant devant un juge indépendant et libre, un homme ou une femme ne devait se sentir humilié avant que justice soit passée".
Pour en finir avec cette justice indexée rendue sous les pins coloniaux de la Nouvelle-Calédonie, j'aimerais cité un vieux monsieur aujourd'hui disparu, Pierre DRAI, qui avait accédé au poste le plus élevé pour un juge : premier président de la Cour de cassation.
But, all my minds are for the victim who was my age, for his wife and children. Minds greatly saddened because I cannot dissociate them from my anger about these very commercial diving organizations coming from the USA and who "make" a diving "Instructor" with everyone capable to use... a credit card ("Put A Dollard In...") and to complete a Liability release form after contracting an insurance for themselves! "Those who serve it are they accomplices or victims? Something is certain, they constitute its body and spirit.".
What does one think about the facts:
Quant à moi, je ne peux prétexter la fatalité du hasard, je dois me résoudre à comprendre mes erreures, à ne pas les réitérer et, si possible, faire profiter mon entourage de cette "expérience" afin d'en tirer quelque chose de positif. « Il n’y a pas de hasard, parce que le hasard est la Providence des imbéciles, et la Justice veut que les imbéciles soient sans Providence ». Léon BLOY 1846-1917 : Le Mendiant ingrat (Mercure de France) préface.
Mais, si bonne providence s'offre à moi, je ne la dédaignerai pas et la traiterai selon les conseils de François RABELAIS 1494-1553 : Vie inestimable du Grand Gargantua, père de Pantagruel, chap. 34 : "Les cas de hasard jamais ne faut poursuivre jusques à leur période* et […] il convient à tous chevaliers révérentement traiter leur bonne fortune sans la molester ni gêner".
*à leur plus haut point.
Il y a des endroits où les hommes ne sont jugés que par leur valeur sans préoccupation pour leur passé, comme à la Légion Etrangère par exemple, au bénéfice d’actions d'hommes qualifiés alors « d'élite » ; il y a des sociétés où l’âge accorde certains privilèges, comme le respect, au bénéfice de la considération qu’on peut avoir pour évaluer une société.
Mais nous vivons dans un monde individualiste, égoïste, voire hypocrite, où les motivations d’usage sont : profit, bien-être et paraître. Les coups les plus bas y sont possibles, on n'hésite pas à marcher sur la tête des autres pour se hisser soi-même, à peine plus haut, un court instant ; le « pas vu, pas pris » y fait bonne recette, même au niveau politique le plus haut, d’où est supposé venir l’exemple… Il en résulte que dans ce monde de confort et de sécurité, pour la majorité, certaines valeurs de base ont été oubliées.
En d’autres temps, pas si lointain, certains de nos contemporains ont vécu des périodes extrêmement plus difficiles qu’aujourd’hui et douloureuses. Ceux-là, de moins en moins nombreux car nous ne sommes pas éternels, font peut-être figure d’excentriques, avec leur sens de l’honneur national désuet à l’heure de la mondialisation, leur sens du respect ou de l’entraide entre camarades à l'heure de l'individualisme et de bien d’autres valeurs tellement peu à la mode désormais.
A ces époques troublées, de camps de concentration, d’irrespect de la personne humaine, où de bons petits soldats payaient de leur sang, dans les maquis, les rizières et les djebels, le jeu de collaborateurs, d’affairistes ou de carriéristes jouissant de confort et de renommées plus ou moins méritées, ces valeurs-là avaient, pour grand nombre, un sens aiguë et avaient permis à certains de survivre à la torture de la collaboration et à l’enfer des camps, ou de suivre un idéal et un code d’honneur garants de notre liberté aujourd’hui. Libertés de circuler, de penser et d'expression.
Mais ces valeurs morales avaient aussi conduit en Algérie à qualifier de « soldats perdus » une grande partie de l’élite de notre armée. Ceux d’entre eux qui avaient échappé à la grande purge Gaulliste, aux pelotons d’exécutions et à la forteresse, on fait partie essentielle de mes instructeurs militaires. Leur caractéristique première était qu’au contact de l’injustice, de la souffrance morale et physique, du dénuement et de la mort, ils avaient acquis le sens de valeurs morales essentielles.
Lorsqu’arrivé au Vanuatu le hasard me fit rencontrer à Port-Vila "GB" un homme de l'âge de mon père, j’étais dans une situation difficile ; je faisais face à un problème administratif d'apparence simple, mais compliqué à résoudre, comme il en existe quelques fois ici.
Nous ne savions rien ni de l’un ni de l’autre, mais il n’hésita pas un instant à me consacrer sont temps et à m’écouter. M’accueillant comme si j’étais un fils et avec la même confiance, sachant que je n’avais rien d’autre à lui offrir moi-même. Il fit alors preuve d’une parfaite maîtrise de ces valeurs morales essentielles.
Qui dans ce pays pouvait bien se soucier de mes problèmes, sinon en s’éloignant de moi pour ne surtout pas les partager ? (Ce qu’on fait des « amis » installés ici et qui me proposaient une aide efficace… tant qu’on avait besoin de rien).
Qui aujourd’hui accorderait la moindre importance au fait que je fus parachutiste dans ma vie, pour m’accorder cette confiance et m’aider spontanément au nom d’un code de camaraderie ? Sans rien espérer en retour du temps à me consacrer, dans un emploi du temps déjà bien chargé.
GB l’a fait naturellement. Sans me connaître, ni intéressement d’aucune sorte, il a résolu mon problème efficacement et réglementairement ; mais faut-il savoir de quoi on parle.
Me vient à l’esprit une chanson d'un autre "GB", Georges Brassens : « toi l’auvergnat qui sans façon (…) quand dans ma vie il faisait froid ». A-t-il déjà fait froid dans votre vie ?
GB a été ce bon petit soldat parachutiste de 17 ans, meurtri dans l’âme par une guerre qui à l’époque ne voulait pas dire son nom. Les barricades Algéroises, l’O.A.S… et après ?
Après, une autre chanteuse mondialement connue, Edith Piaf, l’a si bien dit : « non, rien de rien (…) terminé, balayé, oublié, je me fou du passé ».
Comment pourrait-on cautionner ceux qui brûlent les drapeaux, tirent sur les ambulances, choisissent l’ombre pour planter leur couteau dans le dos ? Et signent de leur nom comme des artistes, comme s’il leur revenait le moindre mérite, la moindre parcelle de gloire, dans ce genre « d’oeuvre » ; comme si calomnie pouvait être confondue avec Information ou lâcheté avec courage.
Comment ne pas refouler un profond sentiment de mépris et de tristesse à l’égard de tels égarements ?
« El Grande Magicien », « Ali » issus de la plume de cette fange de nuisibles que produisent nos sociétés, ne contribuent pas à élever la qualité de l’information au Vanuatu, ni celle du niveau littéraire, ni d’aucun débat condamné à sombrer dans la polémique. Tout ceci est assez pitoyable, tant sur la forme que sur le fond, et que trop rarement risible, parce que pervers.
Il est bien regrettable qu’un pays riche d’une telle diversité culturelle et linguistique qu’est le Vanuatu, soit à ce point gangrené par une presse aussi réductrice, polémique et mercantile que celle qui s’étale derrière certain titre de quotidien, que les hasards de cette richesse linguistique veulent si proche de la consonance Française « délits ».
Quel pays attractif ! Il suffit de lire ses publicités adressées aux investisseurs sur Internet.
C’est ainsi que je suis venu. En famille, avec un investissement conséquent, des compétences, une clientèle à travers un réseau Internet et des projets.
Pour ne faire d’ombrage à aucun concurrent potentiel, nous sommes allés là où personne ne le voulait, au fin fond de l’archipel, tout simplement parce que c’était plus difficile.
Je ne pensais pas prendre le risque de venir dans un pays où, de ce fin fond, je serais encore la cible d’une presse locale de caniveaux ; qui, par des allégations mensongères colportées aux seules fins de dénigrement, chercherait à m’empêcher de travailler et/ou à améliorer son chiffre d’affaire à ragots.
C’est dommage, car les populations des îles sont accueillantes et attachantes. Les gens y sont sincères et il y a de réelles possibilités de développement ailleurs qu’à Port-Vila.
Ajoutons que d’autres regardent de l’extérieur ce qui se passe ici, ce qui s’écrit sur les sites Internet de ces journaux...
Il est attristant que ceux qui représentent leur pays à travers leur administration, puissent, pour certains, avoir à ce point perdu le sens de valeurs essentielles et que d’autres puissent être tellement faibles, ou incompétents, pour ne pas dénoncer des pratiques honteuses, indignes, lorsqu’ils n’y contribuent pas activement par une complice indifférence ou esprit corporatif.
Je remercie le premier substitut MC pour sa colère dans les couloirs du parquet, rapportée par mon avocat avant que tout ceci ne commence et qu’il ne parte à la retraite ; lui, question plongée il savait de quoi il parlait. Je salue la décision du magistrat du Parquet R de s'être désisté et de ne pas avoir requis contre moi dans l'affaire de "mise en danger".
Il est regrettable et déplorable, que par manque de valeurs morales, au lieu de lire de "vraies nouvelles" il faille se contenter de ragots, motivés par le mercantilisme, la mesquinerie, le copinage, la paresse ou l’incompétence, au détriment du développement d’un petit pays à fort potentiel et à celui du respect des personnes.
Au lieu de s’inspirer de mauvais exemples dans ce domaine, certains esprits polémiques et sans scrupules devraient peut-être prendre exemple des destinations touristiques proches, où tourisme et journalisme fonctionnent sans de tels procédés et garder présent à l’esprit ce dicton anglophone : « don’t put the shit in the fan », ou encore le conseil plus « soft » du précédent premier ministre du Vanuatu : « don’t spit in the wind ».
Raoul J. M.
Nota Bene :
A PORT-VILA (Vanuatu), il est éloquent de connaître le genre de source d'information dont se satisfait le quotitien local pour me dénigrer dans plusieurs articles, en pleines pages, dont sa couverture : dans le CV de l'informateur du quotidien (lettre de licenciement en bichelamar) les mots "menteur", "voleur", "violeur" de mineur et "inceste" sont les mêmes en bichelamar qu'en anglais. Pour ce genre de presse et de "journalisme", ça vaut bien les intérêts bassement commerciaux de la Nouvelle-Calédonie.
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