Some deputies have obviously not digested the police misadventure of one of their own and have trouble with the separation of powers. Despite several legal proceedings, two of which resulted in rulings by the cantonal court, the Management Control Commission saw fit to put its nose into the arrest and search of Simon Brandt to unearth traces of malevolence. orchestrated. Under the guise of identifying “possible problems” in the methods of the inspectors, this assembly has laid a kind of parallel investigation to say all the bad things to think about the story, scratching the Attorney General Olivier Jornot in the process. , bluntly evoke an abuse of authority and recommend some evidence. This UFO, presented this Tuesday to the press, will still have to be dubbed in plenary.
A little historical reminder for those who missed the start. On December 13, 2019, suspected of having leaked a confidential document in his capacity as a municipal councilor (PLR) and above all of having consulted the police database in his capacity as a scientific collaborator of this institution (the two maneuvers having mentioned in exchanges of messages with Pierre Maudet), Simon Brandt was apprehended in the early morning, taken to the premises, subjected to a so-called “security” search – which involves undressing in two stages and visual inspection of surfaces and orifices visible – briefly placed in a detention room before being installed in the cafeteria, handcuffed for a few moments, taken to the scene of the searches and finally auditioned in the presence of his lawyer before being released the same evening.
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Waterfall of decisions
Simon Brandt (who benefited from a ranking on the database component and was acquitted for the benefit of the doubt on that of the leak of the expense reports report) claimed more than a million francs from the State for having been abused too much and having suffered from post-traumatic stress due to his great sensitivity. He also filed a complaint against the police officer who carried out the search and through him against the public prosecutor who had signed the warrant ordering this operation.
The Criminal Appeals Chamber dismissed most of the accusations and finally awarded 2,000 francs in moral damages for a search deemed disproportionate, even if in accordance with the directives of the time (these were modified following a decision of the Federal Court which prohibits the systematic undressing before leaving a defendant alone in a room). In another 50-page judgment, this same court confirmed the dismissal of the complaint for abuse of authority, considering that there was no conspiracy or intention to harm on the part of the criminal prosecution authorities. Mon-Repos, seized by Simon Brandt, still has to decide all that.
This intense judicial activity was not enough for the parliamentarians who conducted their own hearings (without however being able to hear the policeman in question), described in a 100-page report. In the end, the socialist deputy, Alberto Velasco, linchpin of the trio who got down to this exploration, believes that everything should have happened differently. His colleague Daniel Sormanni (MCG) adds that it is “inadmissible” to proceed in this way, especially since the elected official was finally cleared. Finally, Bertrand Buchs (Le Centre) deplores the leaks and therefore “the theatricality” having accompanied this file like no other. In short, the sub-commission remains convinced that Simon Brandt was sacrificed on the altar of dark designs, including that of harming Pierre Maudet, his mentor.
Also read: In Geneva, the police finally change their practice of body searches
To reinforce this feeling, the deputies did not want to give credence to the declarations of the Attorney General explaining why the arrest warrants had for about two years contained a standard sentence in order to validate possible finds during the security searches carried out very systematically by the police. Nor did they grasp the definition of visual search, synonymous with so-called cavity search, but which remains totally external and does not require the intervention of a doctor. A confusion which leads the deputies to evoke “erroneous, even false assertions” of the Attorney General, before having to conclude all the same that the sub-commission “was not able to determine where the truth lay” on this point.
The directives on searches having already been modified in November 2021 following a judgment of the Federal Court which prohibits automaticity and imposes no more abuse of privacy without valid reason, the sub-commission had to find other recommendations for the police. Like, for example: working without political ulterior motives, in an ethical manner, respecting secrecy and reserving VIP treatment to sensitive files. Or, do not forget to warn the group leader if a deputy is in jail when it is time to vote on the budget.
More seriously, the report (accepted by the commission, except for the four PLR voices) recommends the audio recording of searches and hearings as well as the installation of videos in police premises. What reconcile the deputies a little with the Public Ministry, which has been calling for more monitoring of the interventions of agents and prison guards for a decade. A bill is also in the pipeline. Nothing is lost. Unless the Grand Council considers that the dignity of ordinary citizens (or thugs) does not deserve such huge expenses.