INTRODUCTION: Following the execution of murderer Gary Gilmore in the United States, the death penalty is now being hotly debated in France.
SVs EXTERIOR: court-house, Troyes, France. (2 shots)
SVs: spectators outside court-house. (2 shots)
SV: (through shutter) self-confessed child murderer and kidnapper Patrick Henri in dock.
SV INTERIOR: court-house foyer -- people leaving court-room.
SVs EXTERIOR: gendarmes on guard. (2 shots)
GV AND SV: defence lawyer Robert Badinter leaving court-house.
SV: police vans driving away.
Script is copyright Reuters Limited. All rights reserved
Background: INTRODUCTION: Following the execution of murderer Gary Gilmore in the United States, the death penalty is now being hotly debated in France. The issue has been fuelled by the trial of a self-confessed child kidnapper and strangler, Patrick Henri, who faces the guillotine.
SYNOPSIS: His trial in Troyes in Central France, has attracted international figures like Nobel prize-winner for medicine Andre Loff. He was called by the defence to describe the guillotine as 'a relic from a barbaric past'.
Twenty-three-year-old car salesman Henri, who confessed in court to the kidnapping and murdering of an eight-year old boy, also heard a leading criminologist plead for his life. Jacques Leeute, called by the defence, quoted figures from Interpol which highlighted the argument that the death penalty was not a deterrent. He told the court the murder rate was higher in France than in Britain, where capital punishment is abolished. Henri, who ransomed the child for a million francs (120,000 sterling) strangled him to death with a scarf.
Henri's defence lawyer Robert Badinter, said as the trial began on Tuesday (January) 'the death penalty is at the very heart of our debate here'. Lasy July, another child killer was guillotined -- the fifteenth person to be executed in France since 1959.