Tuesday, October 23, 2007

He killed a man by jealousy: What is your verdict?

Yesterday I was watching a high court process about this case: a man killed a man out of jealousy. It made me discovered some differences in the trial process, comparing to Malaysia and USA, learnt through TV dramas and series. I would like to note that this is a real case and real process, approved by the French High Court to diffuse through the television.

France: You are guilty until proven innocent. (a scary concept to me)
USA and Malaysia: You are innocent until proven guilty
(Need further verification)

France: The judge is called "Mr President"
USA : Your honour
Malaysia: My lord (correction after indicated by Angie)

France: No death penalty and life long sentence
USA and Malaysia: Death penalty (in certain states in the USA) and life long sentence

It seemed weird to me that it has 3 lawyers: one from the government, one from the victim family and one for the defense. Isn't it we usually see one lawyer represent each side?

In terms of the attire, after watching so many soup operas from Hong Kong, I thought every lawyers and judges have to wear wigs and bands and robes. Fabien was laughing like hell when he saw all these wigs and bands. The French just like to do thing differently. The middle photo is the family lawyer from this case. They never wore wigs! I read that the lawyers in US and Malaysia don't wear these anymore unless they have to go to the High Court.

The case:
Between the night of 13 and 14 August 2004, a man was found dead in a burnt car in a small village in the North of France. The police found out that it was not an accident but the man was assassinated. They found Jean-Léon Cazier, a garage worker, 50 years old, to have the biggest suspect. He was jailed for 3 years before the High Court open the trial in June 2007.

The suspect admitted that he killed the guy. The trial was just to find out whether he planned the whole killing scene (first degree murder), or it was unintentional (second degree murder). It all started when the suspect found out that his wife, who worked with the victim's parents, was home late everyday, so he suspected that she has a lover. On the night of 13 Aug 2004, he went to the victim's parents' house, wait outside for 30 minutes before the victim said goodbye to his parents and went inside his car. The suspect went directly toward the victim, warmed him to leave his wife alone, beat him, then later hit him with a stone. The victim fainted and the suspect put him inside the car, drove away, still remember to honk the car, imitating what the victim would do every time he leaves his parents' house. All these time the suspect didn't forget to bring along a gasoline container full with gasoline.

He then drove the victim to a farm. The victim woke up and tried to run away, but was hit again by the suspect. At this point, the suspect decided to make it look like an accident, he spread the car with gasoline and burned the car. He then run away.

During the trial, the wife admitted that she and the victim have kissed and touched each other. She is living with the suspect's 81 years old mother and their children. The victim left behind a wife and 3 daughters, all grown up.

The verdict of the jury: It was a well planned killing case, the victim was to go to the jail for 20 years.

For the victim's family, the guy should be sentenced to the death penalty or whole life in the prison. 20 years is too little for a punishment. As for Jean-Léon Cazier, his wife and the 81 years old mother think that it was too much a punishment, that they would want to be able to have a normal life again with him. What would be your verdict?


  1. Anonymous7:55 PM


    I could be wrong. I thought Malaysia follow British system : that a victim is guilty until proven innocent ?

    I remembered one of my lawyer friends who fought very hard for an innocent man who was planted drug on his carry bag from K.L to Limbang. The guy was in jail for 7 years while my friend was fighting for his innocent. When he came out of the prison he was in his mid 30's.
    Here in the US, in fact, the juries made quite a lot of decision. Because US constitution is such that by the people, for the people, so the people has a lot of power in making decision. In fact, the judge only interpret the law according to the juries decision.
    Remember how you see American TV movie whenever a case is ended , someone will say something like " Your honor, the jury has reached a verdict that the offender is found guilty....". Remember ?

    I like the US check and balance system more than a lot of other countries, no one is supreme than the others, the President, the congress, the supreme court all have equal power !

    In fact during my oath ceremony, the judge encourage each of us who just become citizen to be on jury duty.

    I am not sure what other country in the world has juries on the bench to decide a criminal case ? I wish I know international politics as well as I do with my gold and silver investment :):).

  2. Jamy,

    I have always thought that the British Common Law is the fundamental of the American Laws. The principal for the British' Law is always innocent until proven guilty. As commonwealth countries Malaysia and HK always follow the British Common Law.

    Here's what I read online:
    "...principle in British justice, the right to remain innocent until proven guilty..."

    "... compromises a crucial

    The French uses civil law so their principal is very different than the British. They use the jury system too, in this case the decision was made by the juries.

    Once I was called for the jury duty in the US and I found it funny, I was not even an US citizen. :-)

    Somehow I don't like the jury system, as the juries could be influenced by many means, for example by the intelligent lawyers. Have you watched the movie "Runaway Jury"? I'm not sure how real it is but it kind of scare me how the juries can be influenced by just a guy and change the direction of the decision.

  3. Anonymous12:10 AM

    I could be wrong, but I don' think they wear these wigs anymore in the US...not even the Supreme Court justices wear them.

    They do in the UK...

  4. hey... in malaysia, they address the judge as "My Lord".

    and also, over here, you're guilty until proven innocent. (^ ^)

  5. Anonymous6:02 AM


    I don't know much about law but I dated a guy for a while who was a lawyer (or barrister, he read law in Lincoln Inn about the same era as Lee Kuan Yu, he was a lot older than me). I remembered very well that the major different between US and Brit is for US, it is innocent till proven guilty but otherwise for Brits ? and commonwealth follow

    Now I wonder if what you said was right, I wonder why that man was was in the prison for so many years. It was a very big case in Sarawak, he was then called the Kapal Singh of Sarawak because of the case.

    One thing about online, you really need to find info that is issued by government because there are a lot of unreliable info on the net.

    My professor just told me something which I can relate to, she got so irritated with her new sister in law cos she is constantly pestering her with what she found on the internet about prostate cancer. Her bro. was just diagnosed with p. cancer and whenever her SIL read something relating to P.CA, she would call her and ask her questions. She said a lot of info on the net is not reliable.

    I am not saying you are wrong or I am right. And My memory is also failing me lately but this guy was very close to me and he did talk about law a fair bit to me.

    Yes, I heard about the mistakes of calling jury for non US citizen. You are not the first. No, I don't think one jury can have so much power. I personally don't think too much of Hollywood movies for truth.

    During the trial period, the juries are not to talk to anyone about the case. Before I came here, I also have second thought about the jury system.

    Since Angie lives in Malaysia now, she might be able to verify for us.
    Yes, Angie, you are right about the "My Lord" part because I used to attend his court hearing when he was practicing then, sigh, memory.

  6. Anonymous9:08 AM

    Malaysia is following british..

  7. Jamy,

    I couldn't find the link from the Malaysian government that saying that the laws are based on the principal that one is innocent until proven guilty. I saw it only here and there from websites and forums. I tried but couldn't find any from the British site either.

    Anyway, there had been mentioning that sometimes Malaysia is violating the principal. For example in the Anwar's case, he was considered guilty even before he can prove it. However, sometimes you will see in newspaper that some suspects are released bcos the government doesn't have enough prove. In the HK dramas you always see criminal worked away bcos they were not enough evidence.

    Anyway, I have sent an email to my friend who is a lawyer in Malaysia and see what she say.

    Thanks for correcting me. I will change my post. For the guilty until proven innocent one I will get back to you once I have the answer from my lawyer friend.

    Yes I think in US they don't wear wig anymore. In UK they suspended it for the family law judges as well, now only the criminal judges would have to wear it.

  8. Anonymous12:46 AM

    I thought it's "Your Honour" all these while .. My Lord is like, ... I dunno.

  9. BE,
    In fact, after writing the 2 long comments I felt so bad cos I was so sidetrack that I did not even give my opinion if the guy is guilty or not. In fact, that is the post all about and see I go all side track. Sorry BE. Lucky, you understand me pretty well and don't get offended. Sorry again.