two men in court for filming and broadcasting images of the death of a high school student

Johanna, 15, was killed on January 16, 2019, hit by a bus. A city surveillance agent is accused of recording the scene with his phone, sending it to his brother, who then forwarded it to other recipients, until he landed on social media .

These images, Sandrine Barthélémy will probably never be able to part with them. They come back repeatedly in the nightmares that populate his nights. So many tirelessly painful “flashbacks” of the death of his daughter, Johanna, which occurred on January 16, 2019.

“We see her very much alive at one point and ‘poof’. We can clearly see the impact of the bus”, she breathes into the microphone of BFM Lyon. The 15-year-old high school student was crossing the road at the corner of rue de la République and rue Joseph Serlin when she was mowed down. She was about to join her mother, who was waiting for her at the nearby McDonald’s.

These images, Sandrine Barthélémy should never have seen them. From the city’s CCTV cameras, they reached him the day after the funeral – like tens of thousands of people – via social networks.

“Double Punishment”

Two men are the main culprits. The first is then an agent in the municipal telesurveillance service. He is accused of having filmed the sequence using his phone and then of having transmitted it to his brother, who then took charge of its large-scale distribution… until he reached the screen of Sandrine Barthelemy. Their trial begins on Tuesday.

“A double penalty”, according to the words used by the complainant to RMC shortly after the accident. Today, she is trying somehow to “survive”, she declared to our microphone in January.

“They stole his life and shattered mine. (…) Every morning, I just go to work part-time. I go to the cemetery and that’s it. I’m constantly surviving, like an injured animal.”

It was at the corner of rue de la République and rue Joseph Serlin that Johanna was killed.
It was at the corner of rue de la République and rue Joseph Serlin that Johanna was killed. © BFM Lyon

Prison sentences and fines incurred

The trial that opens will certainly not calm the days and nights of Sandrine Barthélémy. One of his two advisers, Me Jean Sannier, believes that it could however have educational virtues for Internet users who have contributed to the spread of images of the accident.

“It’s the whole high school that happened the video, it’s the neighborhood, it’s everyone who knew Johanna who saw it, condenses the lawyer. And I think that on the city of Lyon, many people have seen this video…. All these young children are unable to understand that they have also committed the same offence, which is punished by imprisonment, which is punished by a fine.”

The concealment of images from a video surveillance system is effectively punishable by a prison sentence of up to five years, and a fine of 375,000 euros. This is the sentence incurred by the brother of the former agent of the remote monitoring service. The latter risks for his part up to three years in prison and a fine of 45,000 euros.

Gérard Collomb and Keolis targeted by a complaint

The decision that the court will pronounce in this case is not the only one that Sandrine Barthélémy is waiting for. Hoping for a trial, Johanna’s mother filed a complaint against Gérard Collomb, the former mayor of Lyon, as well as against Keolis, for intentional homicide.

Sandrine Barthélémy criticizes the former city councilor for having authorized by municipal decree the circulation of articulated buses at 30 km/h in the pedestrian area where the accident occurred. And to the operator of the transport network for having allowed the bus driver to circulate in the “flagrant” absence of training, as his lawyer had indicated to the Progress.

Since the opening of a judicial inquiry three years ago, light has not yet been shed on this case. The bus driver offered several explanations: he assured that he had been dazzled by the sun, that many travelers were at the front of the bus and that the blind spots of the vehicle had prevented him from seeing Johanna before the shock. He has never been sanctioned by Keolis.

Arthur Blet with Florian Bouhot

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