Nordahl Lelandais trial: Maëlys’ mother’s lawyer hopes for a sentence commensurate with his “absolute dangerousness”

Me Fabien Rajon, lawyer for the mother of little Maëlys, hopes on Friday February 18 on franceinfo that the sentence which will be pronounced against Nordahl Lelandais will protect “the society of an individual whose absolute dangerousness has been realized“.

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The Attorney General has requested life imprisonment with 22 years of security against Nordahl Lelandais who is tried by the Assize Court of Isère for the murder of Maëlys De Araujo, in August 2017.

franceinfo: Did Maëlys’ family feel that they had the answers to their questions during this trial?

Me Fabien Rajon: From Nordahl Lelandais no, certainly not. But we were rather rather skeptical about his ability to tell us what really happened the night of the abduction of Maelys from Araujo. On the other hand, we had investigations for four and a half years of very high level which allowed us despite everything to confuse Nordahl Lelandais and to ensure that he was tried before an assize court.

He had contradictory statements, but he still recognized addictions and even pedophile inclinations…

Indeed, over these four and a half years of proceedings, he has had very, very fluctuating statements. He said everything and its opposite. And above all, this was also recalled by the Advocate General, he spoke only when he was confronted with elements which could only lead him to recognize his responsibility. His last statements during the three weeks of assizes were truly disastrous. He had words for the completely disastrous Maïlys family and above all, he worried me about his ability to step back, to have an introspection on the crimes he committed. He told us that during his detention, he had changed, he had evolved, he had done work with these psychiatrists. We quickly realized that behind the surface of this very smooth and visibly learned speech, in reality, there was a personality that was still just as disturbing and dangerous.

The Advocate General claimed life imprisonment. He described Nordahl Lelandais as a “pest of innocents”, an “absolute danger”. How were these words perceived by the mother of Maelys ?

The Advocate General has, during these three weeks of assizes, shown a lot of moderation, a lot of weighting, a lot of hindsight. He was not someone who was vindictive, quite the contrary. He had a form of moral authority over this court of assizes which was quite impressive. But on the other hand, it is true that in the context of his indictment, he had words which were harsh and which were all the more powerful since he had been sober until then. And I think I can tell you that my clients were very satisfied with the firmness of the Advocate General, but also with his lucidity as to the personality of Nordahl Lelandais.

Is the end of this trial and the probable conviction of Nordahl Lelandais a relief for the family?

The reconstruction will be very difficult. I’m thinking of the post-assizes. I think of the time when there will be no more microphones, no more cameras, no more magistrates, no more lawyers and this file will be behind us. It will be a long, difficult journey. The family will have to be accompanied, helped. They will really need support. Regarding the requisitions of the Advocate General, they seem to me to be entirely consistent. And objectively, that’s the sentence we expect: life and 22 years of security. It will not simply be, I think, to allow the family to move on, it will also and above all be to protect society from an individual whose absolute dangerousness has been realized.

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