12 Jul 2013

Tahiti prosecutor acquitted in defamation case

3:03 pm on 12 July 2013

The French court of appeal has acquitted the public prosecutor in French Polynesia, Jose Thorel, who in February had been convicted and fined for defaming a Corsican man, Alain Orsoni, by liking him to a mafia member.

The criminal court in Paris had fined him 5,000 US dollars.

Mr Thorel, who worked in Corsica before his transfer to Tahiti, commented on high profile individuals charged in separate crime probes.

Asked by a journalist about governance issues in French Polynesia in the days of Gaston Flosse, Mr Thorel said while Mr Flosse was not very intelligent, he was malicious but not like the Corsicans.

Mr Thorel's lawyer had argued in the criminal court that there was no defamation because the Corsican individuals were only referred to by their surnames.

Mr Orsoni can appeal Mr Thorel's acquittal in France's highest court.