08 September 2011

Moments ago, the three judges at the Paris correctional court delivered their verdict and sentence at the trial of fashion designer John Galliano, who faces charges of 'public insults based on the origin, religious affiliation, race or ethnicity'.

The court found the designer guilty of making racist and anti-Semitic remarks. Judge Anne-Marie Sauteraud declared that Galliano had 'a sufficient knowledge of his actions despite his addiction and his fragile state.' The court also credited Galliano for apologising to the plaintiffs during the trial, as well as taking into account the designer's 'values of tolerance' in his work.

Galliano will not be jailed and will pay a suspended fine of 4000 euros (£3531) - which will only need to be paid if he does not comply with courts orders.  He was given a further suspended fine of 2000 euros (£1766) in a second complaint. He was also ordered to pay a symbolic 1 euro to each of the two plaintiffs in the incident which took place in February this year.

The designer, 50, was not present in the courtroom when the verdict was announced.

After the sentencing, Galliano's lawyer Aurelien Hamelle told press outside of the courtroom 'There will not be any fine to be paid and it is a fair and wise decision by the tribunal. Mr Galliano wants to apologise and he continues his treatment to be cured.'

The sentence is relatively mild; Galliano faced a possible jail term of up to six-months, as well as a fine of up to £20,000.

In February this year Galliano was said to have verbally attacked fellow customers Philippe Virgitti and Geraldine Bloch at Paris's La Perla cocktail bar, with a stream of racist and offensive insults in front of dozens of witnesses, which according to Bloch lasted for 45 minutes. Shortly after the incident was reported, a video was released showing the designer abusing at Italian woman, also at La Perla cocktail bar in an unrelated attack from October 2010, in which the designer was seen to say 'I love Hitler'.

The allegations lead to Galliano being dismissed from his position as Creative Director at Christian Dior in March.

Galliano claims he cannot remember the alleged events as a result of his addictions to alcohol, Valium and sleeping pills, which he claimed to have used to alleviate the stress of his work. After the trial was adjourned, Galliano attended rehabilitation treatment at the Meadows centre in Arizona, USA.

At the trial in June the designer apologised for the incidents, telling the court 'Anti-Semitism and racism have no part in our society. I unreservedly apologise for my behaviour in causing any offence. All I can hope for in time is to address the personal failure which led to these circumstances and try and earn people's forgiveness'.

Virgitti recently told Le Parisien newspaper about the designer  'I don't think he's racist or anti-Semitic. I just think he's very ill.'

Asked about Galliano's future plans, the designer's lawyer said only that his client is 'looking forward to the future' and 'will continue to care for himself.'


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