Jail term sought for Flosse over Tahiti spying

1:06 pm on 26 March 2015

The prosecution in French Polynesia's espionage trial has requested a one-year jail sentence for the disgraced former president, Gaston Flosse, for invading the privacy of rival politicians, journalists and others.

French Polynesia's court building

French Polynesia's court building Photo: RNZI

The criminal court in Papeete heard that the intelligence service, with a staff of 19, was operational between 1997 and 2004 and reported to Flosse.

The prosecution says the French constitution guarantees certain liberties to individuals and media people, which were breached.

However, the defence says political intelligence is not forbidden and Flosse should be acquitted.

While the prosecution wants Flosse jailed, it also wants him to be declared ineligible for public office for five years, which would prevent him from standing in the next election.

Seven others have been on trial, including the espionage service's two French heads, for whom the prosecution has requested suspended jail sentences.

A ruling is expected on 23 June.

An additional complaint was lodged by the publisher of Tahiti Pacifique, Alex du Prel, who alleges that by running the unit, Flosse misused ten million US dollars of public funds.

Alex du Prel, publisher of Tahiti Pacifique monthly magazine

Alex du Prel, publisher of Tahiti Pacifique monthly magazine Photo: RNZI

Flosse's lawyer has raised question surrounding the constitutionality of the process and the continuation of the trial has been deferred.

Three years ago, Flosse was convicted for obstructing the examination of the case and he was fined US$16,000 for destroying all the agency's documents.

Last year, Flosse was given a four-year suspended jail term, a US$170,000 fine and was banned from public office for three years.