The verdict of the Geneva Police Court fell in the most original case of the moment. Dominique Giroud, accused of wanting to hack the computers of two journalists working at the time at Time and RTS, is found guilty of instigating attempted data subtraction. The Valais winegrower receives a 6-month suspended prison sentence.
The other protagonists of this incredible operation know different destinies. Alex, the former agent of the Confederation’s intelligence service, who remained far behind towards the end of the preparations, is acquitted. Tony, the private detective who played a double game and delivered the winemaker’s confidential documents to the RTS journalist, is found guilty of complicity in the failed hacking and sentenced to 120 days suspended fines. Finally, Marco, the computer gifted, guilty of launching the attack itself, is given 120 days suspended fines. However, he was acquitted of the attempted coercion to the detriment of the former journalist Yves Steiner to whom he had sent an order to pay 8 million francs.
Prosecuted since 2014, provisionally imprisoned for two weeks at the start of the case, tried since April 19, Dominique Giroud pleaded his acquittal. Just like the three other defendants. Defended by Me Yannis Sakkas, the winegrower maintained that he had never given the green light to hacking aimed at discovering who informed the media about his legal and fiscal woes. He had been tempted by this idea, but had given up because of the price and other difficulties of the moment.
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For the first prosecutor Stéphane Grodecki, who supported the accusation, the winegrower had on the contrary actively engineered the operation. He had thus “chosen to play the cowboy”, to mock the laws and to undermine the freedom of the press out of pure personal interest. The prosecution wanted a 10-month sentence, 6 of which was firm (additional to the 600 day-fines already imposed in Valais for tax offenses).
More original, the prosecution opposed the civil claims of the only RTS, believing that its journalist could have denounced the hacking project and “did not have the right to tell anything to the police, even to protect his sources “. The court did not enter into the matter and granted the amounts claimed by the two media plaintiffs.
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Development will follow with the motivation of the court.