This is a first for a politician in Rodrigues. On Thursday, the Port-Mathurin District Court handed down a guilty verdict against PPS Francisco François. The latter, who is also the leader of the OPR, was charged on 6 July 2019 with assaulting and raising his voice against a police officer in the performance of his duties. The 50-year-old politician had pleaded not guilty to the charge of “molesting a public officer” brought against him. The offense was committed in Malabar.
The policeman was regulating traffic that day. When he saw the PPS car, he signalled for it to stop, but Francisco François, who was himself at the wheel of the vehicle, started to honk his horn. Furious that the policeman had asked him to stop, he got out of the car and walked towards the policeman. He began to address the officer in an aggressive tone, threatening him.
While the police officer acknowledged that the Rodrigues MP had indeed apologised a few days after the incident, magistrate Nader Ali Caunhye, sitting in the island’s court, said in his ruling on Thursday that he could not see in the accused’s statement where he was questioning the facts of which he was accused.
As a result, he said he had no doubts about the police officer’s version. Sentencing will be announced on Thursday 7 September.