French police officers guilty in rape of Canadian tourist

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Two French police officers have each been sentenced to seven years in prison after they were found guilty of gang-raping a Canadian tourist at Paris police headquarters nearly five years ago. They have 10 days to appeal the verdict.

The two officers were accused of raping Emily Spanton at the prestigious station at 36 Quai des Orfevres after meeting her at a nearby Irish pub when they were off duty in April 2014.

The officers invited the 39-year-old Toronto woman for a night tour of the station after a night of flirting and heavy drinking, according to court documents. The victim claimed she was forced to drink whisky, perform oral sex, and was raped several times before she left the building an hour-and-a-half later.

Both former officers have denied any wrongdoing. They claim the woman consented to sexual interactions that night.

After the verdict was read, Spanton cried as she sat a few metres away from the officers.

One of the accused shook his head in disbelief and also cried, CTV News’ Daniele Hamamdjian reported from the Paris courthouse on Thursday.

Throughout the trial, lawyers for the accused raised questions about the woman’s lifestyle, her behavior with men, and pointed out inconsistencies in her story, Hamamdjian said.

The woman’s lawyers framed their argument as a trial about consent, saying their client arrived at police headquarters “happy and jovial” and left in a complete state of shock, Hamamdjian said. The woman reported the alleged crime to a female officer on duty.

There was intense media attention at Thursday’s trial because the accused were members of an elite police unit that was responsible for storming the Bataclan theatre on the night of the terror attacks in Paris in November 2015.

As a result, the victim’s rape claims were initially dismissed because the officers were viewed as heroes at the time, Hamamdjian said.