Two year ordeal: Dominican Republic court again scrubs French pilots’ trial
Santo Domingo.- A Santo Domingo court on Tuesday dealt another blow to the hopes of four French nationals to get a speedy trial, on charges of trafficking 700 kilos of cocaine in March 2013, aboard a Falcon 50 executive jet and which Le Monde has dubbed ‘Cocaine Air.’
The trial’s first hearing which began in a crowded courtroom shortly after 1am Monday lasted less than an hour and quickly turned into a shouting match pitting presiding judge Giselle Mendez and Assistant DA Milciades Guzman.
The prosecutor claimed "partiality of the panel court’s judges in favor of the defendants," to request that they step aside.
Mendez adjourned the hearing and announced that the case would be returned to the Appellate Court of to rule on the prosecution’s request for recusal.
According to Le Monde regional correspondent Jean-Michel Caroit, the court didn’t set a date for a new hearing at the Appellate Court.
"It is simply outrageous; it’ a recourse that the prosecutor has used several times when in a weak position," shouted Pascal Fauret, one of the pilots as he left the courtroom. "We’ll continue to stay here for weeks or months until it actually starts and we’ve already wasted two years of our lives, and not think that this scenario could not be repeated. It’s hopeless."
The also pilot Bruno Odos, cabin crewman Alain Castany and passenger Nicolás Pisapia are also charged in the case.