Bernard Maigrot pleaded not guilty in the Assize Court this Monday morning, May 20. It was at the opening of the trial for the assassination of stylist Vanessa Lagesse in 2001.

Chaired by Judge Lutchmee Parsad Aujayeb, the session began this morning with the selection of a panel of 9 jurors.

The businessman's lawyer asked the judge to issue a warning to the press regarding the manner of reporting the hearings. Me Gavin Glover also filed a motion for the prosecution not to mention the new evidence.

This trial, which includes the hearing of around fifty witnesses, will be heard from today until June 28, 2024.

It has been 23 years since the lifeless body of the stylist was found in her bungalow in Grand-Baie.
It is one of the most significant “Cold Cases” in recent history.

Vanessa Lagesse is discovered lifeless in her bathtub. It was March 9, 2001. Around twenty injuries were noted on his body. The thirty-year-old had a dislocated spine.

Her former lover, Bernard Maigrot, was identified fairly quickly by investigators as the main suspect.

Following his interrogation, he was arrested a month later on April 23, 2001 and provisional release was granted to him in July.

Two years later, the preliminary investigation was instituted. Following which, the former magistrate, Azam Neerooa, will refer Bernard Maigrot to court in 2007.

However, the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) at the time, Mᵉ Gérard Angoh, dismissed the case in favor of Bernard Maigrot.

In 2008, a new investigation began with input from the French authorities. Evidence, including DNA samples, is sent to France for analysis.

Bernard Maigrot will face a new trial.

The businessman claims to have not been informed of new evidence against him.

However, he was arrested again in 2011 and a new charge was filed in 2012.

But several events will delay the matter.
It was taken up again in September 2019 by another judge but a year later came the Covid-19 pandemic. When it resumes, the file is transferred to judge Lutchmeeparsad Aujayeb, the one who is currently presiding over the trial in the Assize Court. The latter, in an interlocutory judgment pronounced in October 2023, rejected the accused's request for a halt to the trial brought against him.

23 years later after the murder of the stylist, Bernard Maigrot still proclaims his innocence.

Namely that several people summoned as witnesses have died, including the head of the Major Crime Investigation Team, Inspector Prem Raddhoa.

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