The verdict came in the murder case of 35-year-old Vanessa Lagesse after 23 years. On Thursday June 27, 2024, Bernard Maigrot, aged 62, was found guilty by the Assize Court. The jurors returned a guilty verdict by a majority of seven votes to two.

It was at 9:42 p.m. that the nine jurors took their seats in the assize court after more than six hours of deliberation. They found Bernard Maigrot guilty by a majority of seven votes to two.
Immediately after the verdict, the businessman was surrounded by his lawyers and family members. He was handcuffed by the police and taken care of by the Special Supporting Unit (SSU), then taken to the Beau-Bassin central prison. He will appear again before the court on July 16, 2024 for the plea on the sentence that will be imposed on him.

As usual during each court appearance, Bernard Maigrot came dressed in a black suit, accompanied by a pale blue shirt and a black and blue tie. Throughout the day, he remained very calm and collected, showing no expression even after the verdict.

As for Anne Rogers, Vanessa Lagesse's sister, who has been present since the start of the trial, she did not wish to make any comment.

A packed courtroom

This trial indeed attracted the attention of many people on Thursday, June 27, 2024. There were lawyers, law students, police officers, Wendy Rangan (Master and Registrar of the Supreme Court), Vijay Appadoo (Deputy Master and Registrar), Senior Counsel Patrice de Spéville (former lawyer of Bernard Maigrot), friends and relatives of the sixty-year-old and the stylist too.

Martine Desmarais, close friend of Bernard Maigrot, and Adrien Maigrot, the defendant's son, were present in the room, as was Anne Rogers, the sister of Vanessa Lagesse, visibly affected.

After Judge Luchmyparsad Aujayeb's summary at 3:15 p.m., the wait began for the deliberations of the jurors, who had been sequestered since June 21, 2024. Meanwhile, many spectators had gathered in front of the courtroom door awaiting the verdict. Adrien Maigrot paced back and forth, showing signs of worry.

At 7:37 pm, Assistant Superintendent of Police (ASP) Bhavesh Lalljee, in-charge of the Police Prosecution Unit (PPU), police officers and other members of the SSU will be present.

The prosecution's lawyers

The prosecution in this case was carried out by Mes Darshana Gayan, Senior Assistant Director of Public Prosecutions, Audrey Sandra Sunglee, Principal State Counsel, Kevin Moorghen, Principal State Counsel, Mohammad Irfaan Mittoo, State Counsel, and Yanish Rao Jeerasoo, State Counsel.

A panel of lawyers to defend Bernard Maigrot

Bernard Maigrot had retained the services of Mes Gavin Glover, Senior Counsel, Nabil Moolna, Ezra Colimalay, Guillaume Gillot and Rayan Proag for his defence in this case.

Me Rashid Ahmine, DPP: “Justice has been done”

Me Rashid Ahmine, Director of Public Prosecutions, said he was satisfied with the verdict: “Not because a man has just been convicted, but because we believe that justice has been done”. He added: “I am even more satisfied that this trial, which began in 2001 following the crime committed, has finally come to an end, thus allowing the victim's family to begin the grieving process.” He wanted to thank the team of lawyers in his office for their hard work: “It is thanks to them that we are here today with the result we know.”

“Of course, it is very likely that the defense will appeal the jury's decision. However, as in all cases, we will defend before the Court of Appeal the jury's guilty verdict in this case,” stressed Me Rashid Ahmine.

Gavin Glover, lawyer for Bernard Maigrot: “I am surprised by the verdict”

After the verdict, Senior Counsel Gavin Glover said he was very surprised but respected the decision. “This battle has lasted 23 years and will continue until Bernard Maigrot's innocence is restored.”

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