On Wednesday, 23 December 1981, four men were sent to prison for the murder, on 24 December 1976, of the Prince de Broglie. The trial, in the Paris assize court, ended with Gérard Frèche, the gunman, being given a ten-year term; Guy Simoné, a former policeman who was heavily involved in the conspiracy to kill, and Pierre de Varga, a self-proclaimed aristocrat of Hungarian origins who was allegedly the instigator of the whole affair, were also given ten years; Serge Tessèdre, who was accused of recruiting the gunman, received five years, and as he had already spent that time in prison, was almost immediately released. The trial had lasted more than six weeks; the jury of nine laymen and three magistrates had deliberated for five hours; the inquiry into the crime, which had of necessity been going on for several years, had resulted in some five thousand documents being assembled in the dossier. But no one was satisfied either with the trial or with the verdicts. All the commentators were agreed: although the court had summoned before it a former prime minister and all the leading ministers and officers of the police who had been involved in the case, the mountain had given birth to a mouse. The assassination remains a mystery.
LRB 4 February 1982 | PDF Download