Two dismissals have not stopped a legal case from being reopened. A final dismissal was made by the Tous Migrants Association and the sister of a Nigerian exile whose death occurred in 2018 at the Franco–Italian border in a gendarmerie inspection.
After crossing the Italian border, Blessing Matthew (21 at the time) was drowned in the Durance in the French Hautes-Alpes on May 9, 2018.
What was the outcome of the police check just two days before? What was the role of law enforcement? Justice has twice dismissed this case. The Grenoble Court of Appeal ruled in February 2021 that the evidence was not sufficient to support charges of manslaughter and endangering the lives of others.
Christiana Obie Darko (sister to Blessing Matthew) filed Friday, May 27, a "request to reopen judicial information" after collecting "a testimony likely... completely reshuffle a card", according Me Vincent Brengarth, their lawyer.
This is the testimony "Herve" (his name is not made public), who was one of the exiles pursued by the Gendarmes and who has never testified to it until now, having been expelled from Italy.
He saw that Blessing Matthew was hiding, and he was clearly in contact with one constable. [...] He stated that he saw the [gendarme] grab Blessing Matthew by the arm. She was struggling, they were tugging each other'," says Mr. Brengarth. This testimony sheds light upon "the many inconsistencies in the accounts" of security forces. order. He said, "We believe that the investigations weren't really finished."
Mediapart had Herve question her in April. Herve told the exact same story that was being transmitted today to justice. "As she screamed her voice stopped... The constable then went to inform his colleagues that she had been swept into the river, but could have crossed. They didn't call for help. The gendarmes tried to find Blessing on the opposite side, but they were unsuccessful. Herve was taken into custody in the early hours of the morning. However, he refused to give evidence to the gendarmes. Today, he recalls feeling "resentment" towards the gendarmes that chased him.
Florent Crouhy, Gap public prosecutor, stated to AFP that the request to reopen an investigation will be considered "when the original elements of the prosecution are sent to them, which they indicated they had done" Friday.
In the absence of direct testimony, the Gap prosecutor's office claimed that the exact circumstances under which Blessed Matthew allegedly fell in Durance were not known.
Christiana Obie Darko stated Monday that all she wanted was justice for her sister so she could rest in peace.