A world champion in court for rape: 4 questions to understand the Mendy trial

Accused of rape, Benjamin Mendy (Manchester City) will respond to the charges against him in the context of his trial which opens this Wednesday in Chester (England).

What is he accused of?

The news acted like an electric shock at the time. It was nearly a year ago. Charged with rape and sexual assault, Benjamin Mendy was imprisoned and placed in pre-trial detention on August 27, 2021. Two days later, Manchester City, his club, where he had been playing since 2017, suspended him, a few minutes before the announcement of his dismissal in court, as part of an investigation started in November 2020. Benjamin Mendy was then accused of three rapes in October 2020 and a fourth in August 2021, but also of an alleged sexual assault on another woman. They were three at the origin of these complaints, including a minor.

The case has since taken on another dimension. Ten charges now weigh on the shoulders of the French international. Mendy is charged with eight rapes, one attempted rape and sexual assault by seven women. The facts allegedly took place between October 2018 and August 2021 at his home in Prestbury, Cheshire. Benjamin Mendy totally rejects these allegations. He pleaded not guilty to the first nine counts in May, days before facing an eighth rape charge.

Benjamin Mendy is on trial alongside another man, Louis Saha Matturie, prosecuted for eight rapes and four sexual assaults on eight women between July 2012 and August 2021. The latter also pleaded not guilty.

What has become of Benjamin Mendy since his detention?

Placed in provisional detention at Altcourse prison, in the north of Liverpool, as part of the legal proceedings initiated against him, Benjamin Mendy has been called several times to appear before a court in Chester. Imprisoned for having violated the obligations of his parole, Benjamin Mendy was repeatedly refused a request for release on bail by the British justice.

Behind bars, Mendy has found something to occupy his long days while awaiting his trial. The daily L’Equipe revealed that inmates of the Altcourse prison were required to work 40 hours a week for a salary of 8 euros. Far, very far from the astronomical emoluments received by Benjamin Mendy at Manchester City, when his weekly salary was estimated at more than 100,000 euros.

Transferred to Strangeways, a high-security prison in Manchester, in January 2022, Mendy was granted conditional release in stride, after 134 days spent in pre-trial detention. Subject to strict judicial control which requires him to live and sleep at his home in Prestbury, under electronic surveillance with curfew, Benjamin Mendy was told that he was prohibited from contacting “the complainants or witnesses involved in the investigation” . The player, on the other hand, participated in hearings to prepare for his trial.

How will the trial unfold?

The trial which opens this Wednesday, August 10 in Chester has been postponed more than once. Initially scheduled for the end of July and planned to last a little over five weeks, it should finally extend over several months and end around November. During the first days of the hearing, the selection of the jury will be carried out. Then follow the interview and the legal argument. The prosecution will open the file and study the facts from Monday, August 15. Benjamin Mendy will however be present at the hearing from August 10.

What is Benjamin Mendy risking?

Life imprisonment as the maximum sentence, according to English procedure. In practice, the penalties vary from five to twenty years in prison in this type of case. In the case of Benjamin Mendy, the multiplicity of victims and charges constitutes an aggravating circumstance. 

“I would say that if he were found guilty of everything after a trial, it is likely to be considered a double-digit prison sentence, but that is very speculative,”

English lawyer Richard Furlong told RMC Sport.

In other words, Benjamin Mendy risks spending the next ten years of his life behind bars. English justice applies an accumulation of sentences and severely punishes rape and sexual assault. “The total sentence must be proportionate”, explains Richard Furlong. In other words, if he is convicted of 8 offenses of rape, each of which would warrant a 10-year sentence, he will not get a total sentence of 80 years.

“The fact that someone has committed 8 offenses will be used to increase the total sentence by 10 years within the range of the offence, and possibly outside the range. So for 8 offenses the sentence can be increased to 13 or 14 years old”,

Comments Richard Furlong. If Benjamin Mendy is convicted, the sentence he faces will not be limited to prison.

For those convicted of rape and sentenced, there is generally “an obligation to notify the police of their place of residence, all their trips, for vacations for example”, reveals Me Richard Furlong to our colleagues from France Info. A device that falls within the framework of the “Sex offenders register”, a file that lists those convicted of sexual affairs, which can apply for life…

Suspended by his club, Benjamin Mendy is still under contract with Manchester City until 2023. A conviction could lead to a breach of contract.

Source: RMC Sport

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