Paris police officers found guilty of raping Canadian woman

Two French police officers from an anti-gang unit were found guilty on Thursday in Paris of raping a Canadian tourist.

The officers were sentenced to 7 years in prison

Emily Spanton, who agreed to go public in the rape case, is shown arriving at court in Paris earlier this month. (Francois Mori/Associated Press)

Two French police officers from an anti-gang unit were found guilty on Thursday in Paris of raping a Canadian tourist.

The officers, Nicolas Redouane and Antoine Quirin, were each sentenced to seven years in prison and also ordered to pay fines equivalent to $30,000, according to French news channel LCI.

Emily Spanton, a counsellor from St. Catharines, Ont., was visiting Paris in April 2014 when she met the officers at an Irish pub. They had some drinks, and the officers offered to give her a tour of 36 Quai des Orfèvres, the city's famed police headquarters, which features in many works of French literature and cinema, and she left the bar with them. 

"I was drunk," Spanton testified at trial, according to an Agence France-Presse report. "I knew I was in no state to find my hotel. I told myself that at least in a police station, I would be safe, I couldn't drink any more and would sober up."

Spanton — who agreed to be identified publicly — told the court that at first, everything was going fine.

"I looked at some photos. The officers served me a Scotch. I didn't really want it, but I agreed to have a sip to be polite."

She testified that the officers forced her to finish her drink and that she found herself on her knees. She said she was forced to have oral sex and raped several times.

Experts later concluded that she had between 2.6 and 3.3 grams of alcohol per litre of blood in her body at the time of her rape, the Associated Press reported.

When she left the police building about 90 minutes later, barefoot and without her tights, Spanton approached another officer and reported that she had been raped, her lawyer has said.

Appeal court overturned decision to dismiss charges

Spanton initially said four officers took part in the rape but later revised her testimony and testified that three officers were involved. Only two were ultimately charged.

Antoine Quirin, one of two French police officers convicted of raping Spanton arrives for a hearing at the Criminal Court in Paris on Jan. 14, 2019. (Eric Feferberg/AFP/Getty Images)

According to court documents, DNA from the men were found on underwear submitted as evidence. As well, a medical exam performed after she filed a lawsuit showed she had bruises on several parts of her body and a gynecological lesion.

One of the officers admitted he received oral sex but claimed it was consensual. The other initially denied any sexual relationship, then admitted to some mutual touching.

Nicolas Redouane, arriving for a hearing at the Criminal Court in Paris on Jan. 14, 2019, was sentenced to seven years in prison along with Quirin. Both will also have to pay the equivalent of $30,000. (Eric Feferberg/AFP/Getty Images)

In a July 2016 interview with the Toronto Star, Spanton said she was very intoxicated and "in no state to give consent."

The case went to trial after a French Appeal Court overturned a decision by a lower court to dismiss the charges against the officers, who work in the department's Brigades de recherche et d'intervention anti-gang unit.

According to a report from LCI, Spanton left the courthouse without making a statement, while the officers were handcuffed in court to be prepared for processing. They had been free pending trial.

With files from The Associated Press, Agence France-Presse, The Canadian Press