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French mayor faces up to four years jail in 'Storm Xynthia' case

French mayor faces up to four years jail in 'Storm Xynthia' case
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The French state prosecutor has called for the mayor of La Faute-sur-mer to serve four years in prison and pay a 30,000 euros fine.

René Marratier, who was in office from 1989 to 2014, is on trial for manslaughter after Storm Xythia struck the coastal town in the Vendée region in 2010 leaving 29 people dead.

The state prosecutor pointed to ‘excessive urbanisation’ with houses being built in high-risk flood zones.

One of Marratier’s lawyers Didier Seban claimed the proposed sentence was unprecedented and disproportionate. The previous maximum penalty against a mayor for manslaughter has been 10 months with a suspended sentence.

Deputy mayor Françoise Babin and her son Philippe, who is an estate agent, are also charged with manslaughter and face up to three years and two years jail time respectively.

The verdict is expected on December 12.

The French State was left with a 400 million euros bill to clear up the destruction wreaked by Storm Xynthia, including the purchase and destruction of 522 houses in La-Faute-sur-mer.