On Monday December 5th former French president Nicolas Sarkozy began an appeal hearing following his conviction for corruption in the so-called 'Paul Bismuth' or phone-tapping case. At the original trial the ex-head of state was given a jail sentence but has not served a single night in prison. Mediapart's legal affairs correspondent Michel Deléan explains why it is that French politicians who are convicted in corruption cases so very rarely serve jail time despite the heavy prison sentences that such offences can attract.
The high-profile trial of Nicolas Sarkozy, in which he is accused of trying to use his influence to find out confidential judicial information, is finally under way in Paris. But the case, the first in which a former French president has faced corruption charges, has been beset by a string of disruptions and by sometimes confusing legal disputes. The result so far, says Mediapart's legal affairs correspondent Michel Deléan, is a trial that has not yet done justice to the issues that are at stake.