Accused conservatoire chief commits suicide in jail

Accused conservatoire chief commits suicide in jail


norman lebrecht

September 18, 2018

Pierre-Marie Dizier, head of chorus at the Francis Poulenc conservatoire in Tours, was arrested in February on charges of sexual relations with minors, which he strongly denied.

He was remanded in custody awaiting trial.

This weekend he committed suicide in his cell. He was 60 years old.

Report here.


  • Robert Groen says:

    Poor guy! Seven months on remand and still no trial? I’ve not followed the case but that, to my mind, enters the realm of judicial killing.

    • Peter says:

      So you haven’t followed the case, yet are prepared to make judgments that he was a “poor guy” who was the victim of a “judicial killing”? Blimey.

      Just why Norman leaves the comments open on threads like these is a bit of a head-scratcher, really.

      • Robert Groen says:

        Blimey indeed, Peter. Your conclusion that my commiseration with a man who must have been in in a pretty desperate state facing, as he was, prosecution on serious charges of sexual abuse of minors (and, if guilty, having to deal with his punishment and the urges and demons that drove him to it) amounts to sitting in judgement is way off the mark. I am inclined to think of any person who is sufficiently distressed to take his own life as a ‘poor guy’. Apart from that, I do think that keeping a person on remand for seven months (or possibly even longer, had he lived) is cruel, especially since the facts of the case (see further on in this thread) seem already pretty well established).This man’s victims deserve our compassion but, in this case, so does the perpetrator. And yes, what all this has to do with music (the thing we’re all here for) I have no idea.

        • Saxon Broken says:

          Umm…I can’t comment on the French legal system, or on this particular case. But people are generally not held on remand frivolously, especially for as long as seven months. At least not in countries with well-functioning legal systems. To be held in jail awaiting trial there usually needs to be some serious evidence of wrong-doing (note: the evidence will not have been heard in court, so the defendant may be able to refute the evidence and show he is not guilty), and a believe the accused is “dangerous to the public” in some way.

  • anon says:

    “He was 60 years old.”

    His victims were 11 to 16.

    That is what the prosecution said: He is accused of, on a trip to Paris, drugging then abusing his choristers, he admitted to the essentials of the facts, but denied that there was any violence or constraint.

    This is what his own lawyer said in his client’s defense: He wanted the truth to be told however ugly the truth may be, he was consulting a psychiatrist to understand who he was.

    Sometimes, the truth is ugly.

    His death means no trial, thereby avoiding a verdict on himself, and denying his victims closure.

    • Maria says:

      You obviously know the case intimately – I dont’. But he’s now dead, been driven to his death, and can’t now speak for himself. Many will take advantage of the fact that he’s dead but there are never winners in any of this.

      • Colin says:

        Thank you, Maria, for your wise words.

        • anon says:

          Let us not confound suicide with silence, one does not exclude the other, he could’ve, and had in fact, spoken up for himself, to the investigating judge and to his attorney, and could’ve (and maybe he had) written out or recorded his entire defense prior to taking his own life.

    • simonelvladtepes says:

      Inmates charged with sex offenses against minors are often abused in American jails and prisons with the active encouragement of correction officers, who leak the contents of the charges to the other inmates. It’s a primitive group dynamic thing – they need to feel someone is a worse scum than they are, and correction officers are often primitive sadists. Hence sex offenders are often murdered or commit suicide in American prisons (and nobody ever cries foul). I don’t know what it’s like in France.

  • Tribonian says:

    The simple fact is that unless any of the commentators on here have information from another source, we simply don’t know anything about guilt and innocence. Suicide tells us nothing. An innocent man might be driven to it by depression after 6 months in prison and the prospect of losing his career, reputation and family even if acquitted on the basis that there will be many who think no smoke without fire. A guilty man might be driven to it by guilt and/or the prospect of imprisonment.

    Before anyone else makes comments like Anon at 8.25 am, you should perhaps ask yourself if your mental constitution is strong enough to withstand lengthy imprisonment before trial, as a 60 year old alleged sex offender.

  • Alex Davies says:

    If anyone knows the French legal system, I’d be interested to know:

    1. Why was somebody charged with these offences remanded in custody rather than released on bail? I think I’m correct in saying that in the UK the vast majority of defendants in child sexual abuse cases are on bail until trial. Unless there was a risk he intended to leave the jurisdiction or intimidate witnesses I’m not sure why he was in prison.

    2. I know that the British courts are slow, but a slot for a trial in the Crown Court I think typically comes up in about six months. He’d been on remand for seven months and the trial date was still some time in the future. Just how slow are the French courts?

    I don’t know what he did or didn’t do. Assuming he was guilty as accused my sympathies are with the victims. But it also sounds like the French justice system has let everyone down. Whatever people may or may not have done, they don’t deserve to be put through a justice system that leads to someone taking his own life.

    • clarrieu says:

      “Just how slow are the French courts?” Even slower than you can figure, I’ve heard such cases of, not seven months, but more than two years !

  • Celeste says:

    It is called the “Code Napoleon” – which presumes guilt until the accused proves his innocence.

    • Saxon Broken says:

      Er…no. Every country in the EU (and many outside) has “innocent until proven guilty”.

      And someone can also be placed on remand if the evidence is sufficiently plausible (even if not proven), and there is a serious risk of further offenses being committed.