Convicted again, rugby player Mohamed Haouas risks prison this time

Montpellier (AFP) – This time, Mohamed Haouas risks incarceration. Sentenced to one year in prison at the end of May for domestic violence, the former pillar of the XV of France rugby was sentenced on Friday to nine months in prison for “aggravated violence” committed almost 10 years ago in Montpellier.

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This new conviction of the player by the Montpellier Criminal Court makes it possible for him to go through the prison box, according to his lawyer, Me Marc Gallix, who has announced his intention to appeal.

The decision in itself “is not severe”, because “we can see that he is the most virulent of all, that he strikes very violent blows”, during this fight which occurred on January 1, 2014, admitted Me Gallix after the announcement of his client’s sentence to 18 months in prison, including nine months.

“But the sentences can only be adjusted up to one year in prison. If we add today’s firm nine months to the 12 months for domestic violence, if I do not appeal and the sentence becomes final, he is incarcerated”, continued the player’s lawyer, absent at the hearing on Friday.

In appealing, the lawyer explained that he hoped that Mohamed Haouas could first serve his 12-month prison sentence in an adapted form (electronic bracelet or parental parole), while the Court of Appeal rules, which could take two years. This would prevent the player, at the end of his contract with his club Montpellier (MHR), from being sent behind bars.

The pillar with 16 selections for the France team, tried in immediate appearance, was sentenced on May 30 for hitting his wife in front of the Montpellier shopping center where she works. The judge of freedoms and detention should announce in the fall the terms of execution of this sentence by the player.

“A Pack of Wolves”

The option of parental parole, probably accompanied by psychological monitoring and an awareness course on domestic violence, would be “preferable” to that of wearing an electronic bracelet, because it would allow Mohamed Haouas, 29, , “to practice his profession”, explained Marc Gallix.

On May 12, the now ex-player of the MHR had appeared with five childhood friends for “aggravated violence” and “destruction of the property of others committed in a meeting”. On New Year’s Eve 2014, leaving the discotheque, he stopped with a dozen friends in a bakery, where a brawl had pitted them against the boss of a nightclub who had stopped at the same place to buy pastries.

Surveillance camera footage showed an outburst of violence, Mohamed Haouas and his comrades beating the man with punches, feet and iron bars.

Rugby international Mohamed Haouas with his lawyer Marc Gallix before his trial for violence and destruction in Montpellier, May 12, 2023
Rugby international Mohamed Haouas with his lawyer Marc Gallix before his trial for violence and destruction in Montpellier, May 12, 2023 © Sylvain THOMAS / AFP/Archives

Comparing the six defendants to “a pack of wolves”, the prosecutor then underlined the role of “leader” of the former Montpellier pillar, who should normally evolve at the Clermont club from July 1 and this for three years.

Monday the industrial tribunal has indeed dismissed the ASM Clermont Auvergne of its request to suspend the employment contract of Mohamed Haouas. The Clermont club has 15 days to appeal.

According to Me Gallix, Mohamed Haouas will present himself well on Saturday morning when training resumes in Clermont, accompanied by a bailiff, to note a possible obstruction on the part of the Auvergne club.

“Unless a transaction for an amicable departure and against compensation is found by midnight with the ASM”, added the lawyer on Friday, according to whom other clubs have expressed their interest in the now ex -international.

On June 7, the coach of the France team Fabien Galthié indeed confirmed that Haouas would not be selected for the World Cup in France in the fall. The previous week, the French Rugby Federation (FFR) had already considered that the player’s actions were “incompatible” with other selections in the France team.

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