“I will apologize to the victims, Mr. President,” said the accused at the opening of the hearing, in a voice showing little emotion, before the court retired to deliberate.
The prosecution requested Thursday the maximum sentence, 20 years of criminal imprisonment, accompanied by two thirds of security, against this 61-year-old man, tried for 17 rapes, 12 attempted rapes and 27 assaults or attempted assaults sexual.
He asked for his conviction for all the facts, committed between 1988 and 2018, near the home of Dino Scala, around the Sambre, a river crossing the Franco-Belgian border.
Behind the image of the well-integrated worker, married, father of a family, coach of a football club, one of the two general attorneys, Antoine Berthelot pointed to the “extreme dangerousness” of the accused, discerning in his journey “the unthinkable banality of evil”.
The three weeks of trial have not completely lifted the mystery around his personality, characterized according to a psychiatric expert by the “abyss that separates the social face and the hidden face”.
– Abstract shadows –
Expressing himself well and very eloquent to evoke his own frustrations, Dino Scala, who recognizes 40 of the 56 facts which are reproached to him, only provided snippets of explanations on his passages to the act.
The same modus operandi is found in most of them: assaults almost always at dawn, in winter, generally on the public highway, victims attacked from behind, strangled with the forearm or a cord, dragged away, often threatened with a knife.
Expert psychiatrists and psychologists have seen in these assaults a rage to dominate, a pleasure taken from the terror of the victims, on the part of a man who is not very focused on sex but steeped in frustration, who expresses the recurring complaint of not having been recognized at its fair value in his married, professional and sporting life.
The victims had for him neither age nor face, conclude the experts: they were abstract shadows.
Asked about the risk that he would start again if he got out of prison, the sixty-year-old, who says he is ready for chemical castration, assured that it was “impossible”: “I caused too much misfortune around me. When I attacked these people, I did not realize the gravity of the facts.”
– “Anger” –
Of the 56 victims, aged 13 to 48 at the time of the events, nearly half did not attend the trial. If three of them died, many preferred not to confront their attacker.
Those who succeeded each other at the helm appeared deeply marked. “It’s been 22 years since I relive this rape, it’s torture,” testified one of them.
Some had also been mistreated when they filed a complaint, or even called liars.
For Fanny Bruyerre, lawyer for nine victims, “the law is not up to par: 20 years is so little” for 56 “lives destroyed”. “The maximum penalty incurred is shorter than the duration of his actions,” she noted.
Long fruitless, the investigation ended up being successful after an assault in 2018 in Belgium, where a CCTV camera captured the image of Dino Scala’s car.
His lawyer Margaux Mathieu castigated Thursday a “botched investigation” and reconciliations made with “a coarse mesh sieve”, between real facts and files “which are empty”.
Dino Scala, he projects himself, according to the psychiatrist expert, in a life after prison, where he works with a psychiatrist on the “anger” which inhabits him.
Among other things, he received visits from the three children of his second marriage, to whom he remained very close.