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Haouas a court no-show on Friday in his 'wilful violence' case

By Rugby365
(Photo by Stu Forster/Getty Images)

France and Montpellier prop forward Mohamed Haouas will be back in court in May charged with “wilful violence” in an incident on New Year’s Day 2014 after a court on Friday refused that he be represented by his lawyer.

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Haouas received an 18-month suspended sentence in February for his part in a series of robberies of a tobacconist in April 2014 and for receiving a stolen car. The 28-year-old was, along with five others, then summoned for wilful violence in a hearing before the criminal court of Montpellier relating to a fight in a bakery.

According to an AFP wire report, his lawyer Marc Gallix told the hearing that Haouas was “at training” Friday morning before flying to Wales later in the day as Montpellier take on Ospreys in the Champions Cup.

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Yann Le Targat, the lawyer for the civil parties including a man who accuses Haouas and his accomplices of having beaten him, demanded a referral of the trial to include the physical presence of the prop forward.

Prosecutor Alain Octuvon-Bazile also considered that preparation for the Champions Cup match did not justify Haouas’ absence. Judge Anne-Flore Lebondidier, while recognising that the facts were old, considered “a personal appearance necessary”.

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“You have to be judged to then be able to move on in life,” she said, setting the new hearing for May 12. “I’ve looked at the calendar, it will take place after the end of the Six Nations tournament” and will not prevent Mohamed Haouas from being present, she added.

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Haouas, who will move from Montpellier to Top 14 rivals Clermont on a three-year contract next season, has won 15 France caps. Although he did not play in the recent November internationals, he remains part of the France squad.

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