A coach accused of domestic violence against Olympic judo champion Margaux Pinot has been acquitted of his alleged actions in a controversial ruling.
Pinot, who was awarded a gold medal at this year’s Tokyo Olympics, filed a police complaint against her partner and trainer Alain Schmitt following an alleged altercation at her flat outside Paris on Sunday, November 28.
The judo star claimed Schmitt wrestled her to the ground, punched her, repeatedly smashed her head on the ground and tried to strangle her, as well as verbally abusing her, before she managed to escape with the help of neighbours.
Schmitt was arrested after Pinot called the police and the case was fast-tracked to a court hearing on Tuesday, November 30, at which time Schmitt denied the allegations and claimed it was a fight between lovers started by Pinot.
The state prosecutor described the alleged attack as ‘very serious violence’ and requested a one-year suspended sentence for Schmitt, however the judge ruled there was not ‘enough proof of guilt’ for the prosecution to proceed.
Per The Guardian, the judge commented: ‘A court is never there to tell who is telling the truth and who is lying.’
Following the incident, Pinot shared an image of her injured face on social media and questioned ‘what was missing?’ in terms of proof, adding: ‘My death at the end, perhaps? It’s probably judo that saved me and my thoughts go out to other women who cannot say the same.’
Schmitt, who also had bruising around his eye, said Pinot was lying about the claims, that she had punched him and pushed him into a door.
He commented: ‘In my life, I’ve never punched anyone … It’s not possible for me to have punched someone and they ran away and I caught up with them – it’s not possible. And all of that after I supposedly pushed her head into the ground? It’s a joke … She’s lying of course.’
A number of people, including sports minister Roxana Mărăcinean and French judo stars Teddy Riner and Clarisse Agbégnénou have spoken out in support of Pinot in the wake of the judge’s ruling, and the state prosecutor has now launched an appeal.
If you are experiencing domestic violence, please know that you are not alone. You can talk in confidence 24 hours a day to the national domestic violence helpline Refuge on 0808 2000 247