On Monday, March 2, the 2014 murder case of Monegasque billionaire Hélène Pastor, worth a reported $25 billion, was due to be heard at the Court of Appeal of Aix-en-Provence.
However, the jury president immediately suspended the hearing because the accused, Wojciech Janowski, son-in-law of the victim who was murdered along with her driver in Nice, was not present in court.
The former honorary consul of Poland in Monaco spectacularly pleaded guilty to having ordered the assassination of his 77-year-old mother-in-law, as advised by Eric Dupond-Moretti, who represented him at the time.
The Polish-born Monegasque businessman was sentenced to life in October 2018 by the Bouches-du-Rhône Assize Court and is currently serving at the Baumettes prison in Marseille.
The 70-year-old decided, with his new lawyer Jean-Jacques Campana, to appeal, and the trial was scheduled to take place from March 2 to 27.
Today’s absence in court was put down to Janowski’s health. He says he has cancer recurrence, which he was diagnosed with before his arrest 6 years ago, and suffered a stroke on February 9 that has left him hemiplegic, with the loss of use of both his right arm and leg, requiring him to use a wheelchair. However court-appointed experts deny the medical complications and the accused recently refused to appear for an expert opinion.
The president of the three-person jury mandated a bailiff to carry out an “arrest summons” in order to suspend the hearing and resume it later in the day in the presence of Janowski.
The hearing resumed at 5.30 p.m., without Janowski, and his lawyers have requested the case be postponed for another hearing.
Monaco resident Gildo Pastor, son of Hélène and CEO and owner of Venturi Automobiles, has announced via a press release that, like the first trial, he will be present during the appeal.
Until his arrest, Janowski lived with billionaire heiress Sylvia Pastor for 28 years but the couple never married.