The People

Defendant / Accused

There are several terms in French to describe the person who has been brought before a court.
He or she is a prévenu – whether they are being held in a penitentiary establishment or not – when legal proceedings have been instituted against them or if the investigating judge has decided their indictment for a less serious offence or misdemeanour. The prévenu has not as yet been judged, or the sentence is not definitive.
On the other hand, the word accusé is used when the person is suspected of committing a crime, a more serious offence, and they are brought before a criminal court to be judged.

Image : The accused, Law Courts in Melun .

Sylvie Guillot. 2005. pencil and watercolour, 32x50 cm.

© Sylvie Guillot