French prosecutors on Friday called for a 15-year prison sentence for one of two Russian men accused of beating an English supporter during Euro 2016, an attack that left the victim with brain injuries.
One prosecutor, Christophe Raffin, asked for the “legal maximum… between 14 and 15 years” for Pavel Kossov, who is accused of throwing the first punch at 55-year-old Andrew Bache.
Bache was injured in the violence that broke out before England played Russia in the southern French port city of Marseille on June 11, 2016.
The second Russian on trial in Aix-en-Provence, Mikhail Ivkine, is accused of throwing a chair at the victim, with prosecutors asking for a potential suspended sentence of up to five years.
Ivkine has claimed he was defending himself.
“No, it wasn’t legitimate self-defence, it was an illegitimate use of force against Andrew Bache,” Raffin said.
The court saw video images, including broadcasts from Russia Today and footage filmed by Ivkine.
Ivkine, the second Spartak Moscow supporter in the dock, did not hit Bache.
The images show him throwing a chair, which barely grazes the victim.
Questions remain over the involvement of a third attacker, a young man in khaki Bermuda shorts and a light T-shirt, who is seen delivering a savage punch while the victim is lying lifeless on the ground.
That attacker’s face was hidden by a surgical mask and he has never been identified.
Bache, from Portsmouth in southern England, has no memory of the events and is too frail to attend the trial.
His son Harry, who nurses his father, is in court.
Bache’s lawyer Olivier Rosato said the pair were “hooligan 2.0, happy to broadcast their exploits on social media.”
But Kossov’s legal representative Alain Duflot denied his client was a hooligan.
A medical expert in the case, Michel Blanc, who examined the victim in June 2018, two years after the events, said on Thursday Bache had suffered “irreversible disorders”.
Blanc said that the punch delivered by Kossov to the back of Bache’s head “cannot cause a fracture of the skull” like the one shown “with a major cerebral haemorrhage”.
“It may have caused a brain disconnect in the victim, like a knockout in boxing, a short circuit,” said Blanc, which would explain why Bache fell forward, like a rag doll, without even protecting his face.
The prosecution says the Russians were part of a group of about 150 men, many with martial arts training, who wrought havoc in Marseille.
Kossov and Ivkine were arrested as they travelled through Germany following a Spartak Moscow fixture in Bilbao in February 2018, 20 months after Bache suffered his life-changing injuries.
They have already spent two years and three months in prison in France.
The verdict is now expected on Monday after proceedings were suspended for Friday.