After 30 hours in police custody, Bruno Picard, the pastor of the religious movement Extravagance, was indicted for abuse of weakness after his presentation to the Tribunal de Grande Instance of Saint-Pierre. He is placed under judicial supervision with a ban on leaving the department.
Lois Mussard and Suzette Emma
Posted on July 8, 2021 at 6:34 p.m.,
updated July 8, 2021 at 7:21 p.m.
It was accompanied by three gendarmes in civilian clothes that Bruno Picard arrived at the Saint-Pierre court around 3:30 p.m. this Thursday, July 8, after around thirty hours in police custody. A discreet arrival for the leader of the religious movement Extravagance, involved in a case of abuse of weakness.
The pastor had been placed in police custody yesterday in the premises of the research section of the Saint-Denis gendarmerie, in La Redoute. Investigators questioned him about his activities in the assembly, which gathered up to 1,500 worshipers per week. The man is suspected of having exerted pressure to obtain more or less important donations from them.
The pastor of Extravagance was heard for about thirty hours in the premises of the research section of the gendarmerie at La Redoute, in Saint-Denis.
The complaint filed last February by Rudy Thazard gave rise to a preliminary investigation opened by the Saint-Pierre prosecutor’s office. The former faithful claims to have lost several tens of thousands of euros by the action of the pastor of the religious movement.
On May 21, the premises of the church were raided by gendarmes from the Saint-Denis Research Section, as was the home of Bruno Picard, suspected of enriching himself at the expense of his faithful.
Since then, other former followers have filed a complaint. They also denounce the actions of Bruno Picard and the significant financial losses of which they would have been the victims.
Charges denied by Bruno Picard’s lawyer, Maître Gabriel Odier.
Reaction of Maître Gabriel Odier, lawyer of Bruno Picard
Indicted for abuse of weakness
At the end of his presentation, Bruno Picard is now the subject of a judicial investigation. It is the same for the Evangelical Protestant Church Extravagance, of which the pastor is the legal representative. The leader of the religious movement was indicted for abuse of weakness, committed on 8 victims.
In this case, as the de facto or de jure manager of a group pursuing activities the aim or effect of which is to create, maintain or exploit the psychological or physical subjection of the persons participating in these activities, Bruno Picard incurs up to 5 years imprisonment if found guilty of the charges.
Bruno Picard was notified of a professional activity ban, preventing him from returning to preach at Extravagance. He is also prohibited from leaving the department.
Prohibition on preaching and leaving Reunion Island
He came out of the court free but under judicial supervision. In addition, the Public Prosecutor Caroline Calbo clarified that “a ban on leaving the department of Réunion, as well as a ban on professional activity (administering, directing the association and carrying out sermons)” were notified to Bruno Picard with “obligation to pay a security”.