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French prosecutor demands maximum fine for friend of Chase MP Aidan Burley, who dressed as nazi for stag do

By Staffordshire Newsletter  |  Posted: December 24, 2013

By Peter Allen

1171782-J5_120214-Aidan Burley
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A FRENCH prosecutor has demanded the maximum fine possible for an Oxford graduate who wore a Nazi uniform at a stag night partly organised by Tory MP Aidan Burley.

Mark Fournier, 36, is accused of a dressing up as an SS officer at a restaurant in the upmarket ski resort of Val Thorens.

But his defence lawyer told the tribunal in nearby Albertville it should show him mercy because Prince Harry once got away with wearing an Afrika Korps uniform and swastika insignia at a party.

Mr Burley, the 34-year-old MP for Cannock Chase in Staffordshire, was with 12 friends, some of whom chanted ‘Hitler, Hitler, Hitler’.

One toasted the ‘Third Reich’ and one taunted a waiter for being French during the high-spirited evening in December 2011.

Mr Burley lost his job as parliamentary private secretary to Britain's transport minister after pictures of the stag night appeared in the media.

But it was the stag, Mr Fournier, who was prosecuted for wearing a uniform of an organisation found guilty of crimes against humanity – something which is illegal in France.

Mr Fournier initially faced more serious charges including the denial of war crimes and crimes against humanity, and of inciting racial hatred.

After prosecutors called for a fine equivalent to some 1200 pounds – the maximum possible for such an offence – Mr Fournier’s lawyer Michel Roubaud said Prince Harry had got away with wearing his Nazi uniform in 2005.

Mr Roubaud said: ‘English law does not consider the wearing of a Nazi uniform to be a crime in itself. We can see that from the behaviour of Prince Harry.

‘My client's behaviour was not ideologically motivated. It was organised by his best man, the MP, and took place in the context of a boozy stag party.

Olivier Fernex de Mongex, speaking on behalf of an organisation that represents Holocaust victims and survivors, said Mr Fournier's behaviour had been extremely offensive.

‘You cannot classify these acts as a schoolboy joke,’ said Mr De Mongex, whose organisation is seeking the equivalent of 880 pounds in damages plus interest from Fournier as part of a civil action brought alongside the criminal prosecution.

A verdict in the case is expected in January.

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