Designer Galliano Awaits Racism Trial Verdict

Katie Stallard, in Paris

The verdict in the trial of fashion designer John Galliano for alleged racist and anti-Semitic behaviour is expected to be handed down by a Paris court later.

Galliano faces charges of "casting public insults based on origin, religious affiliation, race or ethnicity" after two incidents in a Paris cocktail bar.

In the first, in October last year, the famous designer is said to have verbally abused 47-year-old English language teacher Fatiha Oummedour.

He allegedly subjected her to a series of expletive-laced racist and anti-Jewish remarks in the trendy Cafe La Perle cocktail bar near his home.

In the same bar, in February this year, he is accused of unleashing a similar tirade against museum curator Geraldine Bloch, 35, and companion, 41-year-old Philippe Virgitti.

Galliano is said to have repeatedly called Ms Bloch "dirty whore" and also "dirty Jewish face", as she sipped cocktails on the bar's outside terrace.

Ms Bloch said the incident lasted for 45 minutes.

Four days later, as Galliano reported to police for questioning, an internet video emerged of a third alleged incident.

Once again, in the Cafe La Perle bar near Galliano's home, he was filmed on a mobile phone apparently slurring the words: "I love Hitler."

The film also showed him telling two Italian women their mothers and forefathers should have been gassed.

Neither of the women pressed charges and Galliano is not on trial for these remarks.

But the video was showed to jurors by the prosecution as evidence of the designer's drunken behaviour.

Galliano denies he is anti-Semitic or racist, but claims to have no recollection of the events because of his "triple addiction" to alcohol, Valium and sleeping pills.

He said the addictions were brought about by the creative stresses of his job.

He told the court in June: "I would crash after every creative high, and the alcohol would help me to escape.

"My body was becoming used to the pills, so my intake increased to an amount that I actually can't remember how many I was taking."

Things got so bad that he "couldn't go to work unless I had taken some Valium", he said.

The designer has apologised for the "sadness" his behaviour has caused and says he has sought treatment for his addictions.

Widely-credited with revitalising the Dior brand as its creative director since 1996, the fashion house sacked Galliano in March citing its zero-tolerance policy on racism.

He has also since been fired from his own eponymous label John Galliano, which is majority-owned by Dior.

If found guilty, Galliano could face a prison sentence of up to six months and a fine of around £19,800, although the prosecution have not sought a custodial sentence.

The Paris court is expected to deliver its verdict this afternoon.

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