After four months of police investigation into eight complaints against Patrick Poivre d'Arvor, the former star presenter of the main evening news on private TV channel TFI, a Paris court has announced that all charges against him are being dropped, either because there is insufficient proof, or because the alleged crimes fall outside the statute of limitations.
Investigators interviewed no fewer than 23 women in the wake of allegations by the writer Florence Porcel that Patrick Poivre d'Arvor, known as PPDA, had forced her to have sex with him in 2004, and again in 2009.
On Friday, the Paris court announced that "the events could not be categorised as rape, since there was no way of confirming the claims and counterclaims of the two parties".
Following Porcel's original complaint, 22 other women gave evidence against the news presenter, seven of them bringing formal charges alleging rape, sexual violence or harassment.
The most serious charges were, however, alleged to have taken place outside the time limit allowed under French law for such crimes.
Lack of proof
Those that were inside the legal time limit were found to be without sufficient evidence. The judge spoke of the absence of repetition, of undue pressure, the lack of proof that the alleged attacks were of a sexual nature, and the complete absence of any trace of telephone evidence.
PPDA had either denied having any sexual contact with his accusers or, in the cases where he accepted that sexual relations had, indeed, existed, he denied exerting any pressure.
The women who have complained to the police about PPDA's behaviour say they remain hopeful that someone will come forward with a charge that is not covered by the statute of limitations.
"This case is not over yet," said Hélène Devynck, who claims that she was raped by Poivre d'Arvor when she was his 25-year-old assistant at TF1.
The same court on Friday rejected PPDA's claim that he had been the victim of slander because Florence Porcel wrote a novel based on her version of the facts. The judge said there was no evidence that the book had been intended to cause harm to the journalist's reputation.