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Shamed designer John Galliano is spared jail

John Galliano's drunken, anti-Semitic ravings cost him his job at Christian Dior and gave him a criminal record, but a Paris court ruled yesterday that he didn't deserve to go to jail.

The court found Galliano (50) guilty on two counts of "public insults based on origin, religious affiliation, race or ethnicity" - that carry a maximum sentence of six months in prison and fines of up to €20,000.

But the three-magistrate panel showed leniency, sentencing the legendary designer to a €6,000 (£5,240) suspended fine, which means it goes on Galliano's criminal record but he does not have to pay it. The court did not give Galliano prison time.

Presiding judge Anne-Marie Sauteraud said the magistrates' clemency was in part due to the fact the designer apologised to the court and the plaintiffs - who contended the designer showered them with a litany of racist and anti-Semitic insults in two separate run-ins at a Paris bar.

In testimony before the court in June, Galliano said he didn't recall anything about the spats and explained he had been under the influence of a "triple addiction" to alcohol, barbiturates and sleeping pills.

Still, he added he was sorry for "the sadness that this whole affair has caused".

"It is a wise ruling," Galliano's lawyer Aurelien Hamelle told journalists outside the courtroom. "Mr Galliano is clearly relieved ... and asked me to apologise for him once again."

Galliano "is looking forward to a future of forgiveness and understanding, hopefully, and to put all of this behind him".

Yves Beddouk, an attorney representing one of the plaintiffs, said his client, Geraldine Bloch, was "perfectly satisfied".

Ms Bloch said the designer had used the word "Jewish" at least 30 times, including accusing her of having a "dirty Jewish face". Her friend, Philippe Virgitti, said that Galliano had called him a "f****** Asian b******". Ms Bloch is not Jewish and Mr Virgitti is not Asian.

Although Galliano will not have to fork out any money in fines, he was ordered to pay €16,500 in court fees for Ms Bloch and two other plaintiffs, as well as five anti-racism associations.

The court also ordered him to pay a symbolic €1 in damages to each.

Galliano did not attend yesterday's ruling.

The saga of Galliano's undoing has riveted the fashion industry since allegations surfaced that he accosted a couple at Paris's hip La Perle cafe on February 24.

The story made headlines worldwide, and soon another woman came forward with similar claims about a separate incident in the same cafe.

Days later The Sun posted a video showing an inebriated Galliano insulting a fellow cafe client, slurring "I love Hitler".

What now?

Christian Dior has still not replaced Galliano and received miserable reviews for its haute couture collection in July. Since the 'John Galliano' label also belongs to Dior, it remains unclear what future the Gibraltar-born designer may have in the fashion industry.

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