French investigator in plane crash: A penchant for blunt language

Prosecutor: Co-pilot brought down Germanwings Airbus
Prosecutor: Co-pilot brought down Germanwings Airbus

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Story highlights

  • Marseille prosecutor Brice Robin has worked high-profile cases before
  • He shared details of what was heard on cockpit voice recorder of doomed plane

(CNN)Marseille prosecutor Brice Robin is not one to mince words.

On Tuesday, he helicoptered over the site where Germanwings Flight 9525 had crashed into the French Alps earlier in the day, killing all 150 people aboard. The plane, he said, had been "ripped apart," and the bodies were "in a state of destruction."
Thursday, his words were starker still: The plane's co-pilot, Andreas Lubitz, had locked the captain out of the cockpit and deliberately put the plane into a descent.
    "The intention was to destroy this plane," Robin said.
    No hedging. No minced words. A far cry, for example, from what one might expect in the U.S. this early in the investigation.
    If Brice Robin's name sounds familiar, it's because he's been involved in high-profile investigations before -- public prosecutors in France often take charge of initial investigations.
    And, as in the Germanwings case, Robin has shown himself in the past to be in command of the facts and willing to state them plainly.
    Here are some of the previous cases he has investigated:

    Military exercise gone wrong

    The year: 2008.
    The case: A military exercise in which 17 people were wounded when one soldier fired live bullets instead of blanks. Robin determined the shootings were accidental.
    Key quote: "This act was absolutely not premeditated; I want to be clear about this point," he said, according to the Associated Press.
    French Prosecutor Brice Robin

    Handball match-fixing investigation

    The year: 2012.
    The case: An investigation into whether members of a French championship handball team were involved in match-fixing.
    Key quote: "There are very high suspicions of illegal betting," Robin said, according to Reuters.

    Investigation into improper selling of horse meat

    The year: 2013.
    The case: Twenty-one people were arrested in an investigation into whether meat from horses that had been used to test serums against rabies and tetanus were fraudulently sold to meat processing plants.
    The country's consumer affairs minister said the fraud might have posed a threat to human health. But Robin disagreed in typically blunt terms.
    Key quote: There is "absolutely no evidence through toxicology tests that these animals were harmful to human health," he said, according to France 24 television.

    Slaying of Monegasque heiress

    The year: 2014.
    The case: The son-in-law of Helene Pastor, an heiress from Monaco, is charged with murder for allegedly paying hitmen to kill her.
    Key quote: Wojciech Janowski's motive, Robin said, according to the AFP news agency, was "to lay his hands on the inheritance."