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Colonial Cases

Grandmoulin, 1907

 [wrongful death]



French Consular Court

April 1907

Source: The Egyptian Gazette, 12 March 1907; 3 



M. Grandmoulin, of the Legal Bureau of the Ministry of Finance,  and ex-director of the Khedival Law School, Cairo, was out shooting in Friday afternoon in a corn field between Matarieh and Marg, near Cairo, when a son of the owner of the land,  aged 13 appeared and attempted to prevent M. Grandmoulin from continuing his sport.  The latter, however, paid little heed to the boy's importunities and went on his way.  The boy seized hold of the gun and was attempting to disarm M. Grandmoulin when the gun went off, killing the boy on the spot.  The boy's relatives soon appeared on the scene and his brothers were on the point of avenging his death, when they were prevented by the father. M. Grandmoulin was arrested and handed over to the French Consular authorities, who have opened an inquiry. 

The Egyptian Gazette, 13 March 1907; 3 



It appears that the version at first circulated of the regrettable shooting incident at Warak, in which M. Grandmoulin is implicated, was not correct. 

The circumstances are now said to be as follows. M. Grandmoulin was returning from a shooting expedition accompanied by a native boy who carried the cartridge bag.  He was walking along with his gun on his shoulder and holding his bicycle in one hand, the boy following behind, when shortly afterwards another boy of 13 came up and wanted to carry part of the load in order to share in the recompense. The first boy naturally objected and a dispute arose. M. Grandmoulin, still holding his bicycle, turned round to put an end to the dispute, when by some means or other his gun was discharged and the second boy received a fatal wound. 

The "Lewa" publishes a letter from the head of the ghaffirs of the locality, stating that M. Grandmoulin had deliberately shot the boy in order to avenge himself for some trouble he had had with the Egyptian Government. The publication of such a ridiculous assertion by the "Lews" only proves that, despite all the protestations, our Nationalist contemporary never lets an occasion slip of displaying its xenophobia. 

The Egyptian Gazette, 14 March 1907; 3 



We learn that M. Grandmoulin, who is accused of murder and what not by the "Egyptian Standard", was carrying his gun in in hand just before the accident at Warak and with the other holding his bicycle. He was just about to take his gun to pieces when he heard a boy who was with him cry out and turned sharply to see what was the matter.  The gun exploded and the charge struck another boy who had come up unnoticed by M. Grandmoulin and killed him.  The story that M. Grandmoulin had an altercation with the boy is absolutely false; he had not seen him before the gun went off. 

Such is the lamentable event out of which "Al Lewa" and its European gladiators are attempting to make capital. M. Grandmoulin is an eminent jurist of 60 years of age, the last man in the world to shoot a child in cold blood, but probabilities are nothing to the "Lewa" and the fact that M. Grandmoulin was director of the School of Law at he time of the students; strike has doubtless contributed to the bitterness with which he has been attacked. But the real motive of the attack we realise too fully: incitation against the European - despite the grandiloquent device anent freedom and hospitality which decorates the "Egyptian Standard." It is part of the game played before the Alexandria riots, played during the Akaba incident, played during the last summer. Some day these incitations will lead to bloodshed and the miserable dupes of Mustapha Pasha and his followers perhaps atone for then deliberate and studied incitations of their elders. 

The French Consulate at Cairo is holding an enquiry into the matter. 

We understand that M. Grandmoulin contemplates bringing an action against L'Etendard Egyptien." 

The Egyptian Gazette, 15 March 1907; 3 


The "Journal de Caire" contains a biting article from the pen of M. G. Vayssue on the attacks made by the "Egyptian Standard" on M. Grandmoulin, from which we take the following extracts: 

One may expect the delegate of Egyptian thought - Mustapha Pasha Kamel - to express a different opinion from that of the rest of mortals. When one has received a celestial message one must indulge in signs and wonders for the public benefit . . . The depository of the national dignity had for too long excited no attention.  Such a state of affairs could not last.   [continues.] 

"Al Moayad" in an article on the affair, considers that the incident shows the necessity for overhauling the system of the capitulations by enlarging the scope of the Mixed Courts in order to make then able to deal with criminal matters. 

The Egyptian Gazette, 19 March 1907; 3 


M. Grandmoulin has asked the Parquet Generale to take proceedings against Mustapha Pasha Kamel for libelling him in connection with the death of the native boy at Warak. 

The Egyptian Gazette, 22 March 1907; 3 


It is stated that M. Grandmoulin intended claiming damages to the extent of £E5,000 from the newspapers which have libelled him. 

The Parquet will question the Omdeh of Warak on the matter, as Mustapha Pasha Kamel has declared that he only gave the facts of the case in accordance with the information contained in the letter from the Omdeh.  

We regret to see that our contemporary "the Egyptian Standard" fail to explain away the atrocious charge which is recently brought against M. Grandmoulin.  The English organ of Mustapha Pasha Kamel recently asked, "How is it possible that M. Grandmoulin still keeps his Government employ accused and guilty as he is of assassination?" 

The Egyptian Standard in reply says: "The sentence which the Egyptian Standard has the kindness to draw our attention to is at it very worst ambiguous.  In itself it implies no accusation on our part nor a prejudgment.  ... [continues.] 

The Egyptian Gazette, 13 April 1907; 3  


The case of M. Grandmoulin came before the French Consul yesterday morning.  M. Grandmoulin was entirely acquitted of any negligence and it was decided that the death of the boy was accidental. It will be remembered that M. Grandmoulin went quail shooting, riding on his bicycle from Cairo to Embabeh, his rifle fastened to his machine.  When he got to Embabeh he left his bicycle at the side of the road and went into a field where he shot several quail, A boy was carrying these for him to the bicycle, and while in the act of fastening the rifle to his machine he heard the boy scream and turning round, his rifle accidentally going off and shooting the boy.  His brothers and the inhabitants of the village would have beaten M. Grandmoulin had not the Omdeh prevented it. M. Grandmoulin informed the French Consul of the accident as soon as he got back to Cairo.  

The two brothers of the dead boy were called as witnesses this morning and said the M. Grandmoulin deliberately shot their brother who asked him not to go into the wheat. The chief Gaffir was also examined but as he was not on the spot at the time he could not give much useful evidence.  

The Omden was also examined, particularly as to the letter purporting to be written by him, which was published in "Al Lewa" and other papers.  The Consul asked him if he had read it in "Al Lews" to which he replied that he had not, because he could neither read nor write. It transpired that the letter was written by the tax collector. 

The Times, 29 April 1907 


The French Consular Court held an inquiry last week in the Grandmoulin affair.  It will be remembered that M. Grandmoulin was accused in Mustapha Kamel's paper of having shot an Arab boy with malice prepense.  The Consular Court entirely exonerated M. Grandmoulin and declared that his gun went off by a pure accident.  M. Grandmoulin is prosecuting several Arab newspapers and one Syrian paper published in French for libel. 

Published by Centre for Comparative Law, History and Governance at Macquarie Law School