We have a follow-up from François-Xavier Coudert on the trial of two French odontology researchers accused of stealing from — and abetting the theft of — the work of a graduate student.
A French court has ruled that French dental researcher accused of plagiarizing the thesis of a fellow student was guilty of the charge, but that her husband was not complicit in the crime, according to accounts in the French media.
As we reported the other day, Christine Marchal-Sixou and her lab-head-turned-husband, Michel Sixou, had been on trial for plagiarism and complicity in the case.
The court’s sentence was surprisingly heavy and went beyond what the prosecution sought. Marchal-Sixou received a 5,000 euro fine and ordered to pay 20,000 euros in compensatory damages to the student, Samer Nuwwareh.
The court said Marchal-Sixou must retract her own thesis – which used Nuwareh’s work but did not cite it – and that all published copies of the document be destroyed. And it ruled that the decision must be posted publicly at l’université Paul-Sabatier in Toulouse, where she is an associate professor, and that of her co-advisor, in Paris.
Sixou, however, was found not guilty on the charge of complicity. The court expressed concern about the context of the case
as it appears that Samer Nuwwareh was taken on as an intern, by Michel Sixou, purely with the aim of working on his wife’s research agenda
and noting that
Sixou did not at any point warn his wife about the text she was borrowing.
However, the court concluded that
these concerns are ethical and deontological, but are not a legal basis characterizing complicity.