Bouachrine arrived late to his first court appearance on March 8, prompting the judge, Bouchaib Farah, to postpone the hearing for half an hour, reported Akhbar Al Yaoum, noting a number of Moroccan political and media figures in courtroom attendance.
The judge adjourned the hearing for the first time after Bouachrine’s lawyer, Mohammed Ziane, accused the prosecutor, Twimi Benjellou, of representing the National Press Union and pleading against Bouachrine and, “pushing” him in the presence of the judge.
Moments later, when the hearing resumed the prosecutor Khadija Arroukani caused another courtroom breakdown when she pointed out that the trial coincided with International Women’s Day, provoking Bouachrine’s defense.
The hearing adjourned again when Zian requested that the defense present the pre-file negotiations, initiating another round of fighting between the lawyers.
The hearing adjourned for the third time when the judge refused to call witnesses in favor of Bouachrine to the court prior to listening to Bouachrine’s appeal.
Bouachrine’s defense presented a list of six names of witnesses to the Crown Prosecutor prior to the trial, but the judge did not call the witnesses before the accused’s plea.
One member of Bouachrine’s defense party, Abd Assamad Idrissi, noted the absence of trust in the courtroom, adding that there is a difference between the evidence for criminal conviction and evidence supporting Bouachrine’s claim of innocence.
Taoufik Bouachrine was put into custody on February 28, after his previous employees accused him of human trafficking, rape, and sexual harassment.