The trio claimed that they had been pelted with stones by a gang of up to 20 black teenagers while they were sticking up posters in the immigrant- dominated northern suburbs of Marseilles. However, no stones were found nearby and the group of teenagers, 10 at most, were carrying only musical instruments.
The dead youth, Ibrahim Ali, aged 17, was shot in the back with a "dum- dum" bullet - the kind of bullet which explodes on impact and which is outlawed by the Geneva Convention.
Evidence presented to the trial in Aix-en-Provence suggested that the murder was racially motivated but not pre-meditated. The three National Front supporters, armed to the teeth for a foray into what they regarded as enemy territory, panicked when they saw the group of black youths approaching.
The chief prosecutor said that the real blame for the night's events should fall on the National Front itself, and on its "paranoid" ideology" which presented all black people as dangerous and the only true French people as "white and blonde".
The de facto deputy leader of the National Front, Bruno Megret made an utterly unapologetic appearance before the court. He spoke briefly of his "compassion" for the victim's family before going on to describe the accused trio as "three Frenchmen who deserve respect and who devoted parts of their lives for the good of others, for the love of their country and the defence of their people".
The man who fired the fatal bullet, Robert Lagier, 66, was sentenced to 15 years in jail. His companions, Mario d'Abrosio and Pierre Giglio, were sentenced to 10 years and 12 months respectively.