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How does this fast legal procedure work?

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“Be quick and careful.” These are the main merits of LFI deputy Adrien Quatennens, who was summoned this Tuesday 13 December before the Court of Lille to make the preliminary admission of guilt. The deputy is being arraigned before a judge after his ex-wife filed a complaint in mid-September following the violence he admitted to having committed against her. “The facts recognized against him are a slap in the face.” His lawyer said he admitted to giving her and the text messages he sent after they broke up.

An action that would allow Jean-Luc Mélenchon’s former right-hand man to quickly turn this judicial page. But this kind of frank trial raises the question of the place of the contrarian and the place of the victim, explains “Oops” Lorraine Twery, criminal lawyer and eighth secretary of the Paris Bar Conference.

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What is the appearance with prior admission of guilt procedure?

Me Lauren Thurey The Appearance with Advance Plea of ​​Guilty (CRPC) procedure, established in 2004, is also called a “guilty plea” procedure. It is not an alternative method of proceedings, because there are already criminal proceedings initiated, but its peculiarity is that we will not conduct an argument before the criminal court in the classical sense of the term.

La France feminists faced the return of the Quatennens

While in police custody, if the interviewee admits the facts, they are thus fully established and there is no longer any discussion of the merits of the file. Thus, the prosecution, who has the power to direct the proceedings, can consider this habeas corpus procedure with prior admission of guilt, which is a more flexible and expedited procedure.

Then the accused is summoned before the Public Prosecution. From there, two stages follow: the stage of discussions before the prosecutor who proposes the sentence – it is a kind of negotiation where the most appropriate sentence for the situation is decided – and the approval stage. We appear before a judge who, during a public hearing, must agree with the sentence proposed by the public prosecutor. He may refuse this if he deems, in particular, that the situation deserves a public and adversarial discussion because of its seriousness and complexity.

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I am Lorraine Touré, eighth secretary of the Paris Bar Conference. (Paris Lawyers Conference)

What are the advantages and disadvantages of this procedure?

The CRC’s procedures are limited: they only apply to certain crimes. Voluntary or involuntary attacks [une attitude qui met en danger l’intégrité physique d’une personne, NDLR] Sexual assault is excluded if the accused has been subjected to more than five years in prison. It is a practical procedure but it does not apply to all situations. If you have an integrity attack that caused more than eight days of total incapacity for work (ITT) and was exacerbated by various circumstances, it is difficult to pass this through CRPC.

As it is, Adrien Quatennens could benefit from it because he admitted to voluntary violence but there was no ITT, so he’s risking less than five years in detention. There is a limit to the seriousness of the facts, if they were more serious, Adrien Quatennens would not have had recourse to the CRPC.

The CRPC has the advantage of being flexible and providing lighter sentences: the prosecutor’s proposed sentence cannot exceed three years with or without suspension, but requires full and complete admission of guilt. However, we do not do without hostile polemics unless it is justified by simple facts. The Code of Criminal Procedure is not a gift: as soon as the defendant accepts this proceeding, he renounces asserting any falsehood that may exist and discussing all the facts as may be discussed below. It’s a big concession.

This is also justified as a procedure in which a lawyer is mandatory and where there is no possibility to represent you, you must be present at the hearing.

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What are the consequences of the presumption of innocence in French law?

First, a guilty plea is not entered until the defendant has agreed to the sentence proposed by the prosecutor. Then, intellectually, the question arises: Is there an attack on the presumption of innocence when the person being tried himself makes a public declaration that he pleads guilty to the facts of which he is accused? There is the matter of the person being pursued complying with this procedure which changes the situation a bit.

“The sexual violence reporting unit must be independent,” says lawyer Elise Fabing.

I am concerned here not so much with a possible breach of the presumption of innocence as with the question of inconsistency. From this point of view, CRPC poses more problems. But that’s why there are guarantees. The adversary accepts this guilty plea, which excludes him from appeal and contradictory discussion, with guarantees, in particular the presence of a lawyer, and a reduced sentence. This strikes a certain balance.

It is a calculation made by the opponent. In the Quatennens case, the deputy recognized the facts from the outset, and they are simple. CRPC allows him to be fast and discreet.

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What is the place of the victim and the civil parties in this type of procedure?

The civil party is summoned and informed of the request for approval and can file claims for compensation. But it cannot interfere with the directions of the Committee for the Protection of Civilians.

The personal claimant does not intervene in the public action, but this is the case in all criminal trials. Where there is a judgment before a correctional court, there are damages that can be pronounceable, and if the civil party considers that the judgment rendered is not strong enough, it can only appeal to the civil interests.

Is this procedure of appearance with prior admission of guilt, which deprives the civil party of a classic trial, not a little violent for the victim of violence?

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It depends on what the victim is looking for. Legally, with the CRPC, she has what she wants: a public conviction and damages.

I don’t know what’s more violent to a victim: a public hearing and a defendant before her defying everything she might say—at risk of being released, of no damages, and being sued for denouncing libel in the event of release? or less audience “brilliant”, Shorter, with limited judicial time but making sure that the facts are acknowledged and that the person is guilty, and eventually recompensed? It depends on the victims and points of view.

Violence against women: “The parties are not obligated to follow the Code of Criminal Procedure! »

If we are in the presence of a victim who needs the classical court ballet to mourn, yes, the procedure is unsatisfactory. On the other hand, if she simply wants an admission of guilt because she was the victim of acts and, if necessary, that she expects compensation, CRA is not a painful procedure.

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