This year again, and perhaps a little more than the previous ones, the tribute to Antoine Sollacarorendered by his peers united in one robe on the steps of the Ajaccio courthouse, looked like a portrait. This time, it was drawn, subtly, by the president Raphaële Deconstanza, paragraph by paragraph.
It has been ten years since Mr.e Sollacaro was killed, but this is the eleventh time that Ajaccian black dresses have taken their place on these steps as a sign of mourning, not marked by silence but by speaking out, the very essence of their function.
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It is with this word, and the freedom that goes with it, that the President of the Bar began his speech. “How to evoke the memory of the chairman Antoine Sollacaro, without recalling – some find it convenient to forget it – that speech, freedom of speech, is never as essential as in the service of the defence. A bundle of pieces brought together in a rib, scriptures, however long, or imposed brief and precise, will never replace the verb. The word embodies. Beyond the words spoken, it expresses feelings, arouses emotion and in doing so increases our ability of understanding”she recalls before returning to her subject. “A great lawyer, Antoine Sollacaro knew it. He was not the type to be silent. Rough in his speaking, uncompromising, even stormy at times, he was not what is called a connivance lawyer”she portrays.
“They confuse the cause defended and the client”
Me Deconstanza then tackles a subject that sometimes fuels rumours, especially beyond the island shores: the links between the lawyer and his client. She cuts clean.
“Some people deplore the proximity of lawyers to those they defend. They would prefer us to be distant. And why not indifferent! They don’t know what they are saying.
The specificity of the relationship of trust between the lawyer and his client is foreign to them. They confuse the defended cause and the client. The lawyer considers the first with the perspective necessary for his legal and intellectual examination. But, with regard to the second, his human empathy is felt, without limit. Antoine Sollacaro represented his clients in the full sense of the term. He knew their anxieties, shared their concerns, espoused their misfortunes. An exceptional penalist, he never forgot that he was wearing a dress.”
Raphaële Deconstanza concluded her intervention by returning to speech and the freedom it confers. “So, if the word is not in vain, let it also serve to say loud and clear that this must stop. The death of Antoine Sollacaro was of no use to anyone or anything.
No one got any benefit from it.”