The Freedoms and Human Rights Commission of the National Bar Council adopted on Friday February 4 a report on the incident that occurred in March 2021, during which Me Paul Sollacaro was expelled from a hearing by the police. The institution considers the reports of the general inspectorate of justice in this case to be biased and makes proposals to prevent such facts from reoccurring in court.
The General Inspectorate of Justice (IGJ) issued two reports after the president of the Aix-en-Provence criminal court had the lawyer Paul Sollacaro expelled by the police during a hearing in March 2021.
One of the reports related to the facts themselves and the other proposed to improve the management of incidents between magistrates and lawyers in criminal hearings.
The Freedoms and Human Rights Commission of the National Bar Council (CNB) submitted its report on the facts to the general assembly on February 4. The Commission finds the IGJ report biased. In particular because it highlights the lawyers’ strike against the pension reform as the cause of the deterioration of relations between lawyers and magistrates, without the IGJ inspectors having asked the lawyers questions about it. The IGJ report also points to four other incidents that occurred before the events.
For the CNB, this presentation of the case “is perceived as marking a will of the IGJ to minimize the facts of March 11 and 12 and to impute to the lawyers a share of responsibility in all these incidents and problems of relations between lawyers and magistrates. According to the Commission, the IGJ displays a desire “very sharp” to minimize “the responsibility of the State in the problems encountered by the Judicial Court of Aix-en-Provence for the processing of cases within a reasonable time” as well as the responsibility of the magistrates implicated in the management of this incident.
The report of the CNB recommends a modification of the texts relating to the police of hearing by improving the course of this one and to multiply the moments and the places of meeting and exchange. He put forward the idea of modifying the Code of Criminal Procedure so that in disciplinary matters, lawyers are not treated in the same way as a litigant or an “assistant”. The report proposes for example that “sIf the president considers that the order of the hearing is disturbed by a lawyer, the hearing is suspended and the President of the Bar or his delegate is called immediately. The heads of the jurisdiction are immediately informed. Together, they are looking in the council chambers for an amicable resolution to the incident.
About the report of the CNB, Me Paul Sollacaro reacted to the site actu-juridique.fr: “This is the report we expected from the inspection and which it did not produce, a real investigative work based on documents and testimonies which points to all the shortcomings, all the violations, all the faults without trying to distract from the lawyers’ strike which has absolutely nothing to do with what happened.”
Master Paul Sollacaro had been expelled in March 2021 during the trial of eleven defendants in a drug trafficking case. His client having tested positive for Covid-19, the lawyer registered with the Nice bar had requested the disjunction of his case. A request immediately rejected by the presiding judge, who also objected to the defendant appearing before the court. Following a tense verbal exchange, the president had asked the police to expel the lawyer.
Me Sollacaro filed a complaint for aggravated violence and forgery in public writing. He also seized the Superior Council of the Judiciary which declared his request inadmissible. On September 9, the Prime Minister took the decision not to sanction the magistrate who ordered the expulsion of the lawyer.