In the hearing of the criminal court in Évry Courcouronnes it was a love hate. In front, a couple is torn apart. Basically, a question of law: is a romantic relationship an aggravating circumstance of intentional violence?
Tenth Correctional Chamber. His name is Miguel and she is Anna*. He is a coachbuilder and she is a hairdresser. He is frontal and brutal, he is kind and dangerous. Short, full and bearded, he showed only a small black tattoo on his broad neck. He, puy, hides under a thick black leather jacket and big ebony hair. He stood at the corner of the glass wall, head bowed, eyes fixed on his feet. You might think he’s in the corner, but he’s standing in the court box. He slouched, slumped in his seat. The weight of his body seems to tilt, to collapse on the one who represents him, his lawyer.
The case between them is sadly banal. They make love while arguing. “He left for a battle, as usual,” said Miguel, resigned. Once again they argued. Feeling “pushed to the limit”, he tried to flee and was “beaten”. But this time, “it has to stop! “, the complainant and his lawyer repeated in chorus. This time, Miguel was brought back to the Évry Courcouronnes correctional court for two acts of intentional violence, one committed in the spring at Anna’s house, the other in September at his house. The violence, which was absent or lacking for less than eight days, was committed by his concubine and accompanied by the destruction of his front door.
“I am lifted up, it is true: it is a small weight”!
“According to Madame, you hit her dog,” began the president of the court. That day, a vulgar dog pee caused Miguel’s anger. Last time it was a comment from Anna. “I pointed out to Miguel that he was driving too fast, he told me to shut up,” the president said, citing the young woman’s statements. Dead silence in the large bunker-like courtroom. “Don’t talk too much Miguel, challenge the president. So, did you commit these acts of violence? “. “How? Uh… yes”, stammered the accused. The president elaborated: “The doctor noticed something similar: a state of great stress, a bruise on the right leg, pain in the neck…”. He waved the photos: “We can still see the marks on the arms and back, the forehead is swollen”. He quoted the minutes: “The neighbors called, the police found a gaping hole in the middle of the door”, before he was asked again: “Did you do that?”. Miguel sat a little in the corner of his cubicle. “I’m the one who lifted it, it’s true: it’s a small weight,” he finally admitted before silencing himself in his silence.
A violence that could not be explained by Miguel and Anna, nor by anyone at this hearing. “Do you have a problem with alcohol?” asked the president. “No, I drink like everyone else,” he defended himself. “So, is it aggression?” Do you have trouble controlling yourself? “. “Yes,” Miguel was embarrassed.
“We’re a couple, but we’re not together”
it is the prosecutor’s turn to question the accused. “Can you tell us about your relationship with Anna? “. “Toxic,” replied Miguel tit for tat, like a child who learned his lesson well. “We were a couple, but we don’t live together,” he added. Sweet. that Miguel, because there is the whole question. In this life together or not, depends on the worsening situation of the so-called “conjugal” violence and the classification of offenses as simple fines. Suddenly, the debates became more serious and legal in tone. If they are not spouses or partners bound by a PACS, will Anna and Miguel be together within the meaning of article 515-8 of the Civil Code? The prosecutor argued that yes, the defense said no. “If I understand correctly, you will meet each other, each other?”, decided the president. “Yes,” answered the couple in one voice.
On his platform, the young prosecutor felt the restraint slipping away and slowly slipping away from him. Here he returned with a vengeance: “During the facts, you are under judicial control with a ban on contacting the victim, right?”. According to the rude accused, the fault is shared. The two lovebirds break one, then the other, legal restrictions. Like two magnets that tirelessly attract. But the public prosecutor was not fooled. “Remind me, who is subject to this judicial review?”, asked the prosecutor. “Me,” said Miguel from behind his cubicle.
“He was so calm in the civil party, we almost forgot about him”
Debates are closed, the mass said. The president gave the floor to the public prosecutor for his requisitions. “I believe that this is the first of the civil party to speak”, denied the prosecutor. “Ah, true, apologize to the president, the civil party must speak. But the civil party is so calm, we almost forget it…”.
To forget herself in favor of the man she loves, disappear, disappear little by little. This is what Anna did non-stop in this year of their relationship. “My client suffered sexual violence, moral violence too, which he did not tell you, because he loved him and protected him, pleaded with his lawyer. But it must stop! “. From her seat as a civil party to which she had withdrawn herself, Anna, shaken by sobs, continued to think of Miguel. “Should he be put in jail?” asked the lawyer. She doesn’t believe him. The most important thing for him is that he is psychologically monitored. For any payment, the young woman only asked for a few thousand euros. “The goal is not to reduce Miguel, finish his lawyer, but to treat him”.
Silence of the senses. This time, it is the turn of the prosecutor’s charge. Once the question of restraint error has been cleared up, the prosecutor strongly urges the court to enter into the sentencing process. “A romantic relationship is not an aggravating circumstance of violence”, argued Miguel’s lawyer, who called on the court to “reduce the sentence to a fairer proportion”.
Suspension of hearing. The room was empty. Both parties found themselves alone in silence, each aboard. At first, the views avoided each other. Then they met and now they are looking for each other. The court returned, Miguel stood up. Guilty, but there are fines. €1,500 fine for acts of violence, six months suspended for impairment.
*Both names have been changed