The Item reveals this week that detailed bills of phones of several lawyers in paris, whose firms Dupond-Moretti, a Veil or even Temime, have been peeled in the margin of the case of " Paul Bismuth ". Objective : to find a mole sarkozyste in the judiciary French, to fill the former president of the Republic and his lawyer staff, Me Thierry Herzog, on ongoing judicial proceedings. The preliminary investigation, opened in the biggest secret in 2014, has finally made the subject of a classification without continuation in December 2019. The investigations have been hidden for all these years. Christiane Féral-Schuhl, former president of the Ordre des avocats de Paris, and now president of the national bar Council (CNB), see it as an achievement without precedent to the obligation of professional secrecy.
The Point : We knew that Thierry Herzog and Nicolas Sarkozy had been placed on listening in the case of " Bismuth ". We discover now that the lawyers of their entourage were being spied on. What do you think ?
Christiane Féral-Schuhl : It is a rebounding foul in this case. I finished my term as president of Paris on December 31, 2013 [The lawyer Pierre-Olivier On him has succeeded in this task, editor's NOTE]. The first part of the tapping of Nicolas Sarkozy and Thierry Herzog had already been ordered. And already, the lawyers were " monitored ". In fact, in the two months that followed the end of my bâtonnat, we have discovered with indignation that an investigation was ongoing, which aimed at the Order of lawyers. We discover today the "underwater" tip of the iceberg : the suspicion was such with respect to lawyers, that a general surveillance of the lawyers, by the dozens, had been triggered, via the peeling back of their fadettes, which is inadmissible.
The lawyers being spied on have all in common that they have called or attempted to call Thierry Herzog February 25, 2014, just before this last does not cease to discuss on the telephone with Nicholas Sarkozy, suggesting to the investigators that he had learned that he was on listening. A lawyer calls another enough to constitute a hint ? The public prosecutor had the right to peel their fadettes in what may amount to "drift nets" ?
It should be any light on this matter. The ministry called on the prosecutor general's office a detailed report on this survey. Of which act. But we need specific answers. Who made the decision to monitor the lawyers ? What is the procedure ? This causes undeniably angry, because this case is indicative of the few cases that the rights of the defence, of professional secrecy and, more broadly, of our rule of law. There has been a profusion of human and technical resources. It is a provocation when we know the state of our courts and our judges, who will not stop fighting for justice looks like something.
Why do you not have referred directly to the general Inspectorate of judicial services ?
This might eventually be the case. Following the remarks made by Éliane Houlette, the former boss of the PNF, on the "pressures" of which it would have been subject in the case of Fillon on the part of the attorney-general, the president of the Republic has asked the superior Council of the magistracy (CSM) for advice. In reality, the CSM does not have sufficient means to investigate and answer this question. In the case of Sarkozy, the chancellery has made a different choice. This did not change the substance of the story : we need to know who gave the instructions, what were they exactly, and who took this decision to monitor the lawyers ?
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The professional secrecy must be understood in its entirety. You can't say that, because we do violate that, in part, that we don't seize that a piece of information, there would be no problem. You can't separate the container of the content. The professional secrecy also covers the name or the phone number of the persons with whom a lawyer has, the place where it meets, the duration of their exchanges, and the content of their conversations. However, the fadettes, even if they are not listening to deliver all these information devices.
across the fadettes, it is clearly a violation of professional secrecy
are you Calling for a reform ?
I would like to say, for having discussed with them, as many judges are just as flabbergasted and outraged as we are. I think, even I say that lawyers and judges hold to the strict application of the law. We will be unanimous in denouncing such practices. What is at stake is less the relations between advocates and judges, than those between the political power and the judicial power. Through the fadettes, it is clearly a violation of professional secrecy. Do I need to change the procedure to better protect the secret ? Yes. But, a priori, this is not the path the government is taking. The secret is being attacked, réattaqué, and it has a new illustration with this case.
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Do you not think that the police and prosecutors have acted in this way, by claiming the fadettes of lawyers in the context of a preliminary inquiry, precisely to prevent "leakage" ?
When one wants to preserve the privacy, you can... When I was bâtonnier of Paris, I have the memory of the judges with whom we shared the concern of the respect for the secret, and came to me by hand, in an envelope, of the elements on the plays of such or such a lawyer, as the law required. What matters to the president, is to know when starts the measurement and when it ends, and be able to be sure that the judges do not commit an abuse. The chairman shall then put these items in a safety deposit box which they do not go out. But it has also happened that the magistrates, few in number, fortunately, we send this information by mail or by e-mail to a general address or by fax, in conditions that fall under the recklessness characterized, or even of the negligence...
In the case of Fillon, the "feedback" that are in question, which may also constitute a violation of the secrecy of the investigation, when they fall in the hands of persons who are not judges. However, the case " Urvoas has shown that these information were sometimes misused. What do you think ?
These feedback cause a huge outcry, it is undeniable. The problem is that they are the result of unwritten rules and are now past in the uses. They create yet a real break in the equality of arms. What shocks, is that beyond the violation of professional secrecy, there are questions about the scope of these practices. The information back, it is a proven fact, and use anchored. What is problematic is the scope of dissemination of such information. Do they remain well within the scope of the judicial professions. How are they used ? We ignore it ! There is an imbalance in total, in the preliminary investigations : when the lawyers do not have access to anything, other stakeholders, outside the judicial chain, seem to have free access to the folder. It should be of transparency, and contradictory to all the floors if we wanted to dispel the suspicion.