Court of Appeal of Bastia: the professional secrecy of the lawyer in debate

The investigating chamber of the Bastia Court of Appeal examined, on Wednesday, the appeal filed by Me Anna-Maria Sollacaro against the dismissal order issued following the investigation carried out after her complaint for violation of the secrecy of his correspondence with one of his clients

The investigation chamber of the Bastia Court of Appeal examined, on Wednesday, the appeal filed by Mand Anna-Maria Sollacaro against the order of dismissal pronounced in the investigation carried out for violation of the secrecy of correspondence between a lawyer and his client.

The Ajaccian lawyer filed a complaint, 2016after having seen appear in a criminal procedure at the instruction an environmental report transcribing telephone conversations she had had with one of her clients.

The investigating chamber, which it had seized, ordered the cancellation of these transcriptions of telephone tapping and their removal from the judicial information file.

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On the other hand, the investigating judge at the courthouse inAjaccio, responsible for investigating the lawyer’s complaint, dismissed the case in favor of his Marseille counterpart who was instructing the investigation in which these transcripts appeared and of the two police officers who had written the intelligence report.

Mand Sollacaro appealed this dismissal, which the investigating chamber therefore considered. Before this court, the Advocate General requested confirmation of the dismissal order. Conversely, several lawyers (Mand Dominique Paolini from the Ajaccio Bar, Mare Ménya Arab-Tigrine, Julien Gasbaoui and Amale Kenbib of the Paris Bar, and Mand Ariana Bobetic of the Seine-Saint-Denis bar) asked that this order be reversed and that the alleged perpetrators of this offense be indicted.

The investigating chamber will render its decision on December 8.

“The defense of fundamental principles”

At the end of the hearing, which took place behind closed doors because it concerns an investigation file, Mand Kenbib explained that the lawyers pointed out that “although there was no instruction or so that was very light, there are indisputable elements on the will to undermine the secrecy of the correspondence of Mand Sollacaro. The persons implicated indicate that they were fully aware of his status as a lawyer and that his interlocutor was his client. “We are defending both a colleague and the fundamental principles of our profession which are, here, blatantly flouted, added M.and Paolini. We have been fighting since 2016 to bring those responsible for this breach of secrecy to justice. This is important for the profession and for the litigant because it is important that the conversation between a lawyer and his client be covered by professional secrecy, which must remain inviolable.”

The President of the Bar of Bastia, Mand Jean-Paul Éon, indicated that he also intervened during the debates to “recall the importance of the professional secrecy that exists to protect the citizen and assure him that he can confide in his defender without fear that his confidences will be used against him”.

In a statement, the Association of Criminal Lawyers, which provides “his very fraternal support” to Mand Sollacaro, points out that the cancellation a posteriori the transcription of these telephone conversations “does not call into question the unacceptable attack on the secrecy of exchanges between a litigant and his lawyer” because they “have been the subject of discussions between the services in charge of the file on the advisability of their transcription”.

She “hopes that the courts called upon to rule will be able to seize the opportunity given to them to ensure the professional secrecy of the lawyer an essential protection for the respect of the rights of the defence”. This case finds a particular echo in this period.

ADAP specifies that when “the debates currently taking place in Parliament about the privilege of the lawyer require extreme vigilance”she “is of particular interest” to this procedure before the Bastia Court of Appeal.

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