They are young, neat and seem harmless. Gina and Stella, members of the Roma community, are nevertheless suspected of four burglaries in four days at the end of June in Nice. The most spectacular theft is the one against a Ukrainian couple who kept 80,000 euros and 80,000 dollars at home! In front of the police, the suspects admitted having stolen “a very large sum”.
It was planned that Gina and Stella appear before the criminal court this Wednesday but a twist: their lawyers Me Luc Febbraro and Me Jérôme Susini request a postponement of the proceedings. They present two compelling arguments. “If Mr. President, you dismiss the lawsuit, we will make sure that the victims can get their money back.”, undertakes Me Febbraro. Bringing back the loot appears to be an excellent argument for obtaining leniency from a court. Especially such a sum.
Prosecutor Ludovic Manteufel opposes the dismissal: “Nothing prevented the relatives of the two defendants from returning the money before the hearing, notes the magistrate. And if there is a conviction, the reimbursement a posteriori can intervene and promote conditional release.
One of the defendants may be a minor
The defense develops a second argument: Stella would be a minor, aged 17. His case would go to juvenile court. Me Susini brings a Croatian identity card to prove it. While in police custody, Stella claimed to be thirteen and a half years old and presented herself under a false identity. Justice had to resort to a bone examination. The two alleged burglars are said to be 19 years old. “This medical examination is questionable in view of the margin of error”, opposes the defense attorney. “It’s actually banned in the UK.”
Again, the prosecutor is surprised : “If Stella is really underage, what was her point in lying about her identity?” Ludovic Manteufel underlines the reliability of the medical examination: “We are no longer satisfied, as in the past, with the wrist, but we also study the pelvis and the teeth.”
President Christian Legay decided to adjourn the trial to September 2, asking the police to check Stella’s identity document. The magistrate, like the victims, may also have the secret hope of seeing, in the meantime, all or part of the stolen 160,000 euros reappear.