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Deux Sevres is not, as you might think, a description of two finely decorated porcelain plates.
It is a department of France, one of the four which make up the region of Poitou Charente.
As Michael Caine might say .......Not many people know that.
This used to include the French Tourist Board.
Apart from its geographical position, Deux Sevres can also lay claim to a cultural position....that of being firmly in what is described as 'la France profonde'.
Which means an area where if something has not been done before it certainly won't be starting to be done now.
A further explanation.
I know that the saying about casting clouts refers to not being deceived by the advent of spring into discarding your winter woollies too early and getting frostbite in areas best not to contemplate, but clout has another meaning.....
It is also a blow, as in 'gave him a clout' and just at the moment, people in Deux Sevres have the exciting possibility of giving other people in Deux Sevres - excluding maires, gendarmes and other protected species - a clout and getting away with it.....but only up to the end of May.
Whence this sudden immunity...and why only in Deux Sevres?
Under much external and internal pressure, France has finally decided to conform the to European Convention on Human Rights in respect of the right to a fair trial.
Legislation has been passed, and is due to come into effect on June 1st, to the effect that persons hauled in by the forces of order in pursuance of their investigations will have the right to have a lawyer present during the whole of the proceedings, instead of just for thirty minutes of it, as at present.
This is going to give problems to the producers of the police serial 'Engrenages' (or 'Spiral', as it is known on English language television) where the brutality of interrogations forms an integral part of the action...but that's their worry.
Now, in a sudden rush of blood to the head, the Cour de cassation...one of the four Supreme Courts of the French justice system....has announced that as far as it is concerned, from the date of its judgement on Friday April 15th, any verdict in a case where a lawyer was not present for the whole process of interrogation will be annulled on procedural grounds, as being in breach of the Human Rights Convention, which states that all signatory countries must be in compliance, even if their own laws are in breach.
Panic in the dovecotes.
Fancy announcing that just before a weekend! And with the Easter holidays coming up!
The police and gendarmerie are gearing up....setting up information centres to acquaint themselves with the novel idea of having an observer of their traditional practices....
The Parquet (prosecutors' department) is gearing up....wondering what the hell to do about the cases currently in the sausage machine where the accused certainly did not have a lawyer present throughout his interrogation.....
And the avocats (trial lawyers) are gearing up....arranging for more of them to be on call, while wondering whether they will be paid for this service since the law providing for their payment is not yet in force.
The reaction of the avocats in Deux Sevres?
Their batonnier (shop steward) is outraged.
The Cour de cassation has no power to make law.
Quite right, Maitre...but it hasn't. It has just said what it will do in cases where there is a breach of the Convention on Human Rights.
And it's Saturday!
Well spotted, Maitre!
And I can't do anything until I consult my colleagues.
Which would have been on Monday except that they will be on strike on Monday.
Tuesday, then, Maitre?
And in any case, we're not ready. We will not be stampeded and will not be implementing these changes until June 1st, when the law comes into force.
La France profonde has spoken. Law south of the Loire.
So this is the unprecedented opportunity for the inhabitants of Deux Sevres to run riot until midnight on May 31st.
Sure in the knowledge that no lawyer will be accompanying them for the entire duration of an interrogation they can do as they please.
Clout whom they like.
They might well be convicted at first instance in Deux Sevres...but not to worry.
All they have to do is to go to the regional Court of Appeal in Poitiers and their conviction will be overturned for non observance of procedure.
So if you're living in Deux Sevres....lock up your daughters and make way for the Lord of Misrule!
Until midnight on May 31st.