At the Troadec trial, an indictment against fear

At the Nantes court, June 23, 2021, on the second day of the Troadec trial. SÉBASTIEN SALOM-GOMIS / AFP

Two voices answer each other, combine, saturate the space of the assize court. That of Charlotte Gazzera, straight, taut, sharp, biting, from the top of the prosecution desk. That of Stéphane Cantéro, fiery and bubbling, from the courtroom. They converge on a single goal: to convince the court and the jurors of Loire-Atlantique, who are judging the Troadec case, to pronounce the maximum sentence incurred by the two defendants.

Against Hubert Caouissin, life imprisonment, with twenty-two years of security. “Aggravated murder is punishable by life imprisonment. You judge here an aggravated murder followed by a first crime. From a second crime. From a third crime. From a fourth crime ”, stated Stéphane Cantéro. Against his partner Lydie Troadec, three years in prison without parole for the two offenses – concealment of corpses and alteration of a crime scene – he is charged with.

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Collective dread

The indictment in two voices pronounced Tuesday, July 6 is as much exorcism as an outlet. Faced with the murders of Pascal, Brigitte, Charlotte and Sébastien Troadec in their Orvault pavilion on the night of February 16 to 17, Charlotte Gazzera summons the collective fear they aroused.

That of ” next day “ lived by a family “Deprived of body, deprived of mourning”, by a neighborhood “Who realizes that the grumpy neighbor to whom we did not necessarily say hello was killed with his family while we were sleeping”, by an agglomeration “Already marked by a family tragedy [l’affaire Dupont de Ligonnès], who has the impression that history is repeating itself ”, by a region “Who could not conceive that the fantasy of the gold crate fallen from the cargo during the second world war would unleash such family passions”. Charlotte Gazzera submits them before the court and the jurors, like so many horrified witnesses that she asks them to take in their deliberation. “The atrocity of the crimes committed must take precedence over the deep motivations of the one who took action”, she says.

To Orvault’s horror, four expert psychiatrists gave another name, the “Delirium for two, mental contagion. The idea of ​​one becomes that of the other ”. “Psychiatry has never known one as perfect as this one”, had observed Doctor Michel Dubec, charged with his colleagues Daniel Zagury, Roland Coutanceau and Paul Bensussan to examine the accused. Heard on Friday 2 and Monday 5 July, all concluded that the judgment had been altered for Hubert Caouissin, three of them made the same diagnosis on Lydie Troadec.

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