Wednesday, January 26

Jackie Gravini, retired “mascot” and memory of the court of Bastia

“Memory”, “barometer” or “mascot” of the Bastia courthouse: Jackie Gravini, 64, has been attending almost all the hearings of the Corsican court for more than 20 years, a passion born in the trial of the accused of one of his murdered friends.

Short gray hair, benevolent eyes, this little piece of woman, who presents himself as the “mascot” of the place, does not go unnoticed in the court.

Upon reception, the officers greet her. Within the walls of the palace, clerks, lawyers and magistrates greet, smile and take news to this retiree who worked for “thirty years” as an employee in a delicatessen.

“Justice taught me a lot”, confides to AFP the one who was at school “only until 3rd”. “It brought me to the level of writing, I made mistakes, I hardly do any more because I listen to lawyers, I learned to express myself”, she continues.

A justice which “fascinates” her but which “does not always understand” and which “should be more severe”, according to her.

It is a drama which made him discover the courtrooms: “I lost a very dear friend, assassinated in 2006. I followed the trial of his assassination in 2008 at the assizes of Bastia and since then I have continued”.

“This friend had a piano bar in Bastia. He was racketed and at one point, he got tired of paying, so people made an appointment with him and they murdered him and threw him into a ravine”, she remembers.

First acquitted “, the defendants were” all sentenced to between 15 and 20 years in prison “on appeal, she adds.

– “Very informative” –

Since then, she assists assiduously and without taking notes, “four to five days a week”, to correctional hearings, immediate appearances and assize trials.

“It is the memory of our courthouse,” lawyer Jean-Sébastien de Casalta told AFP.

If she is loyally interested in so many trials, “it is not out of unhealthy curiosity” but because “it is very informative, the pleadings of the lawyers, the requisitions, the functioning of justice”.

Its presence is sometimes misunderstood. “One day an inmate sent his mother to me to find out why I was there.” “I said to him: + Tell your son that I am not there for him, I follow the audiences, it is my passion +”.

Even on vacation in Nice, she did not resist going to follow a trial at the assizes. “It rained for five days,” she explains, smiling.

Born on April 6, 1957 in Pietranera, in Cap Corse, in the north of this Mediterranean island, this only daughter specifies having lost her father “in a plane crash in 1962” and her mother “20 years ago. cancer”.

“I am alone but very surrounded by good friends”, underlines this lover of “info”, “TV films, police and legal series”, but also walking.

Stéphanie Pradelle, deputy prosecutor of Bastia, who “exchanges from time to time during the recess of hearing” with this “witness of Bastia’s judicial history”, welcomes “this enthusiasm for justice”.

– “Fragment of democracy” –

“It’s interesting because she sees all the prosecutors scroll, she sometimes has comments on the quality of the requisitions and it is the only one who can compare them”, underlines the magistrate.

For Me Francesca Seatelli, “Jackie is the barometer. She has a precise, detailed opinion on each lawyer, on the pleadings, it is a precious source of information even if today, she is so familiar with ‘exercise that we can no longer compare it to the average juror “.

A role of juror that she “dreams” of holding but without succeeding, for lack of being drawn by lot.

“When I see jurors who slip away, who do not want, who are afraid …, I tell myself + it’s only me that doesn’t happen +”, regrets the retiree who would have liked to work in justice , “rather on the decision side”.

Me Yassine Maharsi, of the Paris bar, sees it as “a fragment of democracy whose witness-gaze consoles for the brutality of the criminal trial”.

For him, if “justice is done in the name of the French people”, “this abstract expression takes on its full meaning with Jackie’s smile”.

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