soon a dog to help “free speech”

To experience it is to adopt it.

“We have requested a legal assistance dog for the Lyon court,” announces its president, Michaël Janas.

The animal will be able to accompany and reassure the victims, during the investigation phases, as well as at the trial.

The “area of ​​intervention” of the canine is “extremely broad”, underlines the prosecutor of Lyon, Nicolas Jacquet, in the same press release.

He cites “the hearing of minors, but also of adults, at the stage of the investigation, but also of the judgment, in the premises of the investigating services, in the offices of the judges, or in public hearing”.

The court of Lyon called, for the first time, a legal assistance dog, in June, for the hearing, by an investigating judge, of twelve victims of rape and sexual assault, in the same case.

“Lol brought serenity to the victims”

The Lol Labrador, the first trained to help victims in Europe, was made available for this experiment by the Cahors court, which had imported the concept from North America, in 2019.

“This dog brought serenity to the victims […], during extremely trying auditions”, praises Michaël Janas. Some victims “explain that the mere presence of the dog allowed them to free their speech”, specifies the press release.

Five of them “maintained, during almost the entire hearing, physical contact” with Lol.

” I was stressed. The dog calmed me down. I was able to caress him throughout the hearing, “confided, for his part, this summer, in our columns Mathis (assumed name), one of the victims of the man, who would have abused 33 boys, many of them minors, between 1986 and 2021.

The request for a legal assistance dog by the Lyon court is “a very good thing”, greets Me Jean Sannier, the lawyer for more than a dozen plaintiffs, in this case.

“A real accompaniment effect”

In the office of the examining magistrate, he observed that “when the situation became emotionally intrusive, when the tears stifled the words of a victim who could no longer speak, the dog would put its paw on his thigh, rub against His legs. It had a real accompanying effect that we lawyers cannot have. You can’t pick up a victim. »

He continues: “All those I assisted, except one, told me that they had been soothed by the dog; that it had allowed speech to come out more easily; that had demystified the place. It’s not easy to talk about your body which has been violated, about extremely intimate things”.

Half a dozen legal assistance dogs are currently operational in France.

Two of them accompany victims and the driver implicated, in the ongoing trial, in Marseille, of the fatal collision of Millas, between a train and a bus.

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