The judicial world in turmoil

By Camille FratiLex Kleren Switch to French for original article

A strange case pits André Lutgen, a leading lawyer, against the public prosecutor who is accusing him of contempt and intimidation of an investigating judge. The lawyer will appear this week before the district court under the eyes of flabbergasted and worried colleagues.

It is common to praise the harmonious relations between the various branches of justice – magistrates, court clerks, lawyers, etc. – and the fact that they are all working entirely together in a professional manner. The smooth functioning of justice depends on their cordial understanding – or at least their professional cooperation. If everyone does his or her job properly, the conditions are right for the truth to come out and for justice to be done.

In practice, as everywhere, friction and tension can arise. But they rarely, if ever, lead to a courtroom. However, this is what happened to André Lutgen, a leading barrister and seasoned criminal lawyer who, for the record, was himself an examining magistrate from 1978 to 1993. He has been charged with contempt and intimidation of a magistrate and will appear next week before the Luxembourg district court sitting in correctional matters.

"It's a crazy story", said François Prum, who will be assisting Lutgen at the hearing alongside Maximilien Lehnen.
The facts date back to May 2019. On May the 27th, an ArcelorMittal employee working at the Differdange rolling mill was electrocuted inside an electrical cabinet and died. As is the rule, the perimeter was cordoned off and seals were placed on the circuit breaker by order of the examining magistrate while the experts examined it. Their arrival is supposed to take place the following week, which poses an economic risk to the company, since the power cut means that production will be slowed down or even stopped, with consequences for other sites of the steelmaker. ArcelorMittal estimates the economic damage of a week-long production stoppage at 20.5 million euros, not counting the partial unemployment of 200 employees.

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