There are two Bertrand Leclercs. The first is invisible and sails with the wind. Master on port as well as on starboard of a universe which he “does not share”. The sea is “the refuge”, the space which allows “to close the curtain behind you and to change the world”. In the other world, there is the prosecutor Bertrand Leclerc. Never very far from the bar of the courtroom, which sometimes serves as an armrest for those lost in the crime, sometimes as a compass for repeat offenders who keep coming back to it.
The life of the prosecutor is a shared weather forecast, between the turmoil which can spoil leisure time, and the storms which will necessarily nourish the careers of all those who rub shoulders with the criminal justice system. He started very early. His father is one of those great cops who “gave him access to a universe”. That of the investigation, of the investigation. With family life turned upside down, the “cut off vacations”, but this atmosphere loaded with business that “was out of the ordinary”.
“I thought I was going to write the stolen checks. And it did not fail, I ended up with the stolen checks ”.
Bertrand Leclerc is literary, but he will practice law. Become a police officer, in turn? “My father told me that it was an exciting job, but that we always stayed at the raw level of things, face to face with the event. As a magistrate, I could see what was happening to the work that the police do and bring my added value to it ”. He joined the school of magistrates, with the idea of becoming an examining magistrate. Missed: “no place”. We direct the native of Rennes … to the Rennes court, to the prosecution, as a substitute. “I thought I was going to write the stolen checks. And it did not fail, I ended up with the stolen checks. »He discovers the permanence, the constant urgency, and the criminal hearings.
“There, when you were on duty and you were called, you jumped in your pants, because it was almost always serious business.”
Banditry and hold-up
Four Breton years earned him a promotion: in Aix-en-Provence (Bouches-du-Rhône), he “changed planet”. “I’m discovering the world of banditry, with the nightclub war and the Marseille thugs not far away, hold-ups that go wrong… and the assizes. There, when you were on duty and you were called at night, you would jump in your pants, because it was almost always serious business. “
From Aix, he was transferred to Strasbourg (Bas-Rhin), where he took care of narcotics. Before being appointed prosecutor of Saint-Malo (Ille et Vilaine). An old-fashioned tribunal – the courtroom was a chapel. “But note that in Aix, he was in old clinics, and the instruction was installed in old delivery rooms. »Saint-Malo, which he left at the very beginning of the Dickinson case.
Creation of Jirs
“Prosecutor, it is a profession of authority, but which requires a lot of flexibility and humility”. The prosecution is also “the only place where you learn all the criminal law”. From simple theft to homicide, including financial crime or the fight against corruption, which have marked his career.
It is a profession of constant, difficult choices. The prosecutor is a pilot running at 160 an hour, who must constantly make course decisions without knowing the map in advance. “It is sometimes difficult to understand, from the outside. But our role is to continue with knowledge of the law, with the idea of obtaining a result ”. Charging investigators or hearings for cases that will not lead to convictions, that is the moral dilemma of the prosecution.
But all of these experiences allow him to find serenely, one fine day, his first love, with a post of examining magistrate. In 2004, he participated in the creation and implementation of the Specialized Interregional Jurisdiction (Jirs), responsible in Rennes for judging the largest Breton criminal cases. “Exciting business” with “international cooperation”.
“Nothing obliges to be sinister”
He then becomes prosecutor again in Brest, where he will deal in particular with cases of marine pollution by ships, and will request in the case of the sinking of the trawler Sokalique sunk by a fleeing cargo ship… Then in Saint-Brieuc. “Prosecutor, it is a profession full of subjugation, which often impedes the youngest magistrates today”. A “disenchantment” with the floor due to schedules, responsibilities, and the risk of “public exposure”. But it’s also a profession that you can shape in your own way.
Because it is not possible to evoke Bertrand Leclerc without evoking humor. “A prosecutor always acts with his face uncovered,” he smiles as he takes off his mask, to deliver a speech on the occasion of his departure party. Visiting the shipyards of Saint-Nazaire (Loire-Atlantique), he launches to a deputy prosecutor: “Astonishing, this place where people really do sheet metal”.
This is because the magistrate considers himself “more cordial than formal”. “A prosecutor is not a comic, but nothing obliges to be sinister, and one can make smile, or make squeal, even under the gold of the court. “