The life of a judge. Episode 5: Literary-criminal circle

It all started from the “Vienna Girls,” an obsolete local in Cluj where a few “former”, who no longer showed any interest to Security, were feeling good and met every Thursday from five to six. Once they graduated from famous universities like Gherla, Aiud, Canal, etc., they represented an interest as a potential source of inspiration for young former hope, nominally mentioned in a chronic signed by George Calinescu, in a literary magazine that arised between the two wars.

The young man then, now in his sixties, was eavesdropping on veterans conversations, hoping to catch a thread to get inspired. One day, after “breaking” the meeting, “the young man” wasn`t  done talking to my wife’s grandfather – a former bank manager in Alba Iulia – and accompanied him towards the gate of his house. On the opposite side of the street, a gate opened and an elderly lady, dressed in black went out, being greeted by the grandfather. His companion  imitated the gesture, and then asked him, “Who is the madam?”. The answer was: “Is Miss professor X and poet Lucian Blaga` s cousin.” In the other one`s eyes vivid lights were lit and in an overwhelming tone begged the grandfather to present the madam. The grandfather complied and briefly introduced her, but it was only the beginning of a thrilling literary adventure.

After a few days, our young man of letters (in fact a retired lawyer) presented himself with flowers and chocolates at the madam`s door, where it was consumed a protocol and short visit, but not without consequences. It was not until the fourth or fifth visit, that the Mr. decided to approach the subject that he was interested in. He insisted especially on the inestimable value of any document emanating from the great poet. The lady replied that she doesn`t own such valuable documents, but only a few postcards that she received over the years with traditional greetings from the sea and the mountains. The visitor was able to borrow these few postcards and published a montage in the Writers Union`s magazine The Tribune, which was published in Cluj, with the support of poet A.C, the publication`s director. Besides photocopies of the postcards with the poet`s handwritten text, the author added some comments, quite poor, as it was in fact the source.

After the article was published, the daughter of the poet published a note in the journal Contemporary underlining the lack of historical and literary interest and the lack of any other public interest that the source had, noting that, if  there`s a necessity to publish private aspects of the poet`s life, the family will take care of this mission.

This reply aroused a storm. In a long article also published throughout The Tribune, the publication`s director, the poet A.C,  harshly condemned “monopolistic tendencies” of the poet’s daughter. These events were happening in the 70’s when it was not at all indicated to be linked to the “monopolistic tendencies” because the term “monopoly” was associated with capitalism.

Also advised by others, the poet’s daughter filed a criminal complaint against the poet A.C directly, accusing him of slander. The president of Cluj-Napoca Court had the blissful inspiration to assign me the file.

For a year and a half, before me and my panel colleague have strolled all the personalities of the literary movement in Romania: poets, writers, historians, etc. which I listened with great pleasure and I think I had a lot to learn.

When I thought the evidentiary phase ended, the defense reiterated a demand formulated at the first hearing, namely to hear as a witness lady V.G, widow of the poet and of minister O.G, who lived in a villa in Ciucea. We conducted the hearing at home because it was filed a medical certificate which proved that movement was contraindicated. Mrs. V.G welcomed us into her bedroom, hairdressed, with  make-up on and a big day verve. She warned us from the first moment  that she won`t give us any statement, but she will tells us everything we need to know. The defendant, standing and leaning hands on the bed`s headboard exclaimed in a pathetic tone: “Well, Madam Minister, but they are going to put me in jail!” Totally not impressed, Mrs. answer was: “Never mind, sweetie, I carried packages to prison before.” I don`t think that this response gave the defendant more peace and security than he had at the arrival. It is understood that the defendant did not expect in any way prison, but no conviction would have brought the fulfillment of the purpose for which he appeared every time in the process for a year, every two weeks. And the lady witness didn`t  expected questions, instead she told us many interesting things from her point of view that we have not charted since we could not get a witness statement in good shape.

After final discussions we pronounced a sentence of acquittal, confirmed on appeal. The sentence`s motivation was half a page. Basically, I wrote the following: “This was never a criminal trial. It was always a literary cricle”.

prof. Dr. Ion Turcu
retired magistrate

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