Domestic violence: ‘It was a small kitchen knife’

Levis, 37, is warned of violence and death threats against his partner. He allegedly brandished a knife and punched Foulemata, who was shocked to call the police. At the helm of the Pontoise Criminal Court, without a lawyer, Levis minimizes. The bourgeois party’s bank is empty.

Courthouse in Pontoise (Photo: ©J. Mucchielli)

One winter evening, Levis returns home to Garges-lès-Gonesse, where he lives with his wife. He and Foulemata have not been married to a registry office, but to God for 4 years and that is all that matters to them. They argue very often. This evening of February 15, 2021, the police discover Foulemata squatted at the bottom of the elevator of the building, paralyzed. Levis is in the apartment. Foulemata explains that he has threatened her with a knife and has already done so three times. He insulted her and also threatened her with death, and that happened much more often. Foulemata says she is afraid and wants to be separated from him. She is being cared for, but does not go to the doctor who could see a total work stoppage (ITT), which will allow her to assess her damage. Levis is being prosecuted for assault and death threats based solely on the elements collected that night. A judicial check forces him to point to the police station and prevents him from seeing Foulemata. Levis will be summoned on January 5, 2022 before the Criminal Court of Pontoise to be tried by a formation of one judge.

Neither victim nor lawyer

Hands behind his back, then on the desk, then in his pockets, Levis seeks peace in this small room full of defendants waiting, families of defendants waiting, lawyers waiting. The judge has just summarized the facts and noted two absences: that of the victim and that of a lawyer – Levis will plead for himself, that is, he will not plead. Everything is fully contained in the interrogation that follows.

‘Sir, do you confirm that you threatened your wife with a knife?

“To be honest, it wasn’t a knife. It was a small kitchen knife. I never intended to use it, we argued and it was very tense, I wanted….

“Sorry what did you say?”

– I didn’t say anything. Under no circumstances could I have placed a knife. I just took the knife, I told him to leave, go to his parents.

“So it was a knife.

“Just a small kitchen knife.”

“And why did you take this knife?”

– She hit me, it was to calm the situation, and she leaves.

“She says you punched her in the eyebrow and put her to sleep, do you agree?”

“I don’t recognize any shots.”

“And the insults?”

– Yes, I recognize the insults.

“Were you very upset?”

– Yes

– Why ?

“I was on my way home from work and we really got into a fight over family disputes.

– Does it happen often or is it the first time?

— Yes… She’s already kicked me, I’ve never hit her.

“Then why is she telling the police you hit her before?”

‘Because I’d already slapped him. Usually it’s a blow, that’s all.

– What is violence to you?

‘I’ve never been violent.

– Is a blow violent?

– Yes.

“Can you face court for just pushing someone?”

“Yes Yes.

– I confirm it to you. †

serious facts

Judge: Sir, did you divorce Mrs. today?

– No.

“Have you reconnected?”

– Yes.

“After the end of the judicial review?”

— About 3 months after the end of the judicial review.

“And why isn’t she here today?”

– I don’t know.

No civil party, the word is with the public prosecutor for her claims. She resumes the disclosure of the facts and deduces from Levis’ statements that he did indeed threaten his companion with a knife and that he also beat her. Because according to her these are “serious” facts, but he is not a repeat offender, she demands 8 months in prison.

Levis doesn’t argue, he prefers to finish it. However, he will have to wait many more hours. He greets an acquaintance in front of the hall: the man is also summoned as a suspect and will be tried immediately afterwards. But unlike his friend, Levis is not released. The judge sentences him to 6 months in prison and to a domestic violence awareness course which, if not carried out, could cost him 4 months in prison.

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