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Fraudulent Fertilisation

Episode 48

Ricardo Ludovico Gulminelli
Smaller text sizeDefault text sizeBigger text size Add to my bookshelf epub mobi Permalink Ebook MapMar del Plata, Bosque Peralta Ramos

“Well, before going on, dear colleague, I think it’s necessary to inform you of my requirements as regards fees. I prefer to speak sincerely about the matter right from the outset, what do you think?”

“I think it’s reasonable, of course I don’t think you work for free. Besides, I’m interested in knowing exactly what your demands are, to establish a relationship on a solid basis. What are you thinking of charging me, doctor?”

“Before I tell you, it’s fundamental that we establish succinctly what type of service you want. I’m a bit past it; at my age I’m not in a fit state to go to the trouble of travelling to Mar del Plata periodically. You know that it’s impossible to handle a case from a distance. I want to be absolutely honest with you about this matter. If I had to do all the work, it would cost you a bomb. It wouldn’t be good for you, because my intervention is primarily justified by the focus I can give the matter, the strategy to be defined. In that way, I can structure the defence, give you ideas, contribute precedents, in short, apply all my experience. In exceptional cases, I could travel to Mar del Plata, but I’m not committing myself. There would have to be very special circumstances; not only the advisability of my travelling, but my wish to do so. I’m spelling it out so that you can act freely. I don’t want you to be offended later on. What I’ve taken on as a commitment, I shall fulfil, but beyond that, I can’t promise anything. Is that clear?”

“I understand, Doctor Bareilles, you will limit yourself to giving counsel, fixing the basic lines of our action, the policy to be followed in the trial.”

“That’s right, you’re a very capable person, a university professor. With your suitability and my diligence, I have no doubts. If you want better support, you can go to Federico Lizter, he’s brilliant.”

“Yes, but I’d like the management in Mar del Plata to be undertaken by someone who wasn’t morally committed with me or my family. Federico is an intimate friend, I don’t want to offload such a responsibility onto him alone. I know he’d do the impossible, but perhaps he’d collaborate more efficiently and peacefully as an observer, without clashing directly with these criminals.”

“Well, Burán, you can choose whoever you like, think of another lawyer in your city, unless...”

“Yes, Doctor Bareilles?”

“No, I was just thinking about another possibility... My youngest daughter, Rocío, is a talented lawyer who has been practising the profession for twelve years. Associated with me, she has also specialised in family law. I have entrusted the handling of numerous trials to her, and she has performed impeccably, even some filiation acknowledgement cases. Lately, she has acquired valuable experience through her intervention in some tremendously complicated cases. As you know, during the military repression, many girls classified as subversive gave birth before disappearing. Sometimes, the babies were handed over to couples who wanted to adopt them. The grandparents, thanks to the exhaustive and efficient investigation that some groups have carried out, often found their grandchildren and have presented lawsuits so that their true civil filiation is acknowledged, fundamentally the legitimate paternity of their deceased children. Beyond the insoluble moral and family problem that this situation generates, there judicial ingredients come into play, which will also arise in your case. For example, the need to carry out biological tests. These matters are like water off a duck’s back to Rocío. She has recently participated in several symposiums about bioethics, connected with the impact of new forms of procreation in the legal sphere. She has studied comparative law with relation to artificial insemination, in vitro fertilisation and their legal derivations. They’re very interesting subjects, like that of determining the nature of frozen embryos, or whether it’s lawful to implant them in the uterus of a different woman.”

“Do you think her intervention would be a good idea, Doctor? I’ll do whatever you advise. Federico Lizter told me to follow your opinion, that I could have absolute trust in your capacity and integrity. Intuition tells me my friend is not wrong. Whatever you recommend, I’ll accept. You tell me what fees you charge...”

“I’m grateful for your opinions, Roberto, as well as Lizter’s, such exaggeration cannot but satisfy my ego. I’ll tell you the same as I tell my clients; if I make mistakes, it won’t be on purpose. That’s the only guarantee I can give you... It’s quite a lot considering the bad times that are on the way and the dubious ethics of many of our colleagues. As regards the fees, I won’t base myself on the economic content of the claim, which is astronomical; not only does it cover maintenance for twenty-one years, but also, eventually, your future inheritance. I cannot, however, completely disregard this data. For the job of providing a judicial framework, general counselling and determination of the tactics to be followed through until the end of the trial, I value my remuneration in ten thousand dollars. If I travel to Mar del Plata at any time, for whatever motive connected to the problem, I will invoice it separately, with prior stipulation of the price between us. Do you agree?”

“Yes, doctor. And your daughter? How much will she charge?”

“Ah, I don’t know about that; in the first place, I don’t know if she’ll want to accept the responsibility of conducting a case in Mar del Plata. I don’t know if she’d be prepared to travel there regularly or what kind of services you want her to fulfil.”

Roberto answered hurriedly.

“Fundamentally, I want her to be present at the crucial moments in the trial, the decisive ones, especially those hearings held before the judge.”

“Right, let’s do the following; will you be staying a few more hours in the capital?”

“I came exclusively for this, all my time is devoted to this problem.”

“I understand. In that case I suggest you come back tomorrow at eight o’clock in the morning. I’ve got to meet my daughter at five o’clock this afternoon; I’ll explain the situation to her and we’ll see what she says.”

“Forgive me, doctor,” said Roberto getting up, “I just wanted to ask one question: have you already decided any strategy? Have you any idea of how to face the matter?”

Bareilles responded by reverting to the formal form of address.

“Relax, colleague, it’s too soon to give an opinion. We have to delve a lot deeper yet, let’s give it a bit of time.”

He went on less formally.

“Don’t forget, my boy: I only found out about your problem a few hours ago, I need to ponder it, to digest it... Meanwhile, the conversation with my daughter this afternoon will be very useful. We’ve got one thing in our favour. By coincidence, she also read the letter you sent me. Therefore, she is already familiar with the details of this lamentable and singular case. See you later?”

“See you later,” said Roberto.

Translation: Peter Miller (© 2002)
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Copyright ©Ricardo Ludovico Gulminelli, 1990
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Date of publicationAugust 2002
Collection RSSGlobal Fiction
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