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Fraudulent Fertilisation

Episode 75

Ricardo Ludovico Gulminelli
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At half past ten, Federico and Adolfo met Roberto at court. They asked to speak to Doctor Raúl Santini, examining magistrate in the criminal court. They were immediately dealt with and taken to the magistrate’s office, which was furnished comfortably and simply.

Raúl Santini is forty-three years old; when he was twenty he already worked as a simple employee in a court office. He has accumulated a lot of experience and exercises his position with humility, but also great energy. Very thin, without being skinny, fibrous, nervous, he is agile and strong, a good sportsman. He has a dominant personality and firm convictions. He is reserved and fulfils his function without drawing attention to himself. His colourless countenance makes him look old. He is balding and his dark temples are splashed with grey hairs.

Santini received them pleasantly. The first one to speak was Federico Lizter. He said, “Doctor Santini, we’ve taken the liberty of disturbing you because we’re worried about a very serious matter. Doctor Burán is personally affected, he has signed this document as plaintiff and as the injured party. It has been drafted with great attention to detail, perhaps it seems a bit tiresome, but it will reveal all the details to you. We also show you what type of measures we request and the reason for the request; we simply wanted to ask you, as far as possible, to give maximum priority to our matter. Time is of the essence, a delay could render the investigation worthless. In addition, we ask you for absolute confidence, we’re afraid of some kind of misfeance. Don’t be offended, Doctor, we don’t mistrust any employees of the court; it’s just that the factor of surprise is fundamental. If the other party finds out, all our efforts will be in vain... That’s why we think it’s worth taking precautions.”

Santini fixed his gaze on Federico and spoke.

“Doctor Lizter, I understand your concern, don’t worry, I’ve been in this position for many years; I know what to do. I’m not offended by your mistrust, but I beg you to stick to formulating the pertinent petitions. Now, I’m going to read this document carefully, I’ll expect you in an hour. Don’t announce your arrival, just knock on my door straight away, I’ll let you in... Goodbye...”

At 11.40 they were before the judge again. He was serious and thoughtful.

“Sit down, doctors,” he said, “I’ve read the lawsuit: it is without doubt an unusual situation. I understand that your presence in my office is a sign of seriousness. You, Doctor Burán, I suppose you have foreseen the consequences of your serious accusations.”

“I’ve thought about it long and hard, your honour,” said Roberto, “everything I say is the absolute truth. You can be sure of that; otherwise I would never dare appear before you.”

The magistrate continued:

“I’ve seen some incredible cases in this job, but I must say yours is one of the most surprising. The urgency of the request is more than evident and the measures you ask for are extreme. It’s clear that, before searching the addresses of Doctor Álvez and Ms Artigas, I have to weigh up the risks. In any case, before taking a decision I’d like to listen to you, Doctor Burán. I’d like you to answer some questions...”

“Ask away, I’m at your service,” answered Burán.

The magistrate went on:

“Right, doctor, tell me, what relationship do you have with Miss Sandrelli at the moment?”

“At the moment, none.”

The magistrate went on investigating:

“Doctor Burán, this woman, would she be prepared to confess that she obtained your sperm fraudulently? Are you sure?”

“Almost,” answered Roberto, “I don’t think she’ll go back on her word. She acted under pressure from Álvez, she didn’t do it freely, she didn’t even know what my sperm would be used for.”

Federico Lizter intervened:

“Your honour, we believe that the mere manifestation of the facts implies that there is a true background. You must have perceived it already... We acknowledge that it’s serious to search an address, but it’s more serious to defraud an innocent man, to use a kid to make money. Doctor Burán, as the injured party, has the right to request the searches. They are useful proceedings to verify the crime and discover the guilty parties. On the other hand, your honour, it’s the function of the court to verify the existence of a punishable fact and to identify the guilty parties. Doctor Burán accepts full responsibility for his accusations; if necessary he will offer a secured bail bond to the court. We will guarantee the necessary solvency to assure that if there are damages to the accused, they can be reimbursed.”

“I know what my function is, Doctor Lizter, and what guarantees to request. My questions are to obtain more information with regard to the facts. I want to know why Miss Sandrelli has only just confessed her guilt now.”

“Because she thinks it’s fair,” said Adolfo, “she’s very ashamed. She wants to make up for her mistakes, she’s a good person, Doctor Santini.”

The magistrate went on asking questions:

“And are you sure that you’ll find something at the addresses you want to search?”

“No, doctor,” answered Federico, “but we must try, as soon as possible.”

“Don’t be impatient, Lizter, you’re in a great hurry...”

“I’m sorry,” said Federico, “you must understand me, the victim is a close friend, your honour. I know his version is truthful and I’m worried that the proof might disappear. We don’t want to cause unnecessary damage, we just ask that the documentation which bears strict relation with the accused criminal be retained. If such evidence does not exist, no instrument will be removed.”

Doctor Santini said, “Listen, doctors, it’s twenty past twelve, do you think Ms Cáceres and Ms Sandrelli can be here by one o’clock?”

“No problem, we’ll bring them,” said Adolfo.

“Right then, do so, I’ll expect you. I want their testimony, then I’ll give my ruling...”

Exactly at the appointed hour, Estela Cáceres and Alicia arived at court. Santini took their statements personally, without anyone in the court finding out. Their declaration confirmed the accusation; the judge took twenty minutes to rule, then he called the three lawyer friends in.

“Doctors,” he said, “I’ve taken a decision. Given the circumstances, I believe there are sufficient pieces of circumstantial evidence to order searches of the three addresses shown. I think useful objects for the discovery and verification of the truth might be found there. I’ve spoken on the telephone to Police Headquarters and given them instructions to put themselves at the disposition of the right court personnel. My secretary, Doctor Guerrino, will be present at the proceedings carried out at the house of Ms Artigas. Meanwhile, I’ll go personally to Doctor Álvez’s practice. These two proceedings will be carried out simultaneously to make sure the accused can’t destroy evidence. Meanwhile, the police will make sure no one enters the apartment rented by Doctor Álvez. Only documentation found during the search which bears strict relation to the reported crime will be retained. The search will be carried out in the presence of the interested parties, or the person acting on their behalf. If the accused or their representatives are not present, the proceedings will be carried out before two witnesses. The police do not know which addresses will be searched. Only at the moment of my order taking effect will they be informed. I suggest we meet at court at five o’clock this afternoon. The policemen who will collaborate with the carrying out of the measures will be here at that time. You can read the ruling now, the file will remain in my office. Any questions?

After a prolonged silence, Roberto spoke:

“No, doctor, I’d just like to thank you for your diligence and your responsibility.”

“I’m just doing my duty, nothing more,” said Santini. “I have to go, I leave you in the company of my secretary, Doctor Carlos Guerrino. Until later, doctors.”

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