Why the lawyer of Thomas N. lost more than just the process
Renate Senn, the lawyer of the four-sex assassin Thomas N. van Rupperswiler, did not have much to gain. But she lost more than the process – even the compensation for her controversial appearance during the trial.
The phone rings on a day in May 2016. The call was to change the life of a previously unknown lawyer. Renate Senn works in a small law firm in Baden and is called as a public defender when an accused person can not pay or wants a lawyer.
On the telephone the public prosecutor reports the next order. In Zürich and Basel-Stadt a neutral body organizes the deployment of the public defenders. In Aargau however, the prosecutor can choose his opponents himself. Because Senn says she is one of the only five public defenders of Aargauer who have received additional training in criminal law.
A few hours earlier, a special detail of the cantonal police stormed the Starbucks site in Aarau. For the police it is a triumph for which she later receives a bonus of 100,000 francs. For Senn, on the other hand, the acceptance of the mandate starts with work that gives her a disastrous turn. At the end she stays on open accounts.
In the beginning, however, it is known nationally in one fell swoop. Figures like Valentin Landmann prove that this does not damage the image to defend perpetrators. But Renate Senn makes a number of mistakes. This begins with her first public statement. She announces that she will not presently defend the suspect in public and will not serve as her "mouthpiece".
In the hustle and bustle of the gruesome act, the public defender forgets its real duty: it does not necessarily defend the act, but rather the perpetrator. Already in the second questioning, Thomas N. makes an extensive confession. The defender can leave it that way and focus on explaining how N. became what he is.
Two years pass for their second public statement; it remains silent until the lawsuit in March 2018. Then the 49-year-old makes three mistakes during the main hearing.
Although she fulfills her task and functions as the mouthpiece of the killer. But she does it in a way that harms everyone. It defends not only the perpetrator, but also the deed. The statements in the first interrogations are considered the most honest. In the beginning, N. takes the greatest responsibility for his act.
But the longer he is facing the researchers and the longer he works with Senn, the less debt he realizes. In her plea, Senn even repressed the victims a partial responsibility for the individual Tatetaps. They would have made it too easy for him to carry out the operation.
Journalists as "bloodhounds"
In the verdict, which the court has sent this week, the judges criticize Senn's statements unusually clear. They would appear as "pure disdain" and "ridicule" of the victims and their relatives. The jurors conclude that N. feels no real regret.
The Code of Criminal Procedure stipulates that the defense only protects the interests of the accused person. Senn & # 39; s defense strategy has impaired N.Renate Senn's second mistake, is her media criticism. It tries to undermine the law by questioning dubious media attention and a violation of the presumption of innocence. So N. was called a "beast" by the boulevard.
Senn describes some journalists in their pleadings as "bloodhounds". The court now finds in the judgment that the defense and certain media with these conditions from the animal kingdom would go on the same linguistic level.
Even with the reference to the injured presumption of innocence, Senn can not score. N. has partly reversed this with his confession, the court argues. And: Anyone who commits a violent and sexual crime that is "unrivaled in terms of horror in Swiss criminal history" must take into account a strong reaction from the media.
Too high prices
The third mistake that Senn makes when she writes the fee accounts for her work. It requires 155,000 francs. In addition, the undeclared expenses for participation in the main hearing plus travel expenses. The Aargauer Anwaltstarif is 200 francs per hour. But Senn demands 220 francs.
In a letter she states that the procedure was very time-consuming. The jurors instruct them with a lesson in algebra: this must be shown in the number of hours and not in the amount of the hourly rate.
But also in the calculation of the number of hours, the court accuses Senn errors. She wrote telephone conversations with the murderer's mother for more than ten hours at 220 francs per hour. That does not belong to the necessary expenses for an official defense, the court means.
Even the newspaper that Senn read wanted to be compensated. This is just as inexplicable, write the jurors, finally there is no connection with media investigations. In addition, Senn spent several hours talking to other lawyers as a trade exchange. Again, this was not justified because it should be sufficiently qualified as a criminal law practice for specialized lawyers to do the work themselves.
The jurors state that they actually have to remove all criticized points from the cost account. For reasons of feasibility & # 39; however, they have opted for a different solution. They pay the crazy bill and cancel Senn's compensation for the main test. This would still make her "extremely reasonable".
This mixed calculation is actually not allowed. Because the defense is financed by the treasury, the court should insist on a precise settlement. However, the deletion of the cost note for the main hearing also has a symbolic component. Senn's argument is not worth the penny.
Renate Senn disagrees. Asked about the reduction of the fees, she refers to a recent article by the Zurich lawyer Lorenz Erni, who is described as the "most successful Swiss defense lawyer" ("Bilanz") and who currently defends the former Raiffeisen president Pierin Vincenz. He discusses that rebellious female defenders, who are energetically committed to their clients, are sometimes punished with a reduction in costs.
Erni also argues that a defense lawyer must defend the interests of an accused person, even if that ultimately damages him. According to this logic, Senn must defend the victims if it were in the interest of Thomas N.
Fake law firm website
Senn said in her first press release, however, "I will do my work with respect and dignity to the victims and relatives who have suffered unimaginable suffering." According to the court, Senn did not live up to its own claim. The verdict is difficult, but well substantiated.
In stark contrast with this are the slander that end up in the relevant websites via Renate Senn. If you google your name, you'll see a blog at the top that collects negative articles. It is run by a certain Max Ruchti from Zurich, who once politicized for the CVP and is a specialist in search engine optimization.
His site has a similar address as the online presence of the law firm. The damage to the image is particularly great, because Senn's partners do not deal with criminal law, but with family law. But the attack is also her own attack. The blogger publishes her home address and mobile number. He wants her phone to stop ringing.
Subscribe to our daily newsletter