JUDr. Josef Lžičař

* 1944  

  • "I only went to catechism for a short time before I found out the confession secrete is almost non-existent. I have learned it on my own case when I went to the first holy communion, we had a booklet of sins, and if you didn't confess all of them, you risk eternal damnation. So I memorized the book all over, from start to finish, so I could accept the wafer. After two years, I learned that the pastor had told my mother that I had a great memory, that I had learned even the sins that I could not have committed. So since then, I've been thinking, 'So what's the secret of confession?' Well, because I learned it by heart. But it was gratifying, that I was thought to have a great memory. "

  • "He was, in a sense - I don't mean 'proud' - he didn't want to tear up the party, because in my opinion he almost didn't participate in VONS's communication, because he lived at that time ... or stayed mostly at Hrádek. There were other people more active there, and that was, I think, Petr Uhl, Dienstbier, Ottka Bednářová, Dana Němcová and someone else was there. But he didn't want to give up in any way, so he didn't even want to defend himself. He defended himself quite well, because at that time he clearly told me to say anything so as not to hurt myself, and he would say some things to himself. So there was an agreement between us that I could defend myself. I know that the materials are preserved and that if I take it ex-post, I'd say that even today I probably wouldn't defend him in another way ... because I defended him based on the fact, that neither subjective nor objective side was given of the activity , but he in fact didn't want to comment on that- on his activities."

  • "It is forgotten that several positive steps were taken at the time, and we aren’t talking about them in the present, these steps ensured, that we- lawyers, defence attorneys, can enter the state of the investigation. Because the biggest atrocities of the former regime happened in the 1950s when the prosecution was responsible for the state of the investigation. The prosecutor was actually a powerful master in the trial, and the attorney received the file only before the trial when the investigation was completed. That’s why the courts were organized like this, the influence of the prosecutor was immense and indisputable, he also decided about the punishments. I know this ex-post, from the literature when I read Margolia, who describes the memoirs of his father. The prosecutors were, in fact, influencing the whole criminal proceedings. Because of that, I say that it was a favourable period from 1962, 1963 until maybe the end of 1970, when a number of people realised that the criminal proceedings cannot continue like this, and it is necessary to implement some changes and amendments. One of the most important amendments that allowed a lawyer and defence attorney to enter the proceedings, investigation or pre-trial phase – it is spicy and strange – was based on a resolution by the Central Committee of Communist Party of Czechoslovakia about the improvement of effectivity of defence in the pre-trial phase. An amendment, allowing the lawyer to accompany the client to an investigation, was adopted in 1965.

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    Praha, 10.05.2019

    duration: 01:56:18
    media recorded in project Stories of the 20th Century TV
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Advocate of Václav Havel

Josef Lžičař in 2019, portrait
Josef Lžičař in 2019, portrait
photo: natáčení Post Bellum

Josef Lžičař was born on June 6, 1944 in Švábenice in Moravia. In 1966 he graduated from the Faculty of Law of Charles University. He was supposed to become an investigator with the Municipal Administration of Public Security, but because he was relieved of his military duties due to health reasons, he could not hold office, so he started working as a lawyer. In 1971, for the first time, he led a defence in the case of attempted subversion of the Republic. In 1979, he defended Václav Havel in a well-known trial with representatives of the Committee for the Defense of the Unjustly Prosecuted (VONS), and ten years later he defended him after his arrest for participating in Palach Week. After the Velvet Revolution, he became head of the Office of the President of the Republic, but soon faced suspicions that he had cooperated with the State Security in 1979–1980, and resigned. Josef Lžičař fundamentally denies cooperation with the StB, and also refuses that he withdrew from the presidential office due to his past of an StB agent. In the post-November period, he continued his earlier profession, and as a lawyer defended clients in a number of media famous trials.