It does not happen every day that the president of a political party tucks an accused of his youth at the courthouse doors; that later, during the trial, the government of which his training is part asks him for a sentence of half a year in jail; and that as a culmination in the same hearing the other defendant is acquitted. This political-judicial cocktail is the one that has been experienced this Monday at the Barcelona Court in the trial against two young people accused of public disorder and of attacking two mossos during a pro-independence general strike in 2019.
The press, including this newspaper, has not been able to follow the entire trial because the court has not allowed journalists access to the courtroom to comply with the measures against COVID-19. In addition, the retransmission offered by the Superior Court of Justice of Catalonia (TSJC) has suffered several technical problems that have prevented the whole session from being followed.
In the legal part of the case, the most relevant thing is what happened a few minutes after the end of the session. The court of section 6 of the Audiencia de Barcelona has issued the acquittal ‘in voce’, by voice, of one of the two defendants –something rare– due to the error made by the Prosecutor’s Office. The Public Ministry demanded eight years in prison for going down to the tracks of the Plaza Catalunya station and interrupting the circulation of trains, something that never really happened.
“It is evident that you have not had any participation in the facts that are the object of the accusation”, has confirmed the president of the court, magistrate José Manuel del Amo. In addition to occupying the roads, the Public Ministry accused the young man of throwing “all kinds of objects” at the Mossos, without further precision. However, none of the agents who have testified in the trial has been able to locate him at the Plaza Catalunya station. Nor has it appeared in the images of the security cameras. The reason, as the defendant himself has stated, is that he did not go down to the station because he went home earlier, once the demonstration for the independence strike of February 21, 2019 ended.
The other defendant will have to wait for the sentence to be passed to find out if he ends up in jail. This is Pol Serena, a member of the ERC youth, to whom the Prosecutor’s Office requests the penalty of eight years in prison for disorders, attacks on agents and minor injuries, while the Generalitat reduces her to six months in prison for a single The crime of attack and claims compensation of 113.77 euros for each of the two agents to whom he threw empty plastic bottles. None of them required medical leave and the most that happened to one of them was a pull on the abductor when dodging the bottle, according to the agent testified.
Clothed by Junqueras
Serena has gone to the Palace of Justice of Barcelona surrounded by the president of ERC, Oriol Junqueras, the party’s spokesperson, Marta Vilalta, and the former health minister and new vice president of the Parliament, Marta Vergés. Several deputies from Junts and the CUP have also attended. Three hours later, Serena heard how the lawyer of the Government of which ERC and Junts are part – and whose president, Pere Aragonès, was invested thanks to a pact with the CUP – asked her for six months in jail for a “basic attack” against the agents of authority.
The case of Serena once again demonstrates the contradiction of the Government of ERC and Junts, which by law is obliged to accuse the alleged causes of the injuries of officials and to request a prison sentence from the independentists who have previously been asked to mobilize in the protests by the procés. To this is added that the pact between CUP and ERC for the investiture of Aragonès included the withdrawal of the Generalitat of the accusations against independentistas.
Despite the fact that outside the courts Serena has accused the policemen of lying, in his statement as a defendant he has corroborated the police version and has admitted that he threw two empty plastic bottles at the agents because, as he has alleged, they found that the Riot police had encapsulated them in the station hall and wanted to “get out of there.” “It has to be understood that it was an act of defense, with no intention of doing harm,” Serena implored the judges.
It will therefore be the court that, in its sentence, definitively resolves a case in which the accusations and defenses agree on the essential fact – the throwing of two plastic bottles at the police – but they greatly disagree in their legal classification: for the Prosecutor’s Office, in line with his severe jail requests against defendants in protests, the action deserves eight years in jail; for the Generalitat, half a year; and for the defense the free acquittal when not seeing any crime.