The president of the Parliament, Laura Borràs, has asked the Superior Court of Justice of Catalonia (TSJC) that, before sending her to trial, consult the Constitutional Court (TC) if she can be tried by a popular jury, despite the fact that the law excludes juries the crime of prevarication for which she has been prosecuted.
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This has been requested by Borràs in an appeal that he has filed before the civil and criminal chamber of the TSJC after Judge Jordi Seguí left her this Thursday one step away from trial for prevarication, fraud, falsehood in a commercial document and embezzlement for “abusing” allegedly from his position at the head of the Institució de les Lletres Catalanes (ILC) to award 18 minor contracts to a friend by finger, reports EFE.
Borràs’ appeal seeks to gain time (a consultation with the Constitutional Court takes months to process) in the face of the political earthquake that is looming once the TSJC issues an oral trial against her. This will happen once the Prosecutor presents an indictment in the coming weeks.
The Parliament’s regulations establish that “in cases in which the accusation is for crimes related to corruption”, the Board of the Catalan chamber, “once the act of opening the oral trial is final and it is aware of it, it must agree the suspension of parliamentary rights and duties immediately”. ERC and the CUP have already hinted that they will drop Borràs.
Before the TSJC definitively resolves to send her to trial, Borràs’s lawyers, Gonzalo Boye and Isabel Elbal, ask the Catalan High Court to raise an issue of unconstitutionality so that the TC decides whether to maintain the exclusion of the crime of prevarication in trials with popular jury.
Borràs requests in the letter that a popular jury be the one to judge her, despite the fact that the law prevents it in cases of prevarication crimes: “We believe that the natural judge of all power is none other than the citizen who has elevated that position”.
“It does not seem compatible with the postulates of equality before the Law that those who have the most protection -in many cases even privileges- and those who hold and exercise the most power -officials, authorities and judges- also have a second protection consisting of being excluded. of prosecution by citizens”, in cases of prevarication, he points out.
In this sense, the appeal considers “it is evident that those who may be at risk of being prosecuted by citizens, in the performance of their public functions, have wanted to protect themselves from an institution not only deeply rooted in democracy and liberalism (the popular jury) but, above all, with a solid constitutional foundation, excluding itself from prosecution by its own natural judge.”
According to Borràs’ lawyers, the “express” exclusion of the crime of prevarication in popular jury trials “lacks any type of justification, not only technical but even in terms of criminal policy.”
“The exception to the crime of prevarication has little or no constitutional basis,” says the appeal, which highlights that the Law of the Jury intended the participation of citizens in the administration of justice and that if they are vetoed in these cases they cannot act as an “effective counterpower of those who hold power”.
For this reason, it considers that in this case it is necessary for the TSJC, before taking the final step of sending her to trial, to ask the Constitutional Court whether article 5.2 of the Jury Law, which excludes the crime of prevarication, should be maintained. “because in a democratic society such exclusions, self-protective prerogatives, do not seem to have an adequate fit in the right to equality before the Law”.
Alternatively, Borràs’s lawyers ask that the case be separated from the crime of prevarication so that in the rest of the crimes it can be tried by a popular jury.