Celta de Vigo waited just a few hours after the trial for sexual assault against Santi Mina was seen for sentencing to confirm that the footballer, one of their highest scoring forwards, is called for this Saturday’s game, which will be against Real Madrid in the Vigo countryside of Balaídos. He argues that he is applying the presumption of innocence, as he has been doing since a court in Almería decided, in November 2019, to carry out the process against the player. This Friday the team’s coach, Eduardo Coudet, was in charge of giving explanations in public: “We are all innocent until the Justice says otherwise.” “I talked to him to find out how he was and I’ll talk a little more when we meet. He is an important player and that is why he is in the squad”, he added. The club promised through the mouth of its president, Carlos Mouriño, “zero tolerance”, but after there is a conviction.
The lawyer asks the detective hired by the soccer player Santi Mina if the victim “was wearing skirts and tight clothes”
The team does not clarify, however, if that zero tolerance will take effect immediately in the event that the Court of Almería, in whose third section the case is judged, sentences Mina or if it will wait for the sentence to be final and no longer fit more resources. The decision that is adopted in this instance will be appealable in higher echelons of Justice. Although it considers the player guilty, it will not necessarily imply putting him in prison. In the event that the path is extended to the Supreme Court, the process could last many months and even years, according to legal sources. Each season playing with his current salary brings him an income of 1.4 million euros.
Members of feminist platforms claim that the first sentence, if it is a conviction, should mean that the team disassociates itself from Santi Mina. “If not, he would be doing the opposite of what he says, he would be having a policy of tolerance with sexual assaults,” says Jéssica Fernández, from the Galician Feminist Platform in Vigo. In fact, she makes it ugly that the striker is on the list of players that the coach has for the game the same week as the trial. “We are also going to wait for the sentence, but we are disappointed, we think that they could push it aside a bit”, she exposes. Rebeca Martínez, from Unitarian Feminism of Vigo, expresses herself in the same sense, who believes that, if he is considered guilty, Celta should separate him “for hygiene” and assures that they will put pressure if it is not so.
After all the statements of those involved, witnesses and experts, the Prosecutor’s Office maintains its request for eight years in prison for Mina and the exoneration of David Goldar, the other footballer who sat with him on the bench. Although the prosecutor sees no crime in the conduct of the Unión Deportiva Ibiza player, the private prosecution continues to consider him a necessary cooperator and asks for each of the men nine and a half years in prison.
Exculpatory strategy and questioning of the victim
The defense strategy of the two footballers was clear from their own statement, on the first day: exculpatory account and questioning of the victim. That first day, in which, in addition to Mina and Goldar, the victim responded in court, was behind closed doors. The request came precisely from the woman’s lawyer, who proposed the measure to protect her privacy. The two players maintained, as it transpired later, that the relations were consensual. The next step was to focus on the victim and question her behavior or that she suffers the consequences that the psychologists of the Institute of Legal Medicine of Almería declared that she presents. The defense of the Celta striker hired a private detective to investigate the complainant, a resource also used in the case of La Manada de Pamplona and which has deserved criticism from feminist platforms.
Rebeca Martínez believes that the entire process has been “degrading” and considers that this type of argument should be “abolished”. “It is not valid to ask these types of questions,” she says, referring to questions from Mina’s lawyer about clothing – some of them referring to whether she wore short skirts and tight clothes – and the complainant’s social activities. Jéssica Fernández affirms that “revictimization is institutionalized again” and points out the similarity between the approaches of the defenses in this trial and that of La Manada. “There was condemnation [en el caso de La Manada]but it seems that the aggressors do not learn and repeat these sexist and patriarchal strategies”, he continues and considers that the intention is “to justify the previous aggression in the subsequent behavior of the victim”.
At trial, the detective pointed out that he investigated the victim in July and October 2019, two years after the reported events. The purpose of the commission, he said, was to check whether she was with friends, had a partner or had changed her way of dressing. Mina’s lawyer, Fátima Rodríguez, asked her at the hearing if the woman “wore skirts and tight clothes” or if she led a “normal” social life, according to what she published. The Voice of Almeria. The private detective said he had seen “nothing abnormal.” He also admitted to having no knowledge of psychology or medicine.
On this point, Jéssica Fernández emphasizes that the advice of mental health professionals is to try to recover life prior to the traumatic event as far as possible. “If it were another crime, like a robbery, no one would ask you if you later paid cash again, nor would they put a detective on you to see if you were walking down the street alone with money. In cases of sexual assault, they seek, once again, to lock the woman in the house”, she reflects.
The psychologists who saw the victim in August 2019 were clear in their statement. The victim presented symptoms of severe anxiety, depression, impaired self-esteem and post-traumatic stress. They described the depression as “serious”, as “a state of sadness that has almost become chronic”. One of them insisted on what a post-traumatic stress disorder like that of women implies and pointed out that “it only refers to a specific fact, not to a story, not to 50,000 things” and specified that it does not derive from other previous issues. of their life. The symptoms, she added, are consistent with the facts she relates. She also pointed out that a victim of sexual assault may have “relatively normal” habits and that her emotional state “is not linear”, but is more like “saw teeth”.
The forensic doctors confirmed that the woman had four extragenital injuries – bruises – and one genital, all of them compatible with the narrated facts. Before the gynecological examination, she showed me “nervous” and with an “anxious rejection” of the examination that she had to undergo. The prosecutor noted in his final report that traces of Mina’s DNA had been found. The three civil guards who testified agreed that, initially, the victim said that he was having a voluntary sexual relationship with Goldar inside the camper van that the two men had parked near a nightclub in Mojácar and that Mina appeared and introduced the penis in the mouth When they spoke with them, they noted, Goldar was “more calm” than Mina.
During its final report, the private prosecution revealed that the players offered the victim 400,000 euros so that he would not uphold his accusation. Goldar’s lawyer replied by attributing the initiative to the victim: “She was the one who [a los acusados] and put some more zero”. The argument of economic interest was also used by Mina’s lawyer, who accused the woman of inventing what happened, faking the symptoms and managing to deceive the psychologists. In fact, she asked that the report of these professionals be considered “null” because the status of the complainant was evaluated “only with the information that she gives.”
The prosecutor, Miguel Blasco, considered in his statement that there is “an accumulation” of evidence that supports the complainant’s story. He defended that “the violence occurred, not only due to the lack of consent, which was not tacit, but was express, but also because the accused acted in an absolutely surprising, unexpected, unpredictable way.” And he wondered if there is “something more violent than committing that action in that way.” He also maintained that there was “clear intimidation” and that this was increased when the events occurred in a space of “barely two square meters and in the presence of two young, athletic men.” The woman’s story, he added, has “credibility, permanence in time and absence of essential contradictions”, while forensic expert evidence reveals that both physical and psychological injuries “are absolutely compatible” with the story she makes.