Two leaders of Podemos have been firmly condemned throughout this year for attacking police officers during protests that took place years ago. The Supreme Court imposed 45 days in prison on Thursday on Alberto Rodríguez for kicking an agent in La Laguna in 2014 and last March confirmed 19 months in prison for Isabel Serra for insulting a Municipal Police agent and throwing objects at the agent’s colleagues in Madrid that same year. Two convictions based on the testimony of the police officers and the medical reports that they presented to certify their injuries.
Alberto Rodríguez faces the loss of his seat with two of the seven judges in favor of his acquittal
In the case of the still deputy for Santa Cruz de Tenerife, who if they do not prosper will have to leave the seat, he is sentenced for a crime of attack when declaring himself proven by the Supreme Court that he kicked in the knee a riot police of the National Police during a protest against the LOMCE. In the case of the exporter of Podemos in the Madrid Assembly, she was sentenced to 19 months for a crime of attack, another of damages and a more minor one of injuries for throwing objects at the Municipal Police after an eviction in Lavapiés and also for reprimanding to an agent.
The two cases have many similarities but also important differences. In Rodríguez’s case, the reported aggression alluded to kicking a police officer, while in Serra’s case it included insults and the throwing of objects carried out together with other people. Two policemen appeared in the trial of the Canarian deputy, while in Serra’s, ten agents did. Finally, the greater intensity of the aggression established by the court by the former Madrid deputy led to a greater sentence.
Both cases coincide in that the courts have left two convictions for assaults on police officers based on the testimonies of police officers and the medical reports of the doctors who examined their injuries. Something common when the judges decide to give credibility to the testimony of the police officers. In Spain, last year, the data from the Registry of Prisoners collected 10,993 people convicted of crimes of attacks against authority, resistance and disobedience.
In the case of Alberto Rodríguez, the majority of the court has given credibility to the complaining police officer. The judges of the Supreme Court write in the sentence that the agent “did not express any doubt” when identifying the deputy, something reinforced by the “absence of animosity” towards the politician and by the persistence that they attribute to his testimony throughout the cause. The main evidence of support that the Supreme Court finds is the fact that afterwards the agent went to the doctor so that his knee ailment was registered.
Something similar to what was argued by the Superior Court of Justice of Madrid when convicting Serra. Up to five agents of the Municipal Police identified Serra as the author of throwing objects and insults towards one of her companions in front of five others who were not able to affirm if she was there. In that sentence, the judges defended: “We have no doubt about the certainty of the recognition of the accused” and also relied on the existence of medical reports. “The reality of the injuries suffered and the damages caused” are proven, they wrote in the ruling, by these parties.
The Supreme Court confirmed Serra’s conviction: it endorsed these testimony but in turn charged against the faulty preparation of the police report.
In the case of the conviction of Alberto Rodríguez, this criterion has not been monolithic in court. Judge Susana Polo and her colleague Leopoldo Puente –who were not part of the court that studied Serra’s case– have issued a very critical opinion against the soundness of the testimony of the attacked police officer, and reducing the value of corroboration to the medical reports. “The corroboration elements, to be corroborated, must come, in our opinion, from a source other than the will of the witness whose statement is trying to be confirmed,” argue these judges, who recall that in this case the police therefore ” corroborates himself. ”
The fender videos
The two convictions of Serra and Rodríguez also made a similar assessment of the videos that their respective defenders contributed to show that they did not participate in the attacks. In both cases, the two courts understood that the videos were incomplete sequences of what happened and that the fact that the defendants did not appear does not rule out their participation in an action that went beyond the images. Moreover, what was presented as a proof of innocence became for the judges a proof of the charge.
In the case of Alberto Rodríguez, the judges argue that these videos “do not incorporate a complete recording or contain an ordered temporal sequence of everything that happened” and that the fact that Rodríguez does not appear in some events “does not imply that they cannot be credited by other tests “. In the case of Serra, the judges acknowledged that in the videos that included many attacks, “the accused is not seen, but this does not invalidate what was declared by municipal agents.”
In both cases, the videos provided by the defenses have served, paradoxically, to cement their convictions. The Supreme Court defended in the case of La Laguna that these images “are of some use in terms of the existence of the device, the violent attitude of the concentrates in front of the place of the inauguration and the presence of the accused in the place when they had not yet completed incidents “. The Superior Court of Justice of Madrid, which tried Serra for her status as a regional deputy, said in the Lavapiés case that “an image is worth a thousand words” and that thanks to the videos provided by the defense “the attendance is proven. of the aforementioned crime of attack against the agents of the authority “.
The two leaders of Podemos used similar strategies in court that have not been successful. They acknowledged having been in the demonstrations and rallies but denied having participated in the altercations. In the case of Alberto Rodríguez, the deputy stated that he was in the body of the demonstration and that by the time he reached the area of the cathedral where the incidents occurred, they had already ended. In the case of Isabel Serra, she alleged in her turn to make the last word that she arrived “much later” and that her attitude was to withdraw. “These are situations of tension and violence that I am afraid of,” he alleged.
In both cases, the courts that have examined the cases have concluded that they were not telling the truth. Nor have allegations of political retaliation against activism, as usual, come to fruition. “From any perspective, these statements by the accused do not constitute anything other than a personal belief that is not supported by any evidence, nor by minimally consistent indications of their reality,” concluded the Supreme Court in the case of Alberto Rodríguez, who claimed to have been falsely identified for his activist past in the Canary Islands.
Two similar cases in their structure in which the testimonies of several police officers and medical reports have been enough to enervate the presumption of innocence of the two leaders of Podemos. Isa Serra left the seat in the Madrid Assembly before the Superior Court issued its resolution. Rodríguez, the Canarian deputy, risks losing him if his resources against the Supreme Court do not prosper. Both cases will, predictably, end up before the Constitutional Court and the Human Rights Court in Strasbourg. The first obstacle will be to overcome the filter of the Spanish court of guarantees that in 2019 issued 3,264 orders of inadmission and only 75 of admission.