Tuesday, March 28

Judicial blow to the magistrate who tried to get elDiario.es to reveal its sources in the Pazo de Meirás case

The descendants of the dictator wanted to open a prospective investigation to discover the origin of a news item in elDiario.es. This is certified in a resolution by the Provincial Court of Madrid in which it estimates the resources of the State Lawyer and the Prosecutor’s Office and files the open case in court against a National Heritage official for preparing a report on the assets that the family accumulated in the Pazo de Meirás. The complaint also accused the worker for the publication of this document by elDiario.es and the judges answered: “The complaint was prospective in nature,” says the order advanced by The confidential who harshly criticizes the decision of the investigating magistrate to open the case.

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The National Heritage report on the treasures that the Francos wanted to take from Meirás was published exclusively by elDiario.es in December 2020. An inventory that National Heritage carried out by order of Court 1 of A Coruña and that listed 616 assets inside of the castle and 81 more scattered throughout its gardens. The dictator’s family brought both the report and its publication before the Justice and the 29th court of Madrid even requested that this newspaper reveal its source.

Judge María Cristina Díaz, who throughout her career has held several high positions with the PP in the Community of Madrid and in the central executive, demanded to know what day the report was accessed and what the source was. The main press associations in the country and even the Council of Europe warned against this decision and its impact on the right to professional secrecy of the journalists of the edition of elDiario.es in Galicia.

The setback has come from the Provincial Court of Madrid in a car that rejects all the accusations against the National Heritage official and revokes the judge’s decision to admit the Franco complaint for processing. An order that shows that the case was opened only by the “mere conjectures” of the Franco and based on suspicions that in no case, according to the Court, justify the opening of criminal proceedings.

The Francos accused the head of the National Heritage Conservation Service of prevarication, false documents, disclosure of secrets, procedural fraud and other crimes related to the report. The heirs of the dictator argued that she had prepared the report without being authorized to do so and that, moreover, she had leaked it to the media and that his actions throughout the process had been aimed at harming them.

The Court of Madrid throws away the accusations and the judge’s decision to open a case. “The Spanish criminal process cannot have as its object the investigation of facts without criminal appearance, to investigate prospectively if such facts could materialize in hypothetical criminal offenses,” says the Court. And in this case there was nothing more than suspicion: “In view of the content of the complaint, from a first examination it is clear that the facts denounced in no case have criminal charges, and this despite the fact that the complaint carry out a general review of the Criminal Code to varnish the denounced acts of criminal overtones,” he adds.

The official did not exceed her duties, she did not devise any plan to harm the Francos and her accusations do not have any kind of consistency, according to this order. “There is absolutely no evidence with a minimum requirement of consistency, which allows sustaining the intended provisional imputation that has been admitted in the instance,” says the order.

The harshest words are related to the accusation of revealing secrets. “The inconsistency of the accusation not even for the purpose of admitting a complaint and initiating criminal proceedings, it is mere diffuse, suggestive and inconsistent conjecture that has no place in the criminal field,” say the magistrates. For the Court of Madrid “the complaint was prospective in nature (…) without it being admissible, in these terms, to open a subjective prospective investigation, as stated in the order, to fulfill the obligation to investigate and exhaust the proceedings to find out the possible author”.

The Court insists that the Franco family wanted Court 29 to open a general investigation. “It is not a matter of being interested or not, or of having a defeatist attitude, but of rejecting and inadmitting a provoked prospective investigation that progressively seeks to expand, unsustainably and unjustifiably, the subjective scope of the case as seen in writings attached to the testimony forwarded,” says the car.