The Barcelona Court has accepted the Prosecutor’s appeal against the acquittal of the five academics who in 2017 formed the Electoral Sindicatura of the 1-O referendum and has ordered a repeat trial. Two of them currently hold relevant institutional positions. They are the Minister of Equality and Feminism, Tània Verge, and the Junts deputy in Congress, Josep Pagès.
As reported by legal sources elDiario.es, the 8th section of the Barcelona Court has revoked the acquittal of the five trustees sentenced by the criminal court in 2021 and has ordered a repeat trial. The magistrates have taken more than a year to resolve the Prosecutor’s appeal against the acquittal of Verge, Pagès and three other academics: Jordi Matas, Professor of Political Science and Administration at the University of Barcelona; Marc Marsal, member of the Legal Advisory Commission of the Generalitat; and Marta Alsina, lawyer.
Part of this delay is explained because the judges consulted the Superior Court of Justice of Catalonia (TSJC) who should resolve the appeal of the Prosecutor’s Office once Verge was appointed minister in May 2021, and therefore qualified before the high regional court.
The TSJC magistrates refused to assume the resolution of the appeal, but left the door open to hold the trial if the Barcelona Court sentenced it, as happened this Tuesday. Verge’s appraisal before the TSJC is also added to that of Marsal before the Supreme Court as a deputy in Congress. The Prosecutor’s Office requested up to 2 years and nine months in prison.
In the first sentence of the case, now annulled, of April 2021, the judge gave credibility to the defense thesis and concluded that it had not been proven that the accused had received the Constitutional warning to prevent any activity related to the 1- Or, neither that later they appointed the different trustees of demarcation nor supervised the institutional campaign of the Government on the referendum.
The magistrate highlighted that, in fact, the trustees only met one day, on September 7, 2017, in the attic of the Parlament, that is, almost fifteen days before the Constitutional Court warned them of their duty to prevent or paralyze any activity related to the referendum. Consequently, there was no disobedience because, the judge concluded, the defendants did not give instructions or orders nor did they meet again after their first meeting.
“The defendants, once required by the Constitutional Court on the imposition of coercive fines, do not show that they did any constitutive act of disobedience,” settled the magistrate, who did not appreciate either the crime of disobedience or the usurpation of functions that the court saw. Prosecutor’s Office because the teachers “did not carry out tasks or if they assumed organizational and disciplinary functions” typical of an Electoral Board.