Wednesday, October 4

The Catalan TSJ removes another magistrate from the Torrent trial by doubting his impartiality

Finding a court to try Roger Torrent and the rest of the former members of the Parlament Board accused of disobeying the Constitutional Court to disapprove the monarchy begins to seem impossible. The Superior Court of Justice of Catalonia (TSJC) has estimated the recusal of the second member of the court, Judge Carlos Ramos, as it did with its president, Jesús María Barrientos. The togados doubt that Ramos can judge the case with full impartiality.

The decision of the Chamber in charge of analyzing the challenge has not been peaceful and has been adopted with the vote of four judges, while two have formulated a dissenting opinion. By majority, the TSJC magistrates have upheld the appeal of the former Vice President of Parliament Josep Costa, who argued that Ramos’ impartiality was compromised by the terms in which the magistrate dispatched the report on his own recusal.

In the document, in addition to defending his impartiality and flatly rejecting the recusal, Ramos accused Costa of wanting to remove him from the court with “truncated reasoning riddled with unjustified hyperbole” and of making a “delusional interpretation” of the rules on recusals.

The language used by Ramos in his report is what has led his colleagues from the TSJC to estimate the challenge. The “overall assessment” of the criticism of Costa, the judges argue, indicates a “personal passion” of Ramos that may cast doubt on his appearance of impartiality, at least to the accused himself.

According to the judges, having used such forceful expressions, Judge Ramos is not “in a position to guarantee, at least in the eyes of the recipient of those evaluations, his lack of interest in the object of the process and, consequently, the impartiality of his actions in the court” that will judge Costa and the rest of the members of the Table of the last legislature.

The criticisms of Costa suppose “a plus” to the content to which “objectively” the reports on the challenge should be limited, the magistrates add. It is worth mentioning, however, that the use of more or less harsh adjectives is not unusual in proceedings or sentences, nor in the writings of accusations and defenses.

For the magistrates, the assessments of Judge Ramos “may be explainable in human terms and of self-defense of his professional prestige”, but at the same time they can arouse in the former deputy and part of society “the legitimate suspicion of a lack of impartiality”.

Two judges have disagreed with the majority thesis and advocated keeping Ramos on the court. Judge Carlos Preciado disfigures the majority that uses “irrational arguments” to doubt Ramos’s impartiality, since the very judges who have removed him from the court argue that the expressions in his report do not compromise his impartiality if they are analyzed individually. , but instead they do it together. Ramos’ report, adds the judge, “does not contain any disqualification nor does it anticipate any judgment of guilt.”

For her part, Judge Estefanía Pastor alleges that the “somewhat exaggerated” adjectives used by the judge are “characteristic of the vehemence in the exposition of her arguments”, but they do not reveal a lack of impartiality.

The same judges have already decided, this time unanimously, to remove Judge Barrientos from the trial before the Board, considering that there could be doubts about his impartiality for having abandoned an act at the Barcelona Bar Association because Torrent gave a speech in which assured that there were “political prisoners”.

The Prosecutor’s Office requests 20 months of disqualification for Torrent, Costa and the former secretary of the Table Eusebi Campdepadrós. For former secretary Adriana Delgado, who participated in only one of the processes of the resolutions vetoed by the Constitutional Court, the Prosecutor’s Office asks for a year and four months of disqualification and a 24,000-euro fine.