The supreme court has condemned Alberto Rodríguez, a deputy from United We Can, for kicking a national policeman in La Laguna in 2014 during a demonstration. A sentence that will pass through the Constitutional Court and that will end in Strasbourg, as the convicted himself has announced, with the scaffolding of the private vote of two magistrates who bet on acquittal. Meanwhile, Congress must decide whether this firm conviction implies that he loses his seat in the lower house as has happened in previous cases.
The Supreme Court decides if the statement of the policeman who denounced him is enough to convict Alberto Rodríguez
This point would be the one that focuses the legal debate in the coming weeks. The Supreme Court imposes on him, in addition to 45 days in jail replaced by a fine of 540 euros, a penalty of disqualification during that period of time in terms of his right to passive suffrage. In other words, you will not be able to run for elections for the next 45 days. It will be the lower house that decides, in execution of the sentence, if this also implies that it must abandon its seat.
The Supreme Court does not pronounce on this matter in its resolution and is limited to remitting the sentence to the Central Electoral Board, although sources in the criminal chamber understand that Rodríguez incurs in supervening ineligibility so he can no longer continue to occupy his seat by United We Can. These sources point to article 6.2.a of the Electoral Law (LOREG), which considers ineligible “those sentenced by final judgment, to custodial sentence, in the period that the sentence lasts.”
The contentious chamber of the Supreme Court, which would resolve a hypothetical appeal against the loss of the seat, already ruled in this same sense in the case of Oriol Junqueras last May. In the case of the ERC leader, the Electoral Board understood that he incurred in supervening ineligibility and the Supreme Court established that it was a “clearly established” effect in the LOREG, as they also said when they endorsed his exclusion from the pro-independence electoral lists for the elections of the 10-N of 2019.
From Rodríguez’s party they defend, however, that it is not an absolute disqualification. They will have the possibility of requesting precautionary measures in the appeals that they file, also against a possible decision in that sense by the Central Electoral Board that will have to arrive in the next few days. In principle, therefore, the order to leave the seat will arrive soon but Rodríguez will be able to put in place legal mechanisms to try to paralyze the process.
Private vote and appeal
Rodríguez himself has already announced that he will appeal his sentence and that, if necessary, it will reach the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg. An appeal that will have to combat the arguments of the Supreme Court to support the statement of the attacked police officer as evidence of the charge, but that has a legal framework: the private vote of justices Leopoldo Puente and Susana Polo in which they bet on acquittal.
Where the majority of the court understands that the police maintained a constant accusation throughout the investigation and the trial, the two dissenting magistrates consider that it is not enough to enervate their presumption of innocence. In general, they believe that the evidence of the case available to the judges “is far from being sufficient” to convict him and they understand that the fact that he went to the doctor does not support his statement. In his opinion, the policeman’s account is “laconic” and confusing, at least to understand that things could have happened differently.
The particular vote explores several possibilities and concludes that, for example, the agent “could have received the blow to the knee, coming from Alberto or another person, in the course of the police intervention (other blows had to be received), in a way that accidental, in the race or as a result of a collision “. They emphasize that he also suffered a blow to his hand that he finally did not attribute to the kick that the majority of the room does declare proven.
For these two judges “we have only had one, more than succinct, description of the facts by the complaining agent himself”, an argument that coincides with that presented by the lawyer Marta Flor during the oral hearing held in the Supreme Court. In case of appeal, the legal actions would have to go first to the Constitutional Court and, if they are rejected, already to the European courts.