September 23, 2020

Fernando Francés acquitted "for lack of proof" of ill-treatment against Marina Vargas | Culture



The Court of Instruction number four of Santander has issued "acquittal for lack of evidence" in the complaint of abuse that artist Marina Vargas filed against gallery owner Fernando Francés, director of the Center of Contemporary Art of Malaga at the time of the events and General Secretary of Cultural Innovation and Museums of the Junta de Andalucía at the time of the citation. According to the report of the complainant, the accused hit her on July 15, 2018, during the celebration of the Santander Art Fair, after pointing her finger and repeating it: “You have screwed it up, you screwed it up”. However, the judge of the Court notes that "there is no evidence that Fernando Francés hit Marina Vargas in the face" while repeating this expression.

Judge Luis Enrique García Delgado points out that "there is insufficient evidence of the facts reported, thus prevailing the presumption of innocence of Fernando Francés," which resigned as head of the Andalusian museums last August, after knowing his summons in the court of Santander. However, the sentence states that the artist's statement is "neat in details that someone who lies does not usually manifest." And the judge clarifies that in this case “there is an insufficiency of evidence derived not so much from the lack of reliability of the declaration of the complainant as from the objective insufficiency of the body of evidence to distort the principle of presumption of innocence that protects the accused”.

Therefore, he dismisses the crime of false denunciation filed by the representative of French. “There are no elements of judgment that allow us to think of a fabulation of the complainant, who points out from the first moment, that is, from the filing of the complaint, that there are security cameras that could have recorded the facts, which is not consistent with the presentation of a false complaint, because in that case what is sought is to "build" a fallacious version of them for which the corroborated elements are usually "manufactured" by the complainant himself, without ever pointing out a technological element that can leave in evidence ”, points out the magistrate.

Among the proven facts it is considered that French approached Vargas “to shave the behavior he had had in previous days, because he considered a lack of respect that he had alternated in a dinner with competitive gallery owners or who had moved in Bilbao to this only purpose, as well as that he would not have stayed at home when he had offered it, ”can be read in the sentence to which this newspaper has had access. The judge considers it unproven that the conversation took place inside the booth of the gallery of the son of Fernando Francés, representative of the Granada artist.

Only witnesses

The conversation was followed by Michael Leon Martin Winider, proposed as a witness by both the complainant and the defendant. At the trial the gallery employee said that "there was no physical contact between Marina and Fernando, so it was difficult to slap or aggression any". But the judge acknowledges that this witness tried to "reduce" the clash between the two by saying to the police that "there was not even an argument of discussion." Martin Winider also denies that he comforted Marina and said: "This is the French."

Javier Ernesto Marín Alonso is the other witness who denies the victim's statement according to the judge. Marín Alonso exhibited in a booth not far from that of Fernando Francés and said at the trial that he had followed the whole conversation, which took place outside the booth and near the exit. "He did not appreciate any discussion or shout, he denies the existence of any aggression or threat of aggression," says the sentence.

The magistrate acknowledges that “under these conditions it is not possible to understand that Marina's single statement can serve to undermine Fernando's presumption of innocence, especially by the statement of the first of the witnesses mentioned, present in the discussion or, if preferred, in the kind conversation full of warnings and censures, if we follow the statement of the accused ”.

Not even the cameras

There is also no part of the injuries and it is pointed out that “it is reasonable that someone in that situation does not run to an emergency department, but there is no doubt that if an injurious result had been observed immediately after the fact, the charge version would have been considerably strengthened "

Regarding the absence of recorded images, the judge warns that they were deleted within ten days and that no person in charge of the Palace gave the order to block them on a preventive basis and waiting for the judicial authority or the police to claim the images. “The person in charge of the Palace, Ana Cavada Sáinz, tells the police, when it is required and long after the fact, that she knew the altercation,” says the story.

Marina Vargas' defense is satisfied with the judge's sentence, even if there is no conviction. “We are satisfied because it has been proven that Marina has not lied. The judge believes Marina, but clarifies that he has no evidence. By rejecting the request for a false complaint, you have shown that you believe in your statement. The facts existed, but they have not been able to prove ”, explains the lawyer of the artist. This newspaper has contacted Fernando Francés, but says he did not want to make statements until he read the sentence.

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