After fifteen months of instruction directed by the judge of the Supreme Court, Pablo Llarena, today begins the oral trial of the you procés, where it will be resolved if the approval in the Parlament of laws of rupture with the State, the organization and celebration of an illegal referendum prohibited by the Constitutional Court, and the unilateral declaration of independence of October 27, 2017 constitute or are not a crime of rebellion, sedition, embezzlement and disobedience.
What is the oral trial?
The oral trial is the phase that develops in all criminal proceedings after the conclusion of the investigation or investigation of the facts and once the accusations have already presented their Provisional qualification briefs, in which the crimes accused of the accused and the penalties requested are specified. They are called provisional because it is precisely in the oral trial where these accusations are definitively finalized. The final reports of the parties are presented once the tests are carried out in the presence of the competent court to pronounce judgment.
In the case of you procés is celebrated before a court of the Criminal Chamber of the Supreme Court, composed of seven magistrates and chaired by Manuel Marchena.
There is three accusations: the Supreme Court Prosecutor's Office with four prosecutors, the State Bar, dependent on the Government and represented by two of its members and the popular accusation exercised in this case by Vox.
The day of the trial must be in the room calls pieces of conviction, which are those objects or instruments related to the crimes investigated that have been gathered in the investigation and that serve to convince the court about the reality of what happened.
What are the previous issues?
At the beginning of the trial, the parties, or the court of their own motion, may present previous issues, that is, exposing any defect that prevents the process from proceeding normally, for example, the violation of some fundamental right, which may mean the nullity of everything done so far, retrieving the proceedings at the time when the violation occurred. The magistrates will be able to solve them or leave the decision for the sentence.
Once these issues are resolved, the president ask each defendant if he confesses guilty of the crime that has been attributed to him in the writing of qualification and civilly responsible, according to the most serious qualification and the greater quantity whose payment is requested.
If all the defendants confessed guilty, the president of the court would ask his defenders if they consider the continuation of the oral trial necessary. If they answer negatively, the court issues the corresponding sentence, taking into account the facts admitted by the parties and if they answer affirmatively the trial is held.
Likewise, if any of the accused does not confess guilt or does not want to answer the questions, the trial is held.
In the trial of you procés The defendants are: the former vice-president of the Generalitat Oriol Junqueras, the exconsellers Joaquim Forn (Interior), Jordi Turull (Presidency), Raül Romeva (Foreign Affairs), Dolors Bassa (Labor), Josep Rull (Territory), the former President of the Parlament, Carme Forcadell; the president of Òmnium Cultural, Jordi Cuixart, the ex-leader of the Catalan National Assembly (ANC), Jordi Sànchez, Meritxell Borràs (Government), Carles Mundó (Justice) and Santi Vila (Company). Puigdemont and other escaped defendants are declared in absentia
How is the test done?
He Start with the tests proposed by the Prosecutor of the Supreme Court, composed in this case by four members, continuing the proposals for the rest accusations, that is, those of the State Advocacy, dependent on the Government and represented by two of its members, those of the popular accusation exerted by Vox and ending with those of the processed. They are practiced according to order in which they have been proposed in the provisional rating letter.
The president of the court begins informing the defendants of the rights who assist him and the parts they are interrogated about the facts that are imputed to him. The defendants may or may not answer the questions that are brought before them or only the accusations they wish and may do so in Spanish or Catalan.
After the interrogation of the accused, the testifical test begins. In the trial of you procés, the Chamber has accepted the appearance of more than 500 witnesses, Among those who are the former president of the Government Mariano Rajoy; the president of the Parlament, Roger Torrent; the mayor of Barcelona, Ada Colau; the expresident Artur Mas, the lehendakari Íñigo Urkullu and deputies such as Gabriel Rufián and Joan Tardà. Instead, he has refused to testify to them as the King's, as the Criminal Procedure Law provides.
The president asks that they enter to declare one by one for the order in which their names appear in the lists delivered by the parties and receives them oath. Ask the witness your personal information, whether or not you know the defendants and the other parties and if you have kinship, friendship or relationships of another kind with them, if they have been prosecuted and the sentence imposed on them. Then it will make you questions the party that submitted it and then the other parts. The president can address the questions that he considers pertinent to refine the facts.
In addition, you can practice confrontations with witnesses with defendants or witnesses each. The charges are addressed charges and convenient observations are made to agree and discover the truth.
Next, they will be presented the expert evidence and the documentary call. In the latter, the papers seized in the instruction and the images recorded in the days surrounding the referendum on October 1 may be displayed.
Why can the oral trial be suspended?
The reasons for suspension of the oral trial can be several. On the one hand, that the parties did not have prepared the evidence offered in their respective writings for reasons beyond their control. Specifically, the suspension of the oral proceeding will proceed when an incidental question has to be resolved during the debates, there must be some diligence outside the sessions. Other reasons are the non-appearance of the witnesses of charge and defense when it is considered necessary to declare them, the sudden illness of a member of the court, the Prosecutor, the lawyer of any of the parties or any of the defendants, and finally , when it becomes necessary to practice a complementary instruction.
What are the final conclusions?
The result of the tests may lead the parties to ratify and maintain well to modify the provisional findings initially submitted after the training phase. They constitute the definitive conclusions the true indictment, otherwise the probative activity practiced in the oral trial would be rendered useless.
It may be that none of the parties modify their conclusions, in which case, first the Public Prosecutor's Office and accusations, and then the defendants' defenses, through the formula 'to final', they will maintain and ratify the pretensions that as provisional were raised in their day.
They may also be carried out alternative conclusions, in the case that if a request is not estimated, any of the others can be estimated. In the case of you procés It may happen, for example, that the facts are classified as rebellion and, failing that, as sedition.
Finally, it may happen that some of the parties modify your conclusions, which should be done in writing and delivered to the president, although it is not very extensive, for reasons of procedural economy, it is allowed to do it verbally. As the Constitutional Court says, the modifications in the conclusions must respect the identity of the criminal act, requiring homogeneity. In this sense, it would be contrary to the right of defense if, after all the evidence had been tried, the accusation was directed against a new crime that has not been the object of debate and from which the defendant could not defend himself. Likewise, in the event of modification of provisional conclusions, it is possible that the party requests the president to suspend the trial for adequate preparation.
The court raises its 'thesis'
The court it can show the parties that the fact that is being judged has been described as a manifest error and the possibility of qualifying it in a different way. This power is used by the court exceptionally and in moderation, not extending to crimes that can only be prosecuted at the request of a party, nor is it applicable to errors that the parties have committed in their writing, nor in regard to extenuating or aggravating circumstances, nor to the participation of each of the defendants. If the parties declare that they are not sufficiently prepared to discuss the proposed issue, they may request the suspension of the session from the president until the next day.
Reports of the parties
The president will give the floor to the Prosecutor and then to the attorneys for the other accusations so that they may proceed to inform, exposing the facts that they consider proven in the oral trial, its legal qualification, the participation that they have had the defendants and the civil liability. If there is a civil plaintiff, he will be the last to speak about the accusing parties, limiting his report to the points concerning civil liability.
Next, the word to the defenders, accommodating itself in its report to its conclusions, speaking last, if there was one, the civil responsible.
After making the reports, only the parties will be allowed to rectify facts and concepts.
The last word of the accused
Once the reports are finalized, the president of the court should ask each defendant if he has anything else to say, and if he answers affirmatively, he will be granted the floor. It is the right of any defendant to say the last word in the act of the oral trial. It is not a mere formality, but is part of their right of defense and is based on the fact that no one can be condemned without being heard.
After speaking or not the accused, the president will declare the trial concluded and seen for sentencing and we will know how the process ends. you procés.