October 28, 2020

The Supreme Court confirms the conviction of a journalist for spreading “insidious rumors” of the Villarejo prosecutor during his destination in the Canary Islands


The Supreme Court has confirmed the conviction of journalist Francisco Javier Chavanel Seoane for spreading information lacking in veracity and “insidious rumors” against Ignacio Stampa when the Villarejo prosecutor was stationed in Lanzarote. The Supreme Court ratifies the conviction for illegitimate interference in the right to honor in which the Provincial Court of Las Palmas imposed an indemnification of 25,000 euros to the prosecutor Stampa by the journalist.

The Inspector of the Prosecutor's Office knocks down the last maneuver to separate the prosecutor from the Villarejo case

The Inspector of the Prosecutor’s Office knocks down the last maneuver to separate the prosecutor from the Villarejo case

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In its ruling, the high court rejects the journalist’s appeal and states that in his articles and radio programs “he has expressed opinions and personal evaluations, but he has also transmitted information and has spread simple insidious rumors.” “And while the former The canon of veracity cannot be applied to them – he adds -, when information is transmitted, the requirement of veracity is enforceable, in the terms in which it has been configured by the Constitutional Court ”.

The requirement that the information transmitted be truthful was breached by the journalist Chavanel “since, according to what was established in the instance, the information transmitted regarding the plaintiff has been revealed to be false and there is no proof that the appellant had tried to verify them accordingly. to professional diligence fees ”.

The journalist launched without providing any proof that Stampa had received several favors from a third party while investigating two important corruption cases that have resulted in convictions confirmed by the Supreme Court against technicians and politicians from the islands. Just last Friday, the head of the Tax Inspection rejected the complaint of a Canarian female announcer that he was seeking a sanction for Stampa for some facts in the Union case that “had nothing to do with the current prosecutor in the Villarejo case, according to the Fausto Cartagena decree.

For the Supreme Court, these are facts that “represented a serious loss of prestige for the plaintiff, which questioned his moral integrity and professional rectitude, and attributed the commission of illegal acts, if not directly crimes, and, therefore, constituted an interference with his right to honor. As they are not truthful, since there is no record that the defendant acted diligently to verify that his statements corresponded to reality, the interference in the plaintiff’s honor is illegitimate ”.

The high court only varies one aspect of the sentence in the case handed down by the Las Palmas de Gran Canaria Court, and that is that the joint responsibility of the producer of the radio program where the journalist, “El Espejo Canario”, made his comments, will be with regard to 20,000 euros of the compensation, while Informaciones Canarias, SA, editor of ‘Canarias 7’, the newspaper that published the articles, will be jointly and severally liable for the payment of the remaining 5,000 euros. This is because the most serious interference occurred on the radio. The Court of First Instance of Arrecife, which initially saw the case, estimated the compensation at 50,000 euros, later reduced by the Court of Las Palmas.

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