23-year-old Spaniard acquitted after breaking lockdown rules seven times

by Lorraine Williamson
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GRANADA – Granada’s 6th Criminal Court has acquitted a 23-year-old man from the city of Loja in the province of Granada. The public prosecutor had initially demanded one year’s imprisonment for breaking lockdown rules.

The man was accused of failing to comply with the lockdown rules seven times during the first State of Emergency.  

The Constitutional Court declared the first State of Alarm in Spain unconstitutional. Therefore, this prompted the Prosecutor’s Office to withdraw the charge of disobedience. The verdict was pronounced ‘in voce’ at the end of the trial last Tuesday. It resulted in the withdrawal of the indictment by the Public Prosecutor’s Office.  

Deliberately breaking lockdown rules 

The provisional indictment, which the Spanish news site Europa Press has seen, stated the following: ‘With knowledge of the restrictions on freedom of movement in Spain’ put in place to combat the spread of the Covid-19 pandemic, the man ‘in clear disregard of this regulatory order and with the will to violate it, proceeded to ignore the lockdown obligation’. 

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‘He is said to have committed the offence seven times. And did not comply with the exceptional circumstances that permitted traffic on the public highway,’ the prosecutor continued. That is why the man was detained several times by the Loja local police and the Guardia Civil. He was detained for two days, for which he will now apply for compensation through the Subdelegación del Gobierno. 

Request for acquittal 

Defence lawyer, Félix Fernández, explained to Europa Press that the request for acquittal, which the Public Prosecutor’s Office eventually complied with, was based on the fact that the first alert had been declared unconstitutional by the Constitutional Court. By abolishing the rule that prescribed ‘the impossibility of movement and movement’, the sanctions that could be derived from it become ‘null and void’, so that ‘there can be no crime of disobedience’. 

Precedent 

Furthermore, Fernández, pointed out such rulings could lead to more claims of non-compliance of the lockdown rules, which had been declared during the first alert. He mentioned he also defended a similar case in the city of Granada in recent months. However, that case did not go to trial. 

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