The judicial ordeal of Íñigo Errejón continues longer. Judge Margarita Valcarce, in charge of the case against the More Country deputy for a minor crime for allegedly kicking a resident of Lavapiés (Madrid) in May 2021, has agreed to suspend the oral hearing just before starting this Tuesday. The judge has made this decision in extremis to ask the Provincial Court of Madrid if it should abstain after, in the preliminary questions phase, the Prosecutor’s Office pointed out that Valcarce’s “impartiality” is compromised as she was also the magistrate who instructed the case.
The judge’s last-minute decision has not prevented, however, that Errejón starred in one of the images that politicians fear the most: his photo on the defendant’s bench. A resident of Lavapiés, Alberto Domarco, denounced him for allegedly kicking him in the stomach when, according to the version of the alleged victim, he only wanted to take a photo with the politician on the eve of the regional elections to the Community of Madrid. The More Country deputy, also the founder of Podemos, has always denied the attack, but the instructor considered that there were sufficient elements to hold the hearing. Of course, before he ruled out the crime of injuries after the forensic doctors found “no traumatic injury” derived from the alleged blow.
Despite the fact that the deputy is registered before the Supreme Court, the law allows these minor crimes to be dealt with in the ordinary courts. In the case of proving the accusation, Errejón would be sentenced to pay a fine at most, but the sentence would mean a political earthquake on the left.
The Prosecutor’s Office has been in charge of putting on the table the debate on the lack of “impartiality” of Valcarce. The public ministry has supported a possible request for the judge’s recusal, but the lawyers for the parties have insisted that this type of request has not occurred. Of course, Errejón’s lawyer has clarified that, in his opinion, the most correct thing “procedurally” is that the magistrate herself decides to abstain: “For the hearing to be held before a court that has not known [antes del asunto] and let there be no shadow of a doubt.” But, the defense attorney continued, “if your honor considers that it should be held, this party is not going to object.”
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It is usual that, when faced with these types of complaints for minor crimes, the judges fail to carry out an in-depth investigation, which enables them to be able to prosecute the facts directly at the hearing. In this case, the defendant and the Prosecutor’s Office consider that the investigation —where witnesses testified and police and forensic reports were commissioned— was sufficiently important to compromise Valcarce’s appearance of impartiality.
Accompanied by his lawyer, the More Country deputy arrived at the courts at a quarter past nine in the morning, 15 minutes before his court date. The parliamentarian took the opportunity then to respond briefly to the journalists and defend his innocence: “I want to be able to clarify everything because all this has been unpleasant nonsense.” Do you deny that you gave that kick? “Of course”, the defendant has riveted.
—If convicted, would you assume any political responsibility? One of the reporters insisted.
—I don’t even contemplate [ser condenado] Errejón replied.
George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.