The shortest and most confusing sitting in the Catalan independence trial: 2 witnesses in 20 minutesMarchena does not provide clarification to the defence counsel as to whether or not Amadeu Altafaj, who will take the witness stand on Wednesday and will not give testimony because he is under investigation from court number 13 of Barcelona, can save the trip to Madrid
Josep Maria Camps
The magistrates before which the Catalan independence trial is being held, in the Supreme Court on Wednesday
On Tuesday, the 15th day of the Catalan independence trial in the Supreme Court, the morning sitting has been the shortest since the public hearings began, as well as the most confusing.
Only two minor witnesses had been summoned, and their statements have been very quickly, especially that of the first witness, José Oriol González, the owner of the Buzoneo Directo company.
The owner of the Buzoneo Directo company, José Oriol González, before the Supreme Court on Tuesday
Oriol had been summoned because his company was searched by the Guardia Civil on 17 September 2017, when over one million signs and diptychs related to the referendum were found.
Oriol, however, made use of his right not to give testimony due to the fact that he is on trial for the same events before Court 13 of Barcelona, which has been investigating the preparations of the referendum since February 2017.
A budget of 17,200 Euros requested by the Guardia Civil
Rosa María Sans, a manager of the Artyplan company, in the Supreme Court on Tuesday
That is why, a few minutes after the sitting began, the second witness, Rosa Maria Sans Travé, the human resources manager of the Artyplan company, took the stand.
Prosecutor Consuelo Madrigal questioned her about the material that was found by the Guardia Civil during a search carried out on 15 September 2017 in a storehouse where they usually keep their stock.
The witness and the prosecutor were unable to clarify the amount of diptychs and signs that were seized on that day in an order she budgeted for the amount of 17,200 Euros at the request of the Guardia Civil.
Prosecutor Consuelo Madrigal questioning Rosa Maria Sans in the Supreme Court on Tuesday
The only thing Madrigal managed to make out clearly is that it was the person in charge of production in the company, Blas Cortés, who ordered the printing of the signs and diptychs.
Moreover, it appears that Sans sent an email on 19 September asking all company staff not to print any more orders related to the referendum.
When questioned by Government Attorney Rosa María Seoane, Sans explained that the client who had placed the order was Òmnium Cultural, and that this company has been one of their customers for many years.
Mariano Bergés, the defence counsel of Dolors Bassa, on Tuesday in theTribunal Suprem
The defence counsel of Dolors Bassa, Mariano Bergés, intervened to clarify that it was not true that the testimony of Rosa Maria Sans Travé had been requested, as the presiding magistrate of the court, Manuel Marchena, had stated at the beginning of her statement, but rather, that of another Rosa Maria Sans, who has a different second last name and who is a civil servant in the Department of Labour, at the head of which Bassa once was.
The shortest sitting
This concluded the testimonies in the morning session, hardly 15 minutes after they began. This morning session stands in stark contrast to the marathon sessions that had been experienced in the Supreme Court during previous weeks.
This casts doubt on the alleged intentions of the Court to make the trial proceed as quickly as possible in order to avoid any overlaps with the general election campaign of 28 April.
The testimony of Amadeu Altafaj
Judit Gené, the defence counsel of Amadeu Altafaj, in the Supreme Court on Tuesday
However, the most confusing part was yet to come: when Marchena summoned everyone to return at 4 PM to resume the sitting, attorney Judit Gené intervened to speak on behalf of a witness she also represents, Amadeu Altafaj, who is summoned to appear on Wednesday.
Gené explained that Altafaj, the former delegate of the Catalan government in Brussels, will make use of his right not to give testimony due to the fact that he is on trial for the same events in Court number 13 of Barcelona, and she asked the court to save him the trip to Madrid due to the fact that he resides in Belgium.
"But what am I to tell Mister Altafaj?"
The attorney specified that Altafaj notified her by fax, and she asked if he could give testimony through video conference. Marchena asked prosecutor Consuelo Madrigal, who replied that she did not renounce questioning him:
Madrigal: "We can accept that he does not come, that is, that he does not give testimony. However, technically, we cannot renounce his testimony."
Marchena: "If he does not come, we can attempt the summons through other means."
Madrigal: "When it comes to renouncing, technically, the State Attorney General does not... It is he who renounces giving testimony."
Marchena: "Correct, correct... His written pleadings are included in the case..."
Gené: "Yes, he submitted them yesterday."
Marchena: "We will precisely resolve on this tomorrow based on the situation. If he fails to appear, we will adopt the decision either to make use of a video conference mechanism or any other formula, which may even involve having him come. In principle, however, in principle, tomorrow we will confirm if what he has announced in his pleadings actually happens, that is, that he does not appear in court, and if he fails to appear we will seek out a mechanism before the..."
Gené: "But... but what mister Altafaj has stated is his intention not to testify, not that he will not obey this court's summons... "
Marchena: "Ah, if he does appear... if he does appear..."
Gené: "The thing is that, of course, from one day to another... I do not know, if by any chance..."
Marchena: "What the Court cannot tell him is: do not worry, do not appear, that is what you cannot expect us to tell him." (Other
members of the Court make comments) "If possible, we will attempt to cover the vacancy with another witness or something similar in order to avoid pauses such as this."
Gené: "But what am I to tell Mister Amadeu Altafaj?"
Marchena: "You can tell him whatever you see fit." (laughter, general confusion) "In any event, we will provide you with an answer at 4 PM, when we resume (the sitting)."
Gené: "Very well."
Attorneys and accused parties laugh while Judit Gené attempts to get a clear answer from Marchena to Altafaj's request
2 more minor witnesses in the afternoon
Thus has ended the shortest sitting in the trial so far.
The afternoon sitting on Tuesday is likely to be quite similar, because only two more minor witnesses have been summoned: Enric Vidal, who designed the official signs for the referendum and a member of ERC in Badalona, and Enrique Mary, an employee of the Artyplan company.
- Catalan independence trial