Torrent, in the Supreme Court: "We will never renounce deciding on our future, we will vote again"The speaker of the Catalan parliament has stated that he would have acted in the same manner as Forcadell because "the freedom of expression of parliamentary groups can never be limited"
The speaker of the Catalan parliament Roger Torrent defended the actions of his predecessor in his position, Carme Forcadell, in autumn 2017, as well as the self-determination of the people of Catalonia, before the Supreme Court.
Torrent gave his statement as a witness summoned by far-right party Vox. At the beginning of questioning, the speaker of the Catalan parliament denounced that the fact that there were members of parliament jailed on remand led to a "severe distortion of the normal functioning of the chamber."
He would have done the same as Forcadell
When questioned on whether or not Parliament can refuse the admission of parliamentary initiatives, Roger Torrent stated that he would have acted in the same way as Forcadell:
"A speaker of parliament may never limit the freedom of expression of parliamentary groups."
"There are no proposals from groups that may be censored, the speakers that preceded me never censored them, and speaker Forcadell never did so. In fact, I would have done exactly the exact same thing as her in her position."
Moreover, he pointed out that the report drafted by the legal counsels of Parliament is not binding:
"The board of Parliament is a political organism that adopts political decisions. What it never does is enter into the detail of propositions, regardless of how unconstitutional you may deem them to be."
"We will vote again"
The speaker of catalan parliament defended the so-called disconnection laws that were passed on 6 and 7 September, and he warned that the pro-independence movement will continue to defend a referendum:
"Keep in mind that we will never renounce the will of the majority of Catalans to decide on their future."
Torrent added that a trial such as the one being held will not change the will to self-determination:
"Those were laws that provided the tools to ask the citizens of Catalonia about what their future would be. This approach has not changed, will not change, regardless of how much these 12 democrats, men and women, are put on trial, no other solution for the future other than allowing the citizens to vote will be considered."
Answering the Government Attorney's Office, Torrent stated that the transition law "had no legal effects":
"(Seoane)- You have stated that it never had any effect; however, it was approved, it was approved formally.
(Torrent)- It was approved in the parliament of Catalonia but, beyond that, it had no legal effects, which is obvious."
Much like mayor of Barcelona Ada Colau, Torrent highlighted that the citizens were behind the referendum:
"If the accused are being accused of having organised a referendum or having demonstrations, there should be thousands of people standing accused. Thousands of us participated in the events being judged here."
Prosecutor Cadena questioned Torrent on behalf of the State Attorney General's Office
Torrent, to the State Attorney General: "Let us be precise"
Roger Torrent corrected prosecutor Fidel Cadena when he asked him if, on 10 October, the document on the declaration of independence was voted on, and with regard to the resolution of 27 October:
"(Fidel Cadena)- Was it submitted to a vote on that day?
(Torrent)- The document was not voted on that day. Not on the 10th. An event was held outside the plenary session of parliament and, therefore, not in its formal session."
(Torrent) "Let us be precise. On 27-O proposals for resolutions, not for laws, which is a different matter altogether, were submitted. (...) The proposals for resolutions were voted on in the plenary session of Parliament, as it is common."
Torrent, as the vice-spokesman for Junts pel Sí, had asked Forcadell to read the preamble of the declaration of independence.
Marchena scolds the defence counsels
The questioning ended abruptly at half past four PM after a spat between the presiding magistrate of the court, Manuel Marchena, and defence counsels Andreu Van den Eynde, Jordi Pina and Marina Roig
It all began when Van den Eynde questioned Torrent on the voting on 1 October, and Torrent explained that he had taken his daughters to vote to explain the significance of that day to them.
Defence counsel Andreu Van den Eynde gesturing during his spat with justice Manuel Marchena
Marchena pointed out that Torrent was being questioned about his perception of the events of 1-O, and not his position:
"The questioning has nothing to do with the questions that have been asked. Any questions on his experience in parliamentary proceedings will be well-received. However, if you ask him about what he felt when he went to vote on 1 October, the court is compelled to turn you down."
Van den Eynde wanted his questions to at least be put on record, but Marchena squarely turned him down.
Defence counsel Jordi Pina also argued with Marchena on the questioning of Torrent
When Jordi Pina's turn came, when faced with his intention to go down the same road as Van den Eynde, Marchena also cut him short and made it clear that it was the competence of the Court to decide on whether or not a witness account is relevant:
"The relevance of a statement is laid down by this Court. And it deemed it to be relevant as it did that of Mr Benet [with regard to Ernest Benach] to explain the link between what Ms. Forcadell did and the precedents from the point of view of parliamentary practices.
Everything beyond that, regardless of the comments of the popular prosecution, and please do not act so surprised, you know I am right... Come now, do you have any more questions?"
- Catalan independence trial