I remember watching a programme about double jeopardy in Britain. A man was taken to court for the brutal rape of an elderly woman: she suffered numerous injuries and was left locked under the stairs for several days before she was rescued. The offender was freed without charge because of a legal issue: the DNA evidence that implicated the rapist had been traced through a DNA database and the man’s DNA sample (from a different offence) had been kept for longer than the legal maximum. The evidence was therefore invalid and the rapist was free to roam the streets (he couldn’t be retried with new evidence because of the double jeopardy law.)
I understand that the rule of law is paramount in society and that it must be respected in every case. However, it should not be possible for evidence that clearly demonstrates infringements of the law to be invalidated and thrown out of court because of the way in which they were obtained. I don’t want a CCTV society. I believe in freedom and civil liberties. But when corrupt politicians are conspiring against citizens and the judicial system in the Gürtel scandal, I think there should be an exception to the law. The use of this evidence is in the country’s interest. It’s completely legal to annul the use of the recordings, but that doesn’t make it right. Should the readily manipulated intricacies of law be above morality and ethics, above the interests of the people?
I haven’t finished with Garzón, and unfortunately neither have the Supreme Court nor the numerous forces arrayed against him. It’s clear that the illegalisation of the recordings is the start of the case against Garzón. It is the tip of the iceberg, the first toe dipped in the water to check the temperature, and the reaction of everyone else. Garzón will be prosecuted for everything he has tried to do recently. They’ll throw enough shit at him that some will inevitably stick and, using their usual tactics, they’ll use this as a lever to manipulate the rest of the case. Eventually all of his investigations will be completely annulled.
The last time I checked, Spain was a constitutional monarchy, not a dictatorship. But there are certain forces at work that reveal that Francoism is still the most powerful force in this country. The investigation of the past is being criminalised, in addition to the investigation of corruption. No questions can be asked.
The dead dictator’s spectre casts a long shadow and will continue to do so until light is shed on the truth of what happened.