Catalan High Court revokes Speaker's hearing to guarantee her right to defence
It accepts Laura Borràs's allegations and gives both parties a further fifteen days
BarcelonaCatalonia's High Court has revoked its order for Speaker Laura Borràs to appear in court, after it has concluded that her right to defend herself was violated by not having been able to access documents relating to the investigation until the very last minute. This fact has paralysed the procedure which was opened a few weeks ago and the judge has given parties another 15 days to take a position. The Court's decision will also have a direct implication in Parliament, which had to decide whether to suspend the Speaker of her rights and duties as a result of the indictment.
The case against Borràs split when she was elected as a member of the Spanish parliament, which meant she could no longer be indicted by a regular court. Barcelona's Court 9 continued its investigation, but Borràs no longer appeared as its target. It was Spain's Supreme Court which formally charged the then JxCat spokeswoman. From that moment on, Borràs' defence was left without information about what was happening in Court 9, which charged two more people during the following months. When Borràs left the Spanish Parliament to run in the Catalan elections, the Supreme Court transferred the case to Catalonia's High Court. However, it was not until March 7 that the Speaker's lawyers were able to have access to the 9 volumes of information compiled by the examining court. A week later, Catalonia's High Court issued the order for a hearing and now the court itself and also the Prosecutor's Office admit that more time should have been given to the defence.
In fifteen working days the examining magistrate of the Catalan High Court, Jordi Seguí, will re-evaluate the calendar and will decide whether to issue a new order for a new hearing. Borràs stands accused of misfeasance, embezzlement of public money, administrative fraud and forgery while she was the head of the Institució de les Lletres Catalanes (Institution of Catalan Letters).
The judge concluded that there are indications that Borràs "abused" her position at the head of the institution, for the alleged irregular awarding of contracts to a friend, whom she had known for years and with whom she had worked. On the other hand, the president has always denied the irregularities and has considered that she is another victim of the State's "political persecution" of the pro-independence movement.