More judicial errors in Spain revealed
Criticism of judiciary grows as latest error sees a terrorist acquitted because of inability to locate key witness.4 April 2008
MADRID - Criticism of Spain's judicial system was growing on Friday after it came out that a terrorist had been acquitted of a killing because of a failure to locate a key witness.
Marcos Martin Ponce, a member of the far-left Anti-fascist Resistance Groups of the First of October (Grapo), was acquitted of shooting and killing a police officer in 2000 because police had been unable to locate a protected witness.
Ponce, who was serving a 11-year prison sentence for other offences, could have been sentenced to 30 more years for the killing.
The revelation followed the case of 4-year-old girl Mari Luz Cortes.
Mari Luz was killed by a paedophile who had not been jailed because of a judicial error, despite having been sentenced to nearly three years in prison for sexual abuse of children.
The two cases coincided with a judicial civil servants' strike which has no end in sight after two months and which has caused widespread disruption in the judicial system. The civil servants are asking for a substantial pay rise.
A lack of resources, staff and organisation has led to courts accumulating more than 400,000 sentences which have not yet been put into effect, according to the daily El Pais.
"Citizens deserve a better judiciary," the daily El Mundo commented, accusing the government and justice minister Mariano Fernandez Bermejo of not taking the problem seriously enough.
[dpa / Expatica]