Family fined for abandoning senile relative
15 January 2004
BARCELONA – A family were fined EUR 240 for abandoning an elderly senile relative on the streets, authorities said Thursday.
The case has brought criticism of the legal system, with groups which help the aged claiming heavier fines are handed down if animals are abandoned.
The woman was abandoned on 29 June 2002 by four family members from Santa Margarida i els Monjos, in Barcelona.
She was left on the doorstep of one of the woman’s grand-daughters since nobody could decide on who should take care of her.
The woman, who was since died, was picked up by a unit of the local police.
The judges who sentenced a family to pay a fine of EUR 240 for abandoning the woman later reduced the punishment to a misdemeanour rather than a crime.
The case was qualified as a misdemeanour, for which the sentence was only a fine.
By law, a judge cannot modify the charges nor impose a sentence which is greater than that established in the penal code.
The sentence has generated a flood of criticism from groups which look after the elderly.
Many critics have claimed that heavier fines are issued to people who abandon dogs on the road.
Josep María Vallés, Justice councillor of the Catalan regional government, has promised to look into adopting legal measures to ensure that similar cases of abandoning the elderly are considered a serious offence, and therefore punishable with a prison sentence.
[Copyright EFE with Expatica]
Subject: Spanish news