ALMERIA, 19 (EUROPA PRESS)
The Superior Court of Justice of Andalusia (TSJA) has ordered the repetition of a trial against three members of a cannabis association in Roquetas de Mar (Almería) given that one of the defense lawyers, appointed ex officio, only counted with two days to get hold of a 600-page procedure, study the case and prepare a defense without even having spoken to his client, which he came to after the resignation of the previous lawyer due to “irreconcilable differences” with his client.
In its sentence, the Andalusian high court upholds the appeal filed by the lawyer after the ruling handed down by the Second Section of the Provincial Court of Almería on February 3 of last year, considering that, in this case, judicial protection has been violated effective to have a judicial process with all the guarantees, as contemplated in article 24 of the Spanish Constitution.
The judicial resolution, consulted by Europa Press, includes the sequence of events that occurred before the start of the oral trial, which began on January 28, 2022. Thus, it was eight days before when the defendant was left without legal representation due to the resignation of his his lawyer and solicitor, so that it was not until January 24 when the Bar Association proceeded to appoint an ex officio lawyer according to the diligence sent from the Secretariat of the Second Section.
Faced with this scenario, the new lawyer wrote a letter to the Section requesting the suspension of the hearing given its immediacy, which was denied on January 25 by means of an order in which he was told that the records were at his disposal. in the secretariat for its investigation and view: a procedure of 600 pages whose criminal acts, according to the TSJA, “are not at all simple and simple”.
Thus, on the 28th, already at the beginning of the trial, the lawyer reiterated his request to suspend the oral hearing and have more time to prepare a defense, which was again rejected. Thus, the Chamber argued that the defense “had had sufficient time” and that the case “did not have a special entity” to then begin the oral hearing.
The TSJA, which orders that the trial be repeated with a different court, sees “indisputable” that the lawyer was appointed three days before the trial, with which “he had a maximum of two days” to take over the proceedings, study them and prepare the defense, “with hardly any material time to contact his sponsored” with whom, as he indicated, he could see himself shortly before the session began.
In the same way, it affects the “factual, doctrinal and legal component of complexity” that the case had to estimate “insufficient” the “short time” that the lawyer had to prepare the defense “also lacking contact with his sponsored”.
“The Chamber of origin should have agreed to the suspension of the trial, and may have even indicated it in a moderate period, but sufficient to allow the new defense to have enough time for its preparation,” reproaches the appeal court, which orders the annulment of everything that has been done and, therefore, does not assess the resources of the rest of the defenses. “It is appropriate to agree to the annulment of the proceedings from the oral trial inclusive, and a new trial must be held by a Court of a different composition,” he determines. SENTENCES OF MORE THAN EIGHT YEARS IN PRISON
The annulled sentence condemned the president of a cannabis association in Aguadulce, in Roquetas de Mar, to eight years and four months in prison for the activity carried out through the entity’s headquarters, which was intervened by several agents of the Civil Guard, two of whom were injured after the defendant set a potentially dangerous breed of dog at them to attack them while disposing of some belongings.
Specifically, the ruling also imposed four years in prison for the association’s treasurer, who had a criminal record for crimes against public health, and three years and six months for the secretary, all of whom were also charged with a crime of illicit association, understanding that the entity was founded “as a subterfuge to distribute narcotic substances among a large number of people.”
The resolution indicated that the association barely functioned for three months since, after several efforts by the Civil Guard, an entry and search took place at the premises and at the adjoining address where the president lived. It was when accessing the house when the agents found the defendant with an American Staffordshire Terrier dog called ‘Gringo’, for which they ordered the owner of the dog to tie it up.
Although at first the defendant seemed to be putting the muzzle on the dog, he finally let the animal loose “with the intention of threatening their physical integrity”, for which he “disguisedly” removed the muzzle when he observed that the agents They went inside the house.
In this sense, the Second Section court rejected the version of the defendant, who said in court that the dog escaped, and gave credibility to the version of the agents who detailed that the defendant “removed the animal’s muzzle and gave it two slaps on the back encouraging him to attack them”, so he took advantage of that moment to hide some of his belongings.
The dog, whose confiscation is ordered in the sentence, pounced on one of the agents, biting him several times on the leg, so he had to be helped by a second agent who received several bites on the hand. The injuries caused several tears and bruises to the agents, so that the wounded man took 36 days to recover from the attack, which has left him with visible scars.
The motivated attack with a dog supposes a crime of attack against the agents of the Civil Guard when there is a physical attack consisting of an action directed frontally against the authorities through the use of material aggressive means, in this case, “an aggressive dog”.
For this reason, the defendant, who was also deprived during the time of the sentence of having potentially dangerous dogs in his charge during the time of the sentence, had to compensate the agents with 6,400 euros, in the case of the wounded leg, and with 700 euros, in the case of the wounded in the hand. SALE TO THIRD PARTIES
The police intervention made it possible to intervene in the house small amounts of drugs valued at 1,930 euros for sale to third parties. In the same way, inside the association’s premises, in addition to various amounts of marijuana, other psychotropic drugs such as MDMA or DMT were found, as well as money from the sales that were made from the club, to which some 116 members belonged, according to the books of record.
The defendants established the association in September 2019 using the address of the president of the association as its registered office, so that it was registered in the Register of Associations of Andalusia, although the three “already had been using the associative form at least since the 1st of March 2017 when they formed another association” which, in this case, was not registered.
The ruling determines that the association obtained from the “black market” the substance that was supplied at the association’s headquarters, “lacking any administrative authorization for its production and distribution.” Thus, to acquire the status of member, it was enough to be of legal age and be interested in the development of the aims of the association, present yourself as a consumer of cannabis or plants with therapeutic properties or be a regular consumer of cannabis for therapeutic reasons.