It is worth reading the court ruling in the case of former Chief Constable Josep Lluís Trapero —and the top brass of the Catalan police force in 2017— to grasp the massive blow that those who built the accusations against them have been dealt. Trapero, Laplana, Soler and Puig have been cleared of all charges, but you wonder how the damage done to them can be repaired. In the ruling, the Audiencia Nacional court panel states that their case was built on “conjecture and hypothesis” and gives the indictments no credence whatsoever, claiming they were based “on information whose accuracy does not stand the test of verification” and witness statements that are “merely perceptions that do not provide any conclusive evidence”. Likewise, on the subject of the disagreement between Trapero and the Guardia Civil commanding officer [on how to best handle the independence vote slated for 1 October 2017] the court argues that “disagreeing is not akin to neglecting one’s duty”.
The judges acknowledge that Catalonia’s Mossos d’Esquadra adhere to a different policing model, one that “foregrounds dialogue and negotiation to manage protests and regards the use of force as the last resort”. The ruling goes on to say that “exercising prudence in the face of such an extraordinary situation (…) cannot be regarded as aiding and abetting” and it criticises the Spanish police operation [on the day of the independence vote] by saying that it remains to be seen which would have been the most reasonable course of action “given that irreparable, disproportionate harm” could be inflicted.
The gaping chasm between the Audiencia Nacional ruling and Justice Espejel’s dissenting vote (or the Supreme Court judgement in the case of the Catalan leaders who staged the referendum) is as unbridgeable as the chasm between the two Spains that we have witnessed in the Spanish parliament these days [on occasion of the no-confidence vote against PM Pedro Sánchez].