Willy Toledo is one step closer to standing trial for insulting God and the Virgin Mary. Madrid’s examining court number 11 has ruled that there is sufficient evidence to suggest the actor can be prosecuted for the crime of offending religious sentiment. The judge has therefore ruled against dropping the case, and instead has decided to proceed with a trial at the behest of the Spanish Association of Christian Lawyers, the group who took Toledo to court in the first place.
According to the judge, the Facebook posts dating back to July 2017 "contain language which is potentially offensive to Catholicism and practicing Catholics" which isn’t protected by the freedom of expression and, therefore, "there are sufficient grounds” for prosecution.
The Spanish Association of Christian Lawyers has announced that it is hoping to obtain "a guilty verdict", adding that they will ask for "respect, rather than a prison sentence", since it considers that there are "aggravating circumstances and evidence of repeat offences" since the actor "has persisted in his attacks".
Toledo’s lawyer says the actor is "not worried” and he wryly remarked that he is “forever amazed". He went on to say: "I'm amazed that your views and words could still constitute a crime in this country. I’m amazed there’s a judge who takes this from a Facebook post and considers it a crime, that the police investigate all of Mr. Toledo’s other posts, that the judge agrees to rule on the charges, that my client was deprived of his freedom for 20 hours and that now the judge considers it a crime to write two sentences that tens of thousands of people say every day in this country and that tens of thousands more have written on Facebook". He went on to add that "if there are so many people that haven’t had charges brought against them and it’s only him, it makes me think that it’s not about prosecuting what Willy Toledo does but what he thinks".
Mr Toledo was arrested on 12 September for failing to appear in court on two occasions, and subsequently released without bail. He appeared before the judge for less than ten minutes and limited himself to answering only questions from his lawyer, who asked him if he agreed with the motion filed before the court asking for the case to be dropped.