Thursday, May 21, 2015

A military judge seeks to apply the Military Code to a civilian for lying during the proceedings

Prior to 1985, while the Spanish Code of Military Justice was in force, military courts heard all cases of infractions of the law committed by members of the military or that occurred in military establishments. Today, only those infractions that are set forth in the Military Criminal Code come before the military courts. For example, drug trafficking on a military base or drug trafficking committed by a member of the military does not come before a military court. The kinds of offenses heard by Spanish military courts include: insulting a superior officer, disobedience, abuse of authority, desertion, etc.

Today (May 21, 2015) a military judge in a separate opinion filed in connection with a judgment of the Military Court in Santa Cruz de Tenerife, Spain, advocated applying the Military Criminal Code to a civilian who lied during a trial in which a Guardia Civil (member of the military charged with police duties) was acquitted of insulting his superior officer. The Association of Guardia Civiles (AUGC) made public the judgment of the Military Court of Santa Cruz of Tenerife in which this separate opinion was included and which was rejected by the rest of the Court.

The civilian, a taxi driver, appeared as a witness in the proceedings. The judge who authored the separate opinion is of the view that the civilian and the superior of the defendant lied to the court for which reason he proposes investigating them for "false testimony."

The judge, a Lieutenant Colonel, blames the Military Prosecutor for believing the testimony and changing his position since he ended up asking for the acquittal of the defendant.

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