Wednesday, December 24, 2008


The decision by the Spanish judicial authority, the CGPJ, not to revise its ruling on the case of Judge Rafael Tirado has been described by the father of murdered youngster Mari Luz Cortes as “a national shame”.

In an earlier disciplinary hearing the CGPJ classified the failings of Rafael Tirado as a “serious” offence after he left the alleged killer of Mari Luz Cortes free after he had been sentence to jail for paedophile related offences.

The prosecutor had appealed against this ruling seeking instead that Tirado should be suspended from his duties as a judge for three years. He considered the judge’s offence to have been “very serious” which would have earned the tougher suspension sentence.

Gabriela Bravo, the spokesperson for the CGPJ, insisted that the judicial authority saw the offence as “serious” and could not agree with the “very serious” category. Fourteen members of the CGJP voted to maintain the fine whilst seven supported the suspension call. The prosecutor now has to decide whether the decision should be appealed in the Spanish High Court.

The Mari Luz case has caused widespread debate because of the judicial errors that allowed Santiago del Valle to remain free. He has admitted kidnapping Mari Luz but says she died accidentally. However had he been serving his allotted jail term for the two paedophile offences, one against his own daughter, then he would not have been free to take Mari Luz.

The father of Mari Luz, Juan José Cortés, called the decision by the CGPJ a “national disgrace” and accused the judges of supporting their own. He told the media: “An organisation such as the Consejo General del Poder Judicial cannot be permitted to make this type of decision as they only listen to the side of the judicial system.”

The Spanish government has made its concern over the CGJP’s decision known. The minister of justice, Fernández Bermejo, has stated that he fears that the authority has let what it sees as alack of resources in the judicial system affect its decision.

The CGPJ was unlikely to change its original decision on appeal as that would be admitting it was wrong in the first place. It would also not wish to be seen to be bowing to government and public pressure. The Spanish High Court will now probably be the final arbiters in this tragic tale. Justice must not only be done but be seen to be done. Whilst nobody can bring Mari Luz back at least her parent’s should know that those responsible for her death are being made to share their pain.

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