High Court rejects Catalan minister’s appeal and admits suit over purchase of ballot boxes
Catalonia’s top court upholds Prosecutor’s charges against Borràs and Esteve arguing need for investigation into evidence of criminal activity
The High Court of Justice in Catalonia (TSJC) has rejected the appeal presented by the defense of governance minister, Meritxell Borras, and the ministry’s former secretary general, Francesc Esteve. The officials had appealed charges by the State General Prosecutor over the process to purchase ballot boxes, which the Catalan government had already declared “null”.
The State Prosecutor accuses Borràs and Esteve of disobedience, perverting the course of justice and misappropriation.
In the appeal, both defendants argued that the State Prosecutor’s charges over the purchase of ballot boxes was a preventive use of the criminal law, which violates the European Human Rights Convention and the Charter of the Fundamental Rights of the European Union. Their lawyer also argued that the preventive use of the criminal law in order to prevent something that someone could eventually carry out in the future is incompatible with the basic premises of criminal law. He also considers acceptance of the case against the Catalan minister and her former secretary as completely premature and hasty.
The court argues that there is evidence of related activities, such as the beginning of the ballot box purchase process coinciding with the approval of the budget bill. The budget proposal foresees provision for a “political process in Catalonia” and guarantees the government enough financial support to fulfil the referendum resolution approved in the Catalan parliament that was declared null and void by the Spanish Constitutional Court. Therefore, the court does not consider the purchase of the ballot boxes to be a single action and that all the related actions must be investigated as part of alleged