When former Madrid premier Esperanza Aguirre illegally parked on Madrid’s Gran Vía on April 3, then fled the scene when police officers tried to fine her, knocking down one of their scooters in the process, she may have committed a criminal offense rather than a mere contravention.
So says a judge at the Madrid superior court of justice, the Audiencia Provincial de Madrid. Contrary to what a lower court and the Madrid attorney’s office had argued, this new decision notes that “the reported facts do provisionally fall into the category of disobedience under Article 556 of the Penal Code.”
The case will now go back to the original court. Aguirre, who is currently president of the Madrid branch of the PP, may have to testify along with eyewitnesses, and could face a prison conviction of six months to a year.
Any regular citizen would have ended up in handcuffs, locked up at the police station”
Luis Gerez, the lawyer who helped the association Justicia y Transparencia appeal the initial decision on the Aguirre case, said that he is very happy about the higher court’s views on the situation.
“Disobeying the municipal police is a crime, not a contravention,” he insisted. “Any regular citizen, given the same events, would have ended up in handcuffs, locked up at the police station, and immediately been subject to a fast-track trial.”
This view reflects widespread sentiment that Aguirre was let off lightly because of her status as a famous politician. In statements to the press shortly after the incident, the PP official played down its importance, claiming she did what any other citizen might have done.
Her decision to drive away from the scene led to a chase down the streets of Madrid to the door of her home in the Malasaña district, where seven police officers showed up to serve her with her fine. Aguirre contends that she was being detained on Gran Vía beyond any reasonable limit, just so members of the public could take pictures of her and create a scandal.