Lawyers in San Fermín rape trial withdraw controversial detective report

The defense had the victim followed and her social media activity monitored in order to determine her behavior after the attack

Carlos Bacaicoa, the lawyer for the victim in the case.Julián Rojas / EL PAÍS

Defense lawyers for the five men accused of a gang-rape at the 2016 Running of the Bulls in Pamplona have decided to withdraw from evidence a report produced by private detectives, who were hired to monitor the victim’s activities on social networks in the wake of the alleged attack. A screengrab of a photo on Instagram in which the victim tagged herself, but did not actually post, will remain as part of the evidence in the ongoing trial at a Pamplona court.

The private detectives followed the young woman during a weekend, as well as analyzing recordings from security cameras near her home

As well as monitoring the online activities of the victim in the case, who was 18 at the time of the alleged rape, the private detectives also followed the young woman during a weekend, as well as analyzing recordings from the security cameras in the area in which she lives. The detectives were hired, according to the defense, to analyze the behavior of the victim after the attack. News of the reports, and the fact that they had been accepted as evidence by the judge in charge of the case, sparked a wave of protests based on the interpretation that the intention was to undermine her credibility and place the blame on her for what happened.

The five defendants in the case – which has come to be known as La Manada (the pack), the name given to their group on the WhatsApp messaging service – are accused of forcing the victim into a building vestibule during the world-famous San Fermines fiestas and sexually assaulting her while recording what happened on their cellphones. These video images are playing a key role in the trial.

The first of five suspects accused in the trial admitted that the victim did not expressly consent to sexual relations

On Wednesday, the first of five suspects accused in the trial admitted that the 18-year-old victim did not expressly consent to sexual relations. The accused had previously all claimed that the young woman had agreed to have relations with all five of them.

Also during the trial on Thursday, a friend of the victim gave testimony, explaining to the court that she had called him just minutes before the alleged attack. The pair had met earlier that day, he told the court via video conference, and she called him to find out if he was still in the area. When they realized they were far apart, he went on, the victim said that she was going to go and sleep in her car. She did not say that she was with anyone at the time.

All five of the defendants are from Seville. One was a member of the Civil Guard, while another is in the army. They could be facing 25 years in prison if found guilty. The trial is due to conclude tomorrow, Friday.

English version by Simon Hunter.

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