A judicial investigation into a network allegedly dedicated to arms trafficking, drug cultivation and trafficking, extortion, drug ‘overturns’, illegal detention, fraud, identity theft …, in which the British citizen Anthony appears as the main suspect Edgar Ager, is seriously threatened with nullity due to the apparent exceeding of the maximum legal deadlines to investigate, contained in the controversial article 324 of the Criminal Procedure Law. This has been revealed by the defense attorney for Ager and two other defendants, Juan Rigabert Montiel, who in the brief in which he claims the free dismissal of the proceedings reveals that the Court of First Instance and Instruction number 4 of Lorca, that coordinates this procedure, it remained nine months without practicing a single diligence since it received the matter from another sister body. And this without the complexity of the case having been formally declared and without, consequently, any extension of the time limits having been decreed to exhaust the investigation, so the six months that govern in these cases would have been widely exceeded.
Specifically, the lawyer recalls that on August 17, 2019, the Court of First Instance and Instruction number 5 of Lorca issued an order inhibiting the matter in favor of Court number 4. And it was not until May 14 of 2020, after more than nine months, when this body issued its first resolution, ordering various proceedings and offering actions to one of the victims. Hence, since no extension had been declared, the six-month limit originally established to have that investigation closed would have apparently been exceeded.
At the moment, both the Public Prosecutor’s Office and the court itself, the latter through a recent order, have tried to prevent the overcoming of this legal period from rendering the entire case null and void. Thus, the magistrate reasons that the legislator’s sense in setting that time limit was never to allow some crimes to go unanswered. “Establishing a maximum limit to the duration of the investigation without further ado – reason – has proven pernicious because it can lead to impunity for the prosecution of complex crimes.”
And it adds that “the delay or delay that may have occurred should not guarantee impunity for criminal acts as serious as those instructed here, without any defenselessness having been proven, due to the absence of any, merely due to the passing of the term”, since considers that the rights and procedural guarantees of the accused have not been violated.
It ends by stating that it was not until June 11, 2020, as a result of the receipt of the extension report from the Civil Guard, that the significance of the crimes under investigation was actually known, which far exceeded those that initially caused the opening of those proceedings. With these arguments, the judge rejects that the case should be annulled.
However, the defense has appealed to the Provincial Court, which until now has been relentless in the annulment of cases in which those deadlines had been exceeded.