File the complaint for three alleged crimes that Jesús García Navarro presented against the director and an area chief of the newspaper
The Provincial Court of Murcia, in a recent ruling, has ratified the file of a complaint that the head of the office of the Transparency Council of the Region of Murcia (CTRM), Jesús García Navarro, filed in 2019 against the director of LA TRUTH, Alberto Aguirre de Cárcer, and against the local area chief of this newspaper, Ricardo Fernández, for alleged crimes of threats, insults and slander. García Navarro’s complaint was based on two information published by LA VERDAD in which it was revealed that the legal head of the CTRM, a position for which he was appointed in April 2019, was the founder and director for many years of the ACAL law firm ( Lawyers and Consultants of the Local Administration), investigated in several legal cases for alleged corruption and related to contracts of doubtful legality with public administrations. The first of the information was published on May 24 of that year with the title “An advisor who received dubious contracts leads the Office of the Transparency Council”, while the second, entitled “A court investigates the head of Transparency by the alleged illegal collection of 600,000 euros “, was published the next day.
García Navarro interpreted that this information violated his honor and constituted alleged crimes of libel and slander with publicity, to which he added an accusation of conditional threats by the director and the head of the area of Local de LA VERDAD, as he stated that During an interview at the headquarters of the CTRM, in the presence of the then president of this institution, the now sadly deceased José Molina, and prior to these publications, Ricardo Fernández would have been ordered to leave the position he held for not being worthy of it. As witnesses to these alleged events for which García Navarro intended to request prison sentences from the two journalists, the complainant proposed José Molina, the only direct witness of the meeting and of whom the Court now points out that “neither does his statements exactly coincide with the narration that contained the complaint “, as well as to the secretary of Organization of the regional PSOE, Jordi Arce, and to the regional deputy for the PSOE Alfonso Martínez Baños, to whom García Navarro had apparently related the meeting with the journalist. Only Arce went to the court to testify and neither the magistrate of Instruction number 4 of Murcia nor now the Court have given any value to his words, as it is a mere reference witness and without the slightest direct knowledge of what happened.
After analyzing the complaint, the statements of the defendants and the only direct witness, and the content of the rest of the material in the case, and after obtaining a report from the Prosecutor’s Office, which demanded the dismissal of the proceedings, both the Court of Instruction such as the Hearing have filed the case for not being the constitutive facts of the aforementioned crimes of threats, insults or slander.
The sentence indicates that the information is protected by law and did not contain slanderous content.
Specifically, the resolution issued now by the Third Section of the Murcia Provincial Court, of which Judge Concepción Roig has been a speaker, indicates that “we agree with the Public Prosecutor’s Office, and we do not identify in the denounced conduct the elements that make up the The crime of threats, neither because of the intensity of the action attributed to Mr. Fernández Jiménez in the complaint, nor because of the context in which it occurs, so that we do not appreciate in the behavior reported an injury to personal freedom in terms of criminally relevant. The fact that the alleged ‘threat’ consisted of releasing publications in the press that questioned his public image (of García Madrid), does not have sufficient entity either to motivate him to leave his position or to act contrary to his will, especially defending, as he defends, that they did not correspond to reality, having to contextualize what happened in a climate of tension and mutual reproaches, as narrated by those who participated in the meeting ».
Jordi Arce, ‘number 2’ of the PSRM, testified, despite not having direct knowledge of the facts, at the request of the complainant
The Chamber, when analyzing the reasons why the crimes of libel and slander were not incurred with these publications, recalls the special constitutional relevance of the right to information when it comes to matters of public interest and, in this regard, indicates that “ We have no doubt that the complainant assumed a role of certain social relevance in this Community, with the taking of office within the CTRM, which implies that it had a public projection and a tacit acceptance of the risk of being the subject of a negative publicity ‘.
When entering the bottom of the news published by LA VERDAD, the Provincial Court warns that “if the questioned publications are examined in detail, we do not appreciate the libelous or slanderous nature of their content, since they do not express injurious, threatening expressions to the dignity and honor of the complainant, beyond the headlines, in both news items, and the use of the complainant’s image, which we reiterate, at that time he was a person of clear public relevance and social interest, publications carried out in a few days in which the new impulse to the Transparency Council of the Region of Murcia by the arrival of the complainant to the position made it ‘newsworthy’, as it was being the subject of various publications, as detailed in the complaint.
And he concludes by reviewing that, «in short, we consider that the information contained in the two articles in question would be protected by the right to freedom of the press and the right to information, and we must not forget that, as it came to recalling the brief Statement of Motives that precedes the 1995 Penal Code, which thoroughly reformed crimes against honor, gives freedom of expression all the relevance that a democratic regime can and should recognize.
The file of the proceedings is firm, since there is no recourse against this resolution.