Imagine walking in a park with your family on a Sunday afternoon and, while you are all content and chatting away, an antagonistic adult starts picking on one of the younger children ahead and pushes him. Clearly it is an adult person that is doing this, so one of the older sisters interferes verbally and she receives a slap and a push. On seeing this, her boyfriend retaliates, again verbally, but as a result, gets punched and kicked, he naturally retaliates by punching back.
On seeing this you naturally call the police, but when they arrive, everyone is asked to produce documents and go to the police station. Before you know it you every one is treated as guilty and is obliged to make a statement, including those having done nothing more than to be present and related.
In the UK and, I suspect, in most parts of the world the law is there to protect the innocent and punish those who break the law. Well, it would seem to be different here in Spain even in the case of an adult assaulting a minor.There then follows the scenario, that he who shouts the loudest, receives the most attention!
The way that these incidents are dealt with by certain Spaniards is to go to a Centro Medico and have all your bruises and marks examined and attributed to the other party, including the bruises that you might have had when falling off the stairs a few days earlier and those that you caused yourself on the way to the medical centre. For good measure take some photos of the bruises to show in Court. Look around and see if you can convince anyone to testify as an independent witness, even if he or she has not actually seen anything but simply sympathises with you. This is not easy even if there was a witness present who did see it all, because normally no-one wants to get involved (especially if you are not Spanish).
When it gets to making the statement; lay it on as thick as you can and never admit that it was your fault or that you defended yourself or that you insulted the assailant or threatened him. Whether you do so or not he will say that you did and the chances are that he will pull out a witness you never knew existed.
Having got this far, now make sure you get compensation, because as sure as hell he will claim for his damaged clothes and for the wages for as many weeks off work as he can, plus anything else he can think of.
On the day of the hearing, remember all the lies you told on the written statement and make sure all in your party know what you are going to say, including any witnesses you might have convinced to testify. It really makes no difference because in the end everyone is fined, even if you did nothing more than to stand there or tried to stop the argument, but what seems to count is that the louder and the more you whinge the more sympathy you will get when deciding on the size of the multa and compensation award. We are not saying that this is right or that this is the way things should be done, however, unfortunately all too often it is the way things are done here! Call that justice?
I really appreciated your reecent article "Justice on the Costa". I've been abused for the last 9 months by the Spanish legal system because I was honest and my Spanish ex-girlfriend was not. If you want to run another feature, please contact me. It's important British people don't take the Spanish legal system (including the Guardia) as legal and honest. BR Noel Lyons
Rated: 5/5 (22nd March 2007)