Sunday, July 28, 2013

The Spanish Train Tragedy 16

Under English law, the media would be constrained as to what it could say about the train driver accused of manslaughter, only 4 days after the crash. No such restrictions apply to the Spanish media. So it's hardly surprising that the press and TV are rife with alleged comments and actions on the poor man's part. Speaking on his mobile phone at the time of the crash is the latest of these. A previous one was that he had left the cab for 15 minutes, something which would be impossible unless he somehow rigged the 'dead man's handle' that causes immediate braking if it's not moved every 5 seconds.

The black box - which will hopefully prove or disprove everything that's been said - has not yet been opened. The official reason given was that the priority was identification of the dead. This has now been achieved, opening the way to the 'complex' access to the box - possibly before the driver goes before the investigating judge at 9.30 tonight. The task of this judge is not to assess innocence or guilt but to decide whether the case should go forward to trial under a second judge, and possibly jury. This investigative judge is entitled to call for all data in respect of an accused, including a criminal record, if there is one. So he'll doubtless be given a transcript of the Facebook dialogue of a year ago, which many people seem to think is all the evidence needed to hang the man.

The national rail carrier - RENFE - will also declare before the judge, presumablly sticking to their line that it's nowt to do with them and all to do with the driver.

The driver is not compelled to say anything at this investigative stage. Given what trouble his previous comments have got him into, I think it's a safe bet he won't say much tonight.

The police will also attend and have said that they are keeping open all lines of investigation and are discounting nothing.

The driver will have to re-appear before the judge later, after the police have completed all their investigations.

I leave you with the words of a Spanish observer: "People want a spectacle. When something like this happens, they want someone to feed on."


That role is currently being played by the driver, Sr Garzón. In other times and in other places, railway executives have been jailed for criminal negligence. We wait to see whether that happens here. But it'll be a long wait.

1 comment:

Azra said...

It's really sad. In most accounts, I've read that the driver is full of remorse. Can't imagine how terrible he must be feeling... and worse still, facing such devastating consequences of such a stupid act.

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