Thursday, December 05, 2013

Contempt of court; Media ownership; Spanish growth; Bad laws; Football; & the Galician AVE.


I read in the Voz de Galicia that a psychiatrist who'd treated the Santiago mother who's accused of killing her own daughter considered, back in 2009, that she was suffering more from psychotic more than depressed. And that she was "cold, controlling and with isolation issues". So I did a bit of research on the concept of contempt of court in Spain and came up with this: The absence of effective libel legislation, or laws protecting privacy, often means that investigative journalism takes the form of personalised attacks on individuals. Moreover, there is no developed concept of "contempt of court" to prevent what has been described as 'instrucción paralela' (parallel depositions), that is, the open and detailed discussion of legal cases in the media, particularly the press, while court proceedings are in train. I can't say I was surprised to read this, having seen what's going on in the media in respect of the woman. And having heard the Public Prosecutor say he fears her trial is being prejudiced. How about 'knows with 100% certainty"?

In sharp contrast to all this was the formal warning issued by the UK Attorney General this week, to the effect that users of social media will be prosecuted for ignoring Britain's strict rules on contempt of court. He also took the innovative step of issuing guidelines for those who use the internet to express their (often vicious) opinions. This has only been done in the past in respect of what's now apparently called "the legacy media".

Talking about the media here, I was interested to read that the largest press agency in the Hispanic world - EFE - is owned by the Spanish government. As are some of the main TV channels.Why, one wonders.

More bad news for Spain has come in the form of forecasts from the consultancy firm, PWC. It will, they say, take 20 years for Spain's unemployment rate of 26% to reduce to the EU average of 7%. True, the economy will grow by 42% by 2033 but never more than by 2% a year. Which is slow.

Well, if your interest was tweaked by yesterday's item about the FIFA draw for the next World Cup, you'll want to read this article on how they've now piled daft upon daft, with the result that several major teams could face each other in the first round in a riskier-than-ever Group of Death. All this, of course, reflects FIFA's greed-driven aim to have ever-more teams in the ever-longer competition - this year year in the 40 degree heat of those soccer giants, Qatar.

Football is in the domestic news this week, but only as a bit player. For, under the outrageous new laws designed to curb street protests, people who play football in the street will face fines of up to €1,000 - "when there is a risk of damage to people or property or when the circulation of people or traffic is impeded." As if this weren't bad enough, the fines are to be levied by the police, not the courts. But this is not yet a done deal, for the EU has waded into the fray, on the side of democracy. Which is a tad ironic, but never mind.

Finally . . . I forecast years ago that the AVE high-speed train wouldn't be finished in Galicia until 2018. I can't recall what the government promise was back then, probably around 2008. Anyway, we've just been told that the date is moving from 2014 to 2015. So we're getting there. Shame that no one was daft to take me up on the bet. Not even me.

8 comments:

Alfred B. Mittington said...


The more interesting question in the Asunta case is, how a certified psychotic was ever accepted as an adoptive parent by the many agencies, social workers and psychologists who get paid good money to weed such people out…

Strangely, not one TV station or talk show ever asked that question yet.

Alfred B Mittington (proud godfather of an adopted boy called Hannibal).

Colin Davies said...

What I don't understand is why they didn't weed you out as a grandfather!

Colin Davies said...

She saw the shrink in 2009. I think Asunta was in her early teens. Meaning she'd be 8 or 9 then. Possibly the adoption took place before that.

Anonymous said...


Colin,

When you quote the UK Attorney General this week as having said "users of social media will be prosecuted for ignoring Britain's strict rules on contempt of court"

He's clearly changed his mind since 2008, when he let a woman off for doing just that

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/uknews/3792892/Juror-escapes-prosecution-for-posting-court-trial-details-on-Facebook.html

Even Joanne Fraill escaped prison in 2011

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-13751454

Having recently been a juror, many warnings were given not to publish anything in the social media.

Here is the official line :-

https://www.gov.uk/jury-service/discussing-the-trial

Quite right too, as you say. But note that it says "can be fined or sent to prison", not "will".

Maybe that will change now, but in wishy-washy Britain, I doubt it.

Q1-10

Colin Davies said...

Fraill was jaile, no?
http://www.theguardian.com/uk/2011/jun/16/facebook-juror-jailed-for-eight-months

Anonymous said...


Colin,

Further on jurors exceeding their brief, this is most informative :-

http://www.thedrum.com/news/2013/07/29/jurors-google-and-contempt-court-right-fair-trial-uk-crisis

Apparently people have been jailed for this recently :-

http://www.thedrum.com/news/2013/07/29/two-jurors-jailed-contempt-court-after-man-messaged-he-was-deciding-paedophiles-fate

So, maybe Britain is not so wishy washy after all?

Jury sequestration is a costly but reliable answer, but threats of prison is a good start.

Q1-10

Alfred B. Mittington said...

Read closer, ye Liverputian hothead-in-a-hurry-to-reply!

I am Hannibal's GODfather, not GRANDfather. Godparents are not (yet) screened by the adoption agencies.

Meanwhile, the pretense of the adoption agencies is that during the 1 to 2 year screening, they CAN weed out the unfit prospective adoptive parents. This is why they get paid, and why they are granted such very great powers. So let one of them explain, on the telly if you please, why they let this couple pass…

Your faithful and grateful friend, Al Mittington.

Colin Davies said...

There s absolutely nothing Godly about you, Alfie. As you well know. I'm surprised the church didn't catch fire when you stepped over the threshold.

As for her mental health, they adopted the kid in 2001 so it's possible she was 'sane' (to the extent anyone is) in 1999-2000, ten years before her 2009 episode. After all, she did well in her law studies in both Spain and the UK. And possibly France. Can't recall. And in her job as French consul.

Perhaps her mental problems are episodic.

Pretense/pretence? An old issue resurfacing. You should stop with this 18 century affection, you poseur. Even if it's amusing.

But, yes, the agency should be called to account, to show why they regarded her as mentally fit in 1999-2000.

Note: The British consul in Galicia is based in Vigo, to deal with drunken sailors and moribund/dead cruise-ship passengers. Not saintly Santiago, where the only risk is candle burns. Or pilgrims ill from the fumes emanating from their boots.

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