In a trial, there are many things that that make an impact, and in a trial with the importance of that being held in Spain's Supreme Court, where nine Catalan political prisoners are being tried, even more so. This Wednesday, for example, we saw the public prosecutor, in a tone that was basically inquisitorial, examining the Catalan government official responsible for institutional information; and, not satisfied with the responses, he asked for the testimony to be referred to the duty judge on the grounds of false testimony. Presiding judge Marchena then intervened and gave a preemptive warning to the witness about the penalty that he could face - up to two years in prison - for perjury. As we all know, witnesses, unlike defendants, are obliged to tell the truth and must avoid deceitfulness or evasiveness in their responses. 'Specify the question and specify the answer', a line that's turning into the court's motto.
I don't know what Jaume Mestre knows and what he doesn't know, I have never seen him nor met him, at least, that I am aware of. If this is not the case, and we once coincided at some event, I must have forgotten - because such things do happen, whether the justice system likes it or not, and that does not necessarily result in a false testimony, however much one is required to tell the truth. The fact is, it is both enthralling and edifying to see the life lessons that a trial of this magnitude can offer, as former prime ministers, government ministers, and a long list of personalities pass through the court.
And it is easy to recall now those first testimonies by the senior Spanish government members of the day, Rajoy, Soraya and Zoido, who didn't remember anything that had happened, and who said they'd delegated everything to others and heard about it through the newspapers or television. That the most important witnesses exhibit such an extreme forgetfulness about those days and remember nothing is sounds almost normal due to their multiple activities. Former deputy PM Soraya Sáenz de Santamaría had even forgotten whether the declaration of independence passed by the Catalan Parliament had been published or not in the Catalan government gazette. Maybe she's the only person involved who can give an answer like this and stay so cool. But there were no consequences from it. Nor were there any when former interior minister Juan Ignacio Zoido turned into the minister of I don't know, I don't remember, and, unsure and vague, he bumbled his way out of a testimony that was everything except clear.
But this time it's different. And the misuse of public funds charges must be crystalized at all costs, since the offence of rebellion has little or no legal basis, up till now, according to the experts. Two charges which, as we have seen from the first day, are far from proven. But the game is not over yet.