Two defendants will testify at the beginning and three others at the end

Two defendants will testify at the beginning and three others at the end
Two defendants will testify at the beginning and three others at the end

The third anniversary of the murder of Samuel Luiz has been celebrated. The young man from Coruña, who would now be 27 years old, was the victim of a beating by a mob that ended his life without leaving him any chance to defend himself. It was the early morning of 3 July 2021 on the seafront of the city of Hercules, the same place that last Wednesday hosted a silent but heartfelt tribute to the young nurse. And this time, unlike the two previous anniversaries, the people of Coruña attended the event with the certainty that the trial, against five alleged perpetrators of the crime, will be imminent: will begin on October 16 and will last for one month.

After several delays caused, essentially, by the difficulties in obtaining from American companies the information required from the defendants’ social networks –through letters rogatory to the United States–, the Provincial Court of La Coruña had set a date for the hearing, September 13. But the agenda of one of the lawyers, who had a trial scheduled for the same days in Madrid, has forced the president of the court to postpone it for a month: thus, it will start on October 16 with a session dedicated to the presentation of reports and preliminary questions after the selection, the day before, of the members of the jury.

Defense Strategies

The new trial script, which ABC has had access to, is essentially the same as the previous one, but starting a month later. However, with one important change: if initially it was planned that only one of the accused would testify at the beginning of the trial – Alejandro Míguez – and the other four at the end – Diego Montaña, Alejandro Freire, Kaio Amaral and Catherine Silva – now this distribution will vary: Catherine Silva’s questioning will be added to Alejandro Míguez’s in the second session of the trial – the first is only for preliminary questions – and the other three defendants, those who are in preventive detention, will testify in the final part of the oral hearing. All this at the request of the defendants’ lawyers, with different defense strategies: Some prefer their clients to be questioned in the initial phase of the trial.before the appearances of witnesses and experts, while Others believe it is better that they do not testify until the penultimate session. It is becoming more common for defence lawyers to ask – and for the court to accept – that their clients testify at the end of the trial, after the evidence has been taken. What is not so common is what will happen in this case: that some are questioned at the beginning, and others at the end.

In between, about twenty sessions The court is expected to present around fifty witnesses and two dozen police officers – although the parties may waive several of them during the trial – as well as two forensic experts from the Institute of Legal Medicine of Galicia (IMELGA). The intention of the president of the court, Elena Pastor Novo, is for the trial to be ready for sentencing on 15 November, after a final session reserved for the presentation of the final reports of the parties – the public prosecutor, the private prosecution, the popular prosecution and the defence – and the possibility that the five defendants in Samuel’s death may exercise their right to the last word.

Facts and requests for punishment

A month-long judicial marathon to clarify the Responsibilities of five of the seven defendants for the brutal group beating that ended the life of Samuel Luiz. The other two suspects, who were minors at the time of the events, have already been tried and convicted of murder in a separate proceeding.

The Prosecutor’s Office, in its pre-trial indictment, in which it requests sentences of between 22 and 27 years in prison for the five defendants, This more or less summarised what had happened that night of 2-3 July 2021 in the area around the Coruña seafront. Samuel and a friend left a pub, the Andén, and sat on a bench on the promenade. Samuel then started a video call with another friend who had not gone out that night. And Diego Montaña, who had gone to the same pub, was also on the promenade with his girlfriend, Catherine Silva. Diego Montaña thought that the young man was recording him with his mobile phone, insulted Samuel and began to attack him without giving him the chance to defend himself. Then, successively, Alejandro Míguez, Alejandro Freire and Kaio Amaral joined in the attack, leaving Samuel in critical condition. The victim died hours later at the La Coruña University Hospital Complex (CHUAC) due to the severity of his injuries.

To facilitate the task of the nine members of the court, The judge has drawn up a detailed questionnaire, The jury has accessed the report, which contains a total of 102 questions about the events that the nine members of the jury will have to answer throughout the trial. For example, did the accused carry out “the acts because of their animosity towards the sexual orientation that they attributed to Samuel?” This question that the jury will have to answer refers specifically to the role of Diego Montaña and his ex-girlfriend in the crime.

Sexual discrimination

In the case of the couple, the accusations add to the crime of murder the aggravating circumstance of sexual discrimination, due to a series of comments and insults to Samuel that They reveal Diego Montaña’s homophobiaThe prosecutor believes that Catherine Silva, who is also accused of the crime despite the fact that she did not hit Samuel – but did try to prevent the friend who was with Samuel from helping him – shared her boyfriend’s homophobia.

Three of the five people under investigation for Samuel’s murder have been in preventive detention since the summer of 2021 and will await trial behind bars: Diego Montaña, Kaio Amaral and Alejandro Freire. They are precisely the three defendants who will testify in the penultimate session of the trial. The two who prefer to testify at the beginning, Catherine Silva and Alejandro Míguez, are who are on provisional release.

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