2 Years Suspended, Seriously?

A 27 year old Spanish man has received a suspended sentence of 2 years for the crime of reckless homicide when he lost control of his high performance Audi R8 killing a scooter riding Moroccan tourist.

The convicted, aged 24 at the time, was found to be almost 3 times over the legal limit for alcohol, and tested positive for cocaine and methamphetamine. 

He was driving at between 113 and 123kph, in a zone designated as having a maximum speed of 80kph.

The accident occurred in 2014 at the Salinas intersection of the main Ibiza to airort autopista. The scooter rider died some days later. His passenger was also seriously injured.

The convicted man will serve no time in prison, providing he does not break the law in the next 4 years.

He is also ordered to pay 132,000€ to the family of the deceased in an agreement between the prosecution and defence. The prosecution was asking for 4 and a half years in prison.

The practice of financial compensation to victims and their families is common in Spanish criminal law.

Editorial Comment

  • Nick Gibbs

Though usually an advocate of a ‘when in Rome’ approach to  living in  Spain, there are occasions when the difference in cultural and historical outlook and legal framework can become difficult to accept.

That a young man can kill a person whilst driving his high performance car way over the speed limit, almost 3 times over the drink drive limit,  test positive for cocaine and mdma, and though there is no dispute of those facts, he can in effect buy his way out of serving a prison sentence.

This is one of those situations that feels very difficult to accept.

Reaction to Ibiza Justice

There was also considerable reaction in the native Spanish community following the sentence handed out by  Judge Clara Ramirez de Arellano in Ibiza criminal court number 1  this week. Considerable, but in the circumstances, perhaps not as much as you might expect?

Can you imagine the level of outcry in such a set of circumstances in the UK? It would minimally be national news. And it feels rightly so. To put it in some sort of context, this is not in the Diario de Ibiza’s top ten most read news articles this week.

The issue is not one of saying our way is better than your way. It is one of saying people, all people, must be equal in the eyes of the law. That is a fundamental principle that is always better than any other way.

Those in Glass Houses.

I admit that I am no saint myself in observance of drink drive laws. It is an area of law I think the American approach is more effective, they measure the effect of the alcohol, not the amount. Try their sobriety test after you’ve had a few drinks. You think you can do it, but you really can’t. But in a country where long lunches are the order of the day I am sure many people would admit to driving while over the alcohol limits in Spain, which are considerably lower than the UK. See Living in Spain Drink Driving Regulations, a Guiri Guide

But this is not a case of grey area debate over a glass of wine the wrong side of the regulations. This is a case where the person ticked so many boxes of reckless behaviour that he must be held responsible for those actions.

Young Men are Generally Idiots.

The car. An Audi R8. That is a 150,000€ high performance super car. Out of interest I tried insuring it for a 24-year-old today with two specialist high performance/high risk brokers. Neither would even quote. There is a reason the market prices 24-year-old men out of such vehicles through excessive insurance. Young men of 24 are generally idiots. I know as I was one myself. Thank god I could only reach to a Scirroco. If the car or money for the car, came from family money, they should take a long hard look at themselves in the mirror too.

But I don’t think they will be doing any questioning of their own moral compass. If what I understand from Billy O’Raffety’s comment is correct, he also fled the scene and didn’t even call emergency services.

What an absolute charmer.

Speeding, Drinking & Drugs

Then there was what he was doing in that car. He was driving at 50% over the speed limit. 80mph in a 50mph zone, which was actually on an intersection (i think on the slipway but I am not 100%). Even taxis wouldn’t have been tailgating him at that speed.

He was three times over the alcohol limit, not just over. I will try to show some generosity of spirit by saying that the Spanish drug positive test only confirms it as being in your system, not the extent to which you are under its influence. But of course by definition he may well have been, and he doesn’t sound like he needs any help from me in his corner, certainly does not deserve any.

Ibiza Justice

He has far better than that in his corner. He has money. The money to pay the lawyers, and whoever else needs to be paid.  The sort of money that buys an Audi R8 and can afford to get Lloyds brokers to sit to insure it. I do not begrudge anybody their money or success, earned or inherited, but there is one aspect of life where money should count for nothing. One core aspect of any good society where we are all equal. The law.

This doesn’t feel equal. And  I am sorry but I really can’t see the same outcome if it were a Moroccan  tourist killing a Spanish man in the same circumstances.

How Much is a Moroccan Worth?

And in closing the case for the outraged, I have to say one more thing. The amount. 132,000€. I mean it’s not even very much is it?  For the sort of people who can obtain this type of justice it is probably a drop in the ocean. At least if you are going to pay off a family for killing their son, have a bit of class about it and give them a million or more. That’s nothing to keep your little precious out of jail is it? But no, some smarmmy sharp taking lawyer with instruction to pay as little as possible waving a pile of cash in front of people who are either too naive to know any different or overwhelmed by a foreign land’s legal administration, more likely both, and evidently too poor to have any decent representation.

To them it probably is a lot. Here have 130,000€ for your son, he was only a Moroccan after all, we’d have paid 150,000 if he was Romanian, and have the extra 2,000€ to buy your farm or village or whatever it is you people live in. If you don’t sign this now you won’t get anything and we’ll deport you back to your squalid little lives.

How did they get to that 132,000€ figure anyway. Trade in value of the car?

And doesn´t that sum it up perfectly – the life of a human being was valued at less than the car which killed him.

The driver is walking free, as he has done every day since killing another man.

He sounds like a lad who thought of himself as being above the law.

Now he knows he is.

If You Don’t Like It ….

But when all that is said and done I am aware that the Spanish system of financial compensation  is a standard part of their criminal justice system. And I am mindful of what I may have said to any foreign national living in the U.K. if they had pointed out any failings in our moral code or legal structure. Quite simply, “If you don’t like it, get out of the country”.

So best I shut up and move on, before the desire to at least say something sarcastic about the report on Ibiza Town’s drink drive ‘clampdown’ this week, becomes impossible to resist.