The Supreme Court confirms the reduced sentence of a rapist from 'the pack' due to the law 'only yes means yes'

The Supreme Court has approved the reduced sentence of one of them the rapists of the Pamplona pack in application of the law of “only yes means yes”. The judges have rejected the appeal of the Public Prosecutor against the decision of the Navarrese judges to reduce one of the convicted men from 15 to 14 years in prison. They understand that at the time he was given a “close” sentence to the legal minimum and that it is right to adapt his sentence to the new law, while explaining that no differences can be made “between this case, even though it is particularly high-profile” and other cases they have studied in recent months.

One of the rapists from the Pamplona pack filed his request in the High Court of Navarra to be able to benefit from the new law and profit from it. The answer of the jury was reduce from 15 to 14 years his conviction for sexual assault established by the Supreme Court. The Navarrese judges understood, with one vote against, that the Supreme Court imposed a sentence that was “close” to the legal minimum, a legal minimum that the “only yes is yes” law lowered last year. “The fifteen years of imprisonment imposed are two years above the possible minimum that actually falls within the possible penological arc”, the judges acknowledge, despite having signed the reduction.

One of the judges, Esther Erice, voted against, arguing that this review cannot arise from “mere criteria of arithmetic proportionality”, in line with what has been established by the Supreme Court. after investigating dozens of similar cases with the entry into force of the new law. Up to that point, the Criminal Chamber of the Supreme Court had already determined that a sentence above the statutory minimum and within the limits of the law is not subject to review.

The Supreme Court now endorses the decision of the courts of Navarra, because it understands that the case of this gang rapist meets the criteria followed in dozens of other cases of sex offenders who have successfully requested a reduction: at the time, his sentence of 15 years in prison was very close to the legal lower limit, and the new law has a new, even lower lower limit to which it must adapt. No differences can be drawn, says the Supreme Court, “between this case, even if it is particularly controversial, and the hundreds of cases analyzed by this Chamber”, in which they have already reiterated that the criminal scope of the 'only yes' law Yes, it is “more advantageous than the previous regulation.”

The case at the origin of law

In case of the pamplona package and the first two sentences in the case, which dealt with sexual abuse and not rape or assault, brought thousands of people to the streets in protest against two resolutions of the Navarrese courts that, they understood, focused on the attitude of the victim and not on the attitude of the five attackers. The first sentences of nine years in prison for abuse They were commuted to 15 years in prison and for assault when the case reached the Supreme Court.

The debate ended up in politics around one main point: uniting sexual crimes under the umbrella of sexual violence. The norm, promoted by Unidas Podemos of the Ministry of Equality led by Irene Montero, received parliamentary approval in April 2023. A series of measures to improve the protection of victims of sexual crimes, through which this type of crimes has been restructured in the criminal aspect, not only with new names, but also with changes in the minimum prison sentences for some of them.

Shortly after it came into force, dozens of sex offenders went to court to request that their prison sentences be retroactively and downwardly revised: the new law provided for lower minimum sentences for various sex crimes. The verdict of the territorial courts was not unanimous, and the Supreme Court determined that if a rapist had been rightly sentenced to the minimum sentence, his sentence should be reduced to the new statutory minimum sentence.

The codena reductions translated into several simultaneous institutional crises. On the legal front, the General Council for the Judiciary decided to compile statistics on these reductions, data which were sometimes incomplete. As of the latest update in November 2023, the courts had approved 1,233 sentence reductions based on the application of this rule, leading to 126 releases. The data shows that the Supreme Court, the last stop of this criminal procedure in the ordinary justice system, had a reduced sentence in one fifth of the cases that he had studied.

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