The journalist who accused Feijóo’s chief of staff of corruption is acquitted of slander and convicted of libel

The Provincial Court of A Coruña has acquitted of a crime of slander and has sentenced by another for insults to the Galician journalist who published several pieces of information in a digital medium he owned accusing of prevarication to the former general secretary of Media of the Xunta, in the stage of Alberto Núñez Feijóo, Mar Sánchez Sierra, current director of Projection and Image of the PP and chief of staff in the shadow of the popular leader.

In articles that Miguel Angel Delgado published in 2018 in his digital journal, Galician Xornalclaimed that Sánchez Sierra had created a “business network” with other people to distribute public aid of the Xunta destined for newspapers and websites, for whose final destination she was the most responsible as general secretary of Media of the Government of Alberto Núñez Feijóo in Galicia.

The ruling of the sixth section of the Provincial Court, dated November 14, to which he has had access Public, revokes conviction for slander imposed on Delgado by a court in Santiago, but confirm the penalties for a continuous crime of serious insults: a fine of 1,800 euros; to indemnify Sánchez Sierra with another 3,000 euros; to remove from Xornal Galicia all the articles related to the facts prosecuted, and to publish the ruling and keep it for three months on the newspaper’s website.

Between July 20, 2018 and October 20 of that year, Xornal Galicia published nine pieces of information in which he denounced allegedly illegal actions of the highest press officer of the regional Executive. Among them, having created “a business network” with other people from her circle of friends, which allegedly plagiarized the journalistic brand of Xornal Galiciato get hold of 400,000 euros from the public aid items that the Xunta habitually allocates to the media.

According to the content of those texts, for which Delgado tried unsuccessfully to get an appraisal of Sánchez Sierra, the money was allegedly distributed in “chopped” contractsin order to avoid the mandatory public tender established by law, through a intermediary agency that would have been in charge of channeling the adjudications. In addition, García Delgado’s medium accused Feijóo’s press officer of delivering “help finger related media”, use “public funds to finance intellectual plagiarism”, and persecute him, harass him and coerce him personally.

The judges of the Provincial Court of A Coruña consider that the articles of Xornal Galicia constitute a crime of insults because they “disgrace and discredit” the honor and public image of sanchez sierra. But not one of slander – the knowingly false accusation of a crime– because the newspaper’s assessments of the actions of the Media Secretary are framed within “the exercise of the information freedomsand fundamentally of opinion, through a medium aimed at the general public and that refers to the management of public fundsa fact that is obviously of general interest”.

“The defendant alleged a basic fact (the grant making for the respective apparent owners of the publication and specifically for those who are owners of the means that according to the defendant ‘plagiarize‘ his digital diary) which is real”, reads the sentence.

For the judges, “whether it is correct or not in the legal analysisor even that these analyzes may be the result of a malicious interpretation as would correspond to revenge mood that the sentence [de primera instancia] justifiably appreciated in the defendant, does not affect that, given its content and the concurrent context, they should be considered covered these assessments for the exercise of the aforementioned liberties”. “Even though terms that may be annoying may be used (‘putting by finger’, ‘would have cut up the contracts’), which appear as directed to provide expressiveness to the assessment,” adds the ruling.

Xornal Galicia also accused Feijóo’s chief of staff of having used the aforementioned “business network” to, allegedly, “sell work clothes and footwear and web pages to organisms and institutions governed by the PP”, and of being related “to shady deals related (…) to the forest fires” in Galicia. The judges also assess these accusations as insults, but not as slander because they would not imply the false accusation of any crime either.

Public tried this Thursday to obtain the opinion of Mar Sánchez Sierra on the ruling of the Provincial Court of A Coruña, but at the close of this article noor had received an answer.

As for Delgado, he assures that will appeal the sentence on appeal before the Supreme Court and also, where appropriate, before the Constitutional Court. “I understand that for Mar Sánchez Sierra it is difficult to accept that a journalist does not swallow with his threats“, he said, to reiterate his argument that “there are plenty of criminal indications to prosecute” Feijóo’s chief of staff, “who held a position for eleven years from which hand-allocated public funds to the media with whom he later met to indoctrinate them on how they should report”.

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