Sunday, June 29, 2014

Judge Dread And The Infanta-cide

He rides a Lawmaster motorbike. He patrols Palma Mega-City One. He dispenses instant justice. Be afraid, be very afraid. Here comes Judge Dread. Dreaded by members of royal families everywhere. Especially Spanish ones.

Judge José Castro, judge of the people, hero of the people, a comic-strip legend roars into the Palma courts on his trusty steed, his high-cylinder "moto". The sword-wielding, Kendo-practising judge issues his 167 tablets of stone, his "auto". Moto, auto, whatever. Zap, pow, Judge Dread has spoken, and the word is Infanta-cide. Somewhere in Geneva, the Infanta Cristina, just returned home from the day job with the La Caixa bank foundation, shudders with horror. She has someone to comfort her, though. The Queen Mum, recently relieved of royal duties, has arrived to be at her side. Sofia hasn't seen Cristina for a while. Her daughter wasn't around for the abdication or the proclamation. She is the sidelined royal. The "new" royal family doesn't, strictly speaking, include her. Sidelined royal. Airbrushed royal? Dispensable royal? Judge Dread thinks so. He has dispensed his justice.

But who is this? Into the OK Corral of the Palma courts strolls a fearless lawman. Sheriff Pedro Horrach, a fighter of corruption, just like Judge Dread. But only one of them, on this day, can audition for Elliot Ness. Has Horrach switched sides? This is their Tombstone. Their duel, their gunfight. Horrach, the prosecutor but defender of the Infanta. Castro, her accuser.

Horrach, till now the Untouchable, is risking all. He is lining up against the people's hero. But then Castro is also risking all. Or is he? Horrach has years to go to retirement. Castro could call it a day today if he wanted to, his reputation intact. Their duel has only just begun. Former allies now separated and staring at each other across the Court's Corral, the intense heat of summer burning down on them. Who will be the first to flinch? Go for your denuncia, shouts Castro. Condemn me for abuse of position, if you dare.

Persecution of the Princess, claims Horrach, who has never wavered from his view that there is no case to answer. Disrespect has been shown to me, counters Castro, who adds: "A judge can lose impartiality, just as a prosecutor can lose impartiality. This is an inherent human risk. But I do not believe that a judge is more vulnerable than a prosecutor to losing impartiality."

Partiality or impartiality, the duel will continue at least until the Audiencia court in Palma decides if Castro's indictment, his Infanta-cide, will stand. But who's to say that its decision will be the final word? No one.

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