A MAN whose hairstyle aroused suspicion when he landed at Barcelona airport turned out to be carrying half a kilo of cocaine underneath his toupée. The Colombian national, who had arrived on a flight from Bogotá, was...
Criminal Code reform: Tougher sentences for animal cruelty and greater protection for minors from sex offenders
By thinkSPAIN Team Sun, Sep 22, 2013
AMENDMENTS to Spain's Criminal Code mean that making any child under the age of 16 watch or witness pornographic material or sexual acts – consenting or otherwise – is punishable by prison, as is knowingly possessing or accessing child pornography or 'realistic' images of minors in sexual acts, even if real children were not involved.
The minimum age of sexual consent has risen to 16, although if a person performs sexual acts on a girl or boy aged 16 or over but under 18 by abusing a position of power or trust, they will also be considered to be committing a criminal offence.
Until now, the minimum age of sexual consent was 13, which left young teenagers vulnerable to abuse.
Similar rules cover over-18s who are handicapped and have a much younger mental age.
The new Criminal Code also means negligently or deliberately causing the death of a healthy domestic animal is punishable by 18 months in prison and a ban on working with, owning or otherwise being in the custody of animals for between two and four years.
Injuring or otherwise mistreating or neglecting an animal, putting their health at risk, carries a prison sentence of between three months and one year and a ban on working with – as a profession or volunteer – or keeping animals for between one and three years.
Custodial sentences have been given an overhaul and life imprisonment can indeed mean life, although those in jail permanently will have their situations reviewed periodically.
Judges have criticised various parts of the new Criminal Code, which they say is 'too general and vague' and 'serves only to make it look as though they are doing something without actually doing anything'.
They do not believe a reform of existing life imprisonment is necessary, since Spain has one of the highest incidences in the EU of sentences being served in full and the highest number of prisoners per inhabitant, whilst statistically its violent crime rate is very low and the level of crime overall in Spain is among the lowest in the European Union.
Members of Judges for Democracy say too may actions have now been 'criminalised' needlessly, including many types of non-violent protests and demonstrations or 'peaceful popular dissidence'.
Other parts of the Criminal Code are considered too lenient, particularly where maximum sentences for given crimes are less than two years, since first-time offenders do not have to go to jail where their custodial term is two years or fewer.
They have applauded the new Criminal Code's tightening-up on piracy of audio-visual, artistic and literary material, since they say the arts and culture industries are suffering as a result of the practice.
More Crime/Incidents content
SPAIN'S highest contentious court has overturned a controversial sentence which found five gang-rapists accused of the lesser offence of 'sexual abuse' after they attacked an 18-year-old woman at Pamplona...
BRITISH police are concerned about a father and son who have been missing for just over a month after hiring a car in the province of Málaga. Daniel Poole, 46 and his son Liam, 22, travelled to the Costa del Sol on...
THE daughter of a woman who is fighting to prove surrealist painter Salvador Dalí is her late illegitimate father has been found dead on a bench in Girona. As yet, the cause of Elisabeth Martín Abel’s demise is not...