Jennifer Mills-Westley trial: How the case will work

10:00 18 February 2013

UK woman Jennifer Mills-Westley was stabbed and beheaded in a this supermarket in Los Cristianos in Tenerife. Screen grab.

UK woman Jennifer Mills-Westley was stabbed and beheaded in a this supermarket in Los Cristianos in Tenerife. Screen grab.


In Spain there are different judicial procedures, depending on the crime or the person being detained.

The trial of Deyan Deyanov is taking place at the Audiencia Provincial in Avendia Tres de Mayo, Santa Cruz, amid high security and is expected to finish on Friday.

Trials held at the Audiencia Provincial or Audiencia Nacional (Provincial or National Courts) are normally heard by a panel of three professional judges and legal representation for the accused is mandatory.

The victim, or aggrieved party, is entitled to be represented in the prosecution by a private lawyer but there is no provision for these costs to be recoverable.

Juries are appointed dealing mainly with serious offences such as crimes against the person and these cases are held only in provincial courts.

The jury, which is comprised of nine members, will normally simply declare guilt or innocence and the presiding judge, who is supported by two assistant judges, will then pass sentence.

Ordinarily seven votes are needed to “prove” a verdict by majority and five votes are needed for “not guilty” verdicts in trials which are shorter than those in the UK because much of the evidence and examination of witnesses will already have been covered by an investigating judge.

However the case of Deyanov is to be no ordinary jury trial as it seems both the prosecution and defence agree that the Bulgarian committed the offence while in an acute phase of mental illness.

Both sides are seeking internment in a psychiatric centre with the prosecution requesting that his detention is 20 years and compensation is paid to the relatives of the deceased in 200,000 Euros.

The jury will just have to think the verdict, nor declare whether he is guilty or not guilty, but the jury trial is necessary, since it should be held to declare him unimpeachable.

The oral hearing, which shall declare a score of witnesses, will be carried out with higher security measures than normal with four rather than two national guard policemen in the courtroom.

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