THE LAWYER for a member of the notorious ‘wolfpack’ gang, five men who were convicted for a 2016 rape at the Running of the Bulls fiestas in Pamplona, has stated that he will seek a reduced sentence for his client under Spain’s controversial new ‘only yes means yes’ law.
Ángel Boza is one of the five men to be given 15 years in jail by the Supreme Court for his role in the sexual assault. A lower court had originally given the gang – known as the ‘wolfpack’ thanks to the name of the WhatsApp group that they used to chat – a lesser sentence for sexual abuse. Public outrage to that ruling was, in part, what prompted the government to introduce the new legislation.
The ‘only yes means yes’ law was passed in early October and is focused on consent. It removes the distinction between sexual abuse and assault and classifies as ‘rape’ any offense where explicit consent has not been given.
However, changes to minimum and maximum sentences under the new law have had an unintended effect, and are allowing convicted sex offenders to request lower jail terms. In some cases, these have been granted by the courts already and some convicts have even been released on time served.
The lawyer for Ángel Boza, Agustín Martínez, has confirmed to Spanish online daily El Confidencial that he will be using the law to request a lower sentence for his client. He will request a reduction from 15 years to 13 years and nine months – shorter by a year and three months.
Boza is the only member of the gang to have not been convicted for the seperate sexual abuse of another young woman in Cordoba. That is why he is the only one who is likely to request a more lenient sentence.
The unexpected effect of the new law has sparked a massive political row. The Equality Ministry, which drafted the legislation and is headed up by leftist Unidas Podemos, has denied that the text contains loopholes and has instead blamed ‘sexist’ judges for incorrectly applying it.
Some ministers from the senior partner of Podemos in the coalition government, the Socialist Party, have stated that the law will have to be revised. For his part, Socialist Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez has called for time so that the upper courts can establish the criteria to be used when revising sentences under the new law.