ONE OF the members of the notorious ‘wolfpack’ gang, responsible for the rape of a young woman at the Running of the Bulls fiestas in 2016, will not be seeing his prison sentence reduced under Spain’s new ‘only yes means yes’ consent law.
The new legislation came into force in early October, and was aimed at putting consent at the centre of sexual assault cases. However, due to changes made in the law to minimum and maximum prison sentences, depending on the offence, it has had the unintended consequence of allowing convicted sex offenders to successfully request for lower sentences and in some cases even be released from prison on time served. Lower sentences can be retroactively applied under Spanish law.
It was this loophole that was used by the lawyer for ‘wolfpack’ member Ángel Boza. He was convicted of the 2016 rape at the Sanfermines fiestas in Pamplona, but was the only one of the five-member ‘wolfpack’ not to have been convicted for a separate sexual assault that came to light during the investigation into the gang.
It was because of this lower sentence that his lawyer requested a reduction of Boza’s prison term from 15 years to 13 years and nine months. No such request has been filed for the other members of the gang.
However, the Navarre High Court has decided that it will not be lowering sentences for sex offenders, as other courts are doing in the rest of the country. It will only revise sentences when the prison term is higher than the new maximum established under the ‘only yes means yes’ consent law, according to online news site navarra.com.
This means that Boza’s bid to see his sentence reduced will not, for now, have a chance of prospering.
The ‘only yes means yes’ law was drafted by the Equality Ministry, which is headed up by the junior partner in Spain’s coalition government, leftist Unidas Podemos.
The legislation was sparked in part by the outrage when the ‘wolfpack’ were initially found guilty of sexual abuse and not the more serious offense of sexual assault, i.e. rape.
The fact that the new law has seen the reduction of sentences for – or even release of – convicted sex offenders has been a huge embarrassment for the government, which is headed by the Socialist Party. A sentence reduction for a member of the gang who actually inspired the new law in the first place would undoubtedly have caused a public outcry.