After completing the intermediate stage of the trial of former president of Panama,Ricardo Martinelli, for alleged illegal wiretapping, the Judge of Guarantees, Jerónimo Mejía set tentative date on December 11 to start the trial before the Plenary Session of the Court.
"Having demonstrated the reasons in law, in an objective manner, which demonstrates without a doubt that the Supreme Court of Justice (CSJ), the Plenary and this magistrate of Guarantees are competent to hear this process, proceed to issue the opening order to trial," said Mejía who also argued that it would be a "contradiction" for the Court to desist from the competence.
It should be noted that up to now there is a ruling after the admission of a writ of amparo filed by the defense of the ex president and that would define whether the court is competent or not in this case. If the Plenary decided that the CSJ loses jurisdiction then the trial against Martinelli would go to the ordinary courts.
During the last day of the trial admission hearing, Martinelli wrote several letters to his lawyers, reiterating that his case is a "political trial". The message is repeated at the end of the hearing: "I hope the Supreme Court will do justice and do not be fooled by Judge Mejía, who only wants the role of the Plenary." He accused Mejía of being manipulated by the president of the Republic, Juan Carlos Varela.
Mitchell Doens, victim and plaintiff of the case, said that "what the plenary will say about its competence remains pending". However, he shares the opinion of Judge Mejía, "after having failed on several occasions over a series of appeals that the defense has presented, in which the jurisdiction of the Court, both generic and functional, that the Court itself has said has been demonstrated. Now that he has no powers, it would be absurd and would leave the image of the court on the ground. "
"I feel that Judge Mejía has asked the Plenary of the Court to resolve this on Thursday. I feel that it is an obligation of the Plenary of the Supreme Court of Justice to define the competences. I had not known that a magistrate, Judge of Guarantees had questioned the Court of Judgment. When you had listened to a magistrate, Judge of Guarantees saying that the Plenary would contradict with your actions for having admitted a project? The most shameful thing to have publicly accused a magistrate of having leaked the draft ruling, "said Carlos Carrillo, lawyer of former President Martinelli, at the end of the hearing.
Carrillo reiterated that they will interpose the corresponding amparos before the decisions of the Judge of Guarantees with which they did not agree.