The Santiago Times
08 September 2011
WRITTEN BY ADELINE BASH
Defense attorney in Karadima case maintains evidence illegally collected and impermissible in court.
The Chilean Supreme Court ruled Wednesday that evidence gathered by the Chilean police investigators’ controversial search defense attorney Juan Pablo Bulnes’ Santiago office will be permissible in future court trials for the sex abuse case against Catholic priest Fernando Karadima
Photo courtesy of lizunamo2/Flickr
Special Judge Jessica González, who is leading the investigation of the case, ordered the office search on April 14. The search gathered the court transcript of January trials of Karadima held by the Vatican. Bulnes, representing Karadima, in the case, reportedly refused to turn over the transcripts over to González.
Karadima is accused of sexually abusing three young men and one minor while working as the director of the El Bosque Parish in Santiago. In January the Vatican found the priest guilty of the charges.
The case against the priest was originally brought in 2005. The Chilean justice system did not order a criminal investigation until 2010, however, and in December closed the case temporarily. A Chilean appeals court reopened the case in January following the Vatican’s guilty verdict and González was appointed to the case.
Bulnes claims that because González did not have a legal search warrant, the files obtained from his office cannot be used against his client in court and in April filed a case against the judge.
Wednesday, the Supreme Court sided with González, saying that given the delicate nature of the case and the importance of the transcripts, they had to be available to the prosecution
Bulnes said he plans to appeal the ruling, maintaining that the search of his office was illegal and violated his rights.
Court proceedings in the Karadima case concluded on July 19 when his four accusers faced the priest in a five-hour-long trial. The case was expected to be decided within a month of the trial. However, as of Thursday — nearly two months later — a verdict had still not been announced.
By Adeline Bash (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Copyright 2011 – The Santiago Times