MAKING A DENUNCÍA – what you need to know 7.
By Myles G. Jackson – an English Lawyer with De Cotta McKenna y Santafé
Here I discuss the denuncía – which means to ‘report’ a crime or a dispute (as in with your neighbour). Generally, people make a denuncia when they’ve been mugged, or lost their passport and need official confirmation so the Consular authorities can issue emergency travel documents or replacement passport.
If you have been victim of, involved in or witness to a criminal offence, car crash or any of the above, simply attend your local police station and report what happened or what you saw. In Nerja, the Guardia don’t speak English (at least not whilst on duty) but do have a list of local interpreters who, for a fee, are happy to assist you report the theft of your camera.
For those living in remote villages, the duty officer’s English may be little better than your Spanish and interpreters may not be as readily available. In such circumstances, you may prefer the path of least resistance and call the denuncia hotline (tel. 902 102 112). The hotline is staffed by bi-lingual speakers who will ask who or what you wish to report. All you have to do is speak English in calm, measured, assured tones, confirm your name, address, NIE and what it is you wish to report. It’s probably sensible to pen what you propose to say in advance so that you don’t confuse, omit or forget key information. Thereafter, the denuncia will be forwarded to your local national police station which you’ll need to attend within 48 hours to formally sign the report. One should note that the denuncia hotline is for reporting criminal offences rather than civil infractions. So where you have lost your driving licence or your neighbour is playing his iPod too loud for comfort, you’ll need to attend the station in person.
Upon reporting your matter to the police, they will make preliminary enquiries of possible witnesses, compile any evidence and prepare a file. This may take some time. Although, it is fair to say that most denuncias go no further than the village bobby having a quiet word in the perpetrator’s ear. Where sufficiently serious, the matter will be referred to the Public Prosecutor who, if satisfied that there is a case, will refer it to the local judge. If the judge decides that no criminal offence is made out, the file will be archived; if he considers that an offence is made out but the perpetrator cannot be readily established, the file will be shelved pending further evidence and; if he thinks that there is a case to answer, he will hear evidence for both the prosecution and defence before determining guilt and sentence.
If you wish more information on this particular topic or would like to discuss any matter raised therein, contact Myles Jackson or Reyes Gomez Llorente.
De Cotta McKenna y Santafé,
Calle Diputación, 6-2º-A,
29780 Nerja
Tel.: 952 52 70 14 Fax: 952 52 34 28