1708606128 Verdict Dani Alves sentenced to four and a half years

Verdict: Dani Alves, sentenced to four and a half years in prison for raping a young woman in a nightclub | Company

The court in Barcelona has sentenced Dani Alves to four and a half years in prison for sexually assaulting a 23-year-old girl in the toilets of a cubicle at the Sutton nightclub in Barcelona. The Section 21 judges give credence to the victim's account and consider it proven that the former FC Barcelona player penetrated her vaginally without her consent and “with the use of force”. The rape victim received the news of the conviction, which is not final and can be appealed, at the office of her lawyer, Ester García. The court also agreed to keep Alves in the temporary prison, where he has remained since January 20, 2023.

The public prosecutor initially requested nine years in prison, which the private prosecution on behalf of the victim increased to twelve years. However, the court recognized a mitigating circumstance that helped Alves get his sentence reduced. Prison: Compensation for damages since he paid the compensation of 150,000 euros requested by the public prosecutor. However, the judges ruled out the mitigating circumstance of drunkenness because it had not been proven that “alcohol consumption” had impaired his performance. In addition to the four and a half years, of which he has already served one year and one month in preventive detention, the sentence provides for a five-year suspended sentence under supervision, which applies after the prison sentence has been served. It also prohibits him from coming within one kilometer of the victim's home or workplace and orders him to pay the 150,000 euros (already paid) for the moral damage and injuries caused to the young woman.

The van carrying former footballer Dani Alves arrives at the Barcelona court this Thursday. The van carrying former footballer Dani Alves arrives at the Barcelona court this Thursday. Alejandro Garcia (EFE)

The court considers the victim's story about what happened in the toilets of the Sutton reserved room to be proven. Alves “suddenly grabbed the complainant, threw her to the ground and penetrated her vaginally to prevent her from moving, even though the complainant said no, she wanted to leave.” The judges understand that this was “the type of non-consent that “Use of violence and carnal behavior”. The young woman did not have any vaginal injuries (only a bruise on her knees), but the verdict reminds us that “for the existence of sexual assault, neither physical injuries nor evidence of heroic resistance on the part of the woman are required for the existence of sexual relations.” €.

Consent “before and also during sex”.

The court develops a detailed argument on consent, an issue at the heart of the Alves case, making it the first major criminal trial since the passage of the Yes Means Yes law. “Not only can consent be revoked at any time, but consent must also be given for each of the sexual variants of a sexual encounter.” “It does not appear,” the ruling says, that the victim “agrees” to this practice; In addition, it is proven that Alves “suppressed the victim’s will by force.”

Images from the cameras in Sutton's VIP area show the victim dancing “in a suggestive manner” with Alves, who “moved his bottom closer to the defendant” and even “hugged” him. From then on, however, it cannot be assumed that the girl “gave her consent to everything that might happen later”; This case involved vaginal penetration in the bathroom, which, according to the judges, “undoubtedly occurred with the use of force.” “These attitudes or even the existence of insinuations do not mean that there is a license to engage in later insults or aggression.” Consent to sexual relationships, he adds, “must always be given before and even during the practice of sex.” in a way that allows everyone to have sex “to some extent” and not be ready to “move on.” or carry out certain practices. “Consent,” the resolution states, “must be given for any type of sexual relationship in the context of a sexual encounter.”

The credibility of the victim

One of the keys to solving the case was knowing what opinion the victim's testimony deserved in court. In the absence of other decisive evidence, his story was the cornerstone of the resolution, regardless of its significance. This is the case “in most crimes against sexual freedom,” the judges admit, and even more so when “the existence of consent is the focus.” The Section 21 judges recall that “there is no presumption as to the truthfulness of the victim nor does his testimony prevail over the testimony of the accused,” who enjoys the right to the presumption of innocence. And it points out that recent legal reforms (the law that is only Yes Yes) “have not changed the criteria for evaluating the evidence” nor have they reversed the burden of proof: it is the allegations that have to prove what beyond all reasonableness is doubt that the crime was committed.

Alves' defense strategy was based on an attempt to discredit the victim. He argued that his account of events in the VIP area just before the attack did not match at all with what Sutton's surveillance cameras showed. The lawyer Inés Guardiola insisted that there was a mutual sexual attraction between the two and that the young woman did not withdraw her consent once she was in the toilet. “At no point did he tell me to stop, we both enjoyed it and nothing more,” the Brazilian footballer explained during the trial.

The court acknowledges that some of the applicant's statements relating to what happened in the VIP area are “inconsistent with the evidence presented”, but considers that the core of her statement (the events in the bathroom ± o) The victim's narrative was “coherent and particularly persistent” throughout the teaching phase. Quite the opposite to Alves, who gave up to three different versions of what happened during his first appearance before the judge on January 20, 2023 (which took him to temporary prison). The ruling emphasizes that no “relevant contradiction” was identified when the victim appeared at the hearing, which was held behind closed doors to protect her identity and was recorded with distorted images and voices.

The verdict goes on to say that the victim's credibility is supported by the fact that no wrong motive has been proven. “She did not know Mr. Alves, nor is there any evidence that she harbored any animosity toward him,” nor is there any evidence of “any quarrel, envy, jealousy or other motive” that would lead her to report events that This would have resulted in “more problems than advantages”. In addition to severe post-traumatic stress, he suffered other unpleasant consequences; for example, that his identity and image were revealed because the player's entourage (including Alves' mother) published a video of him a few weeks before the trial. The verdict is a reminder that from the first moment and as various witnesses testified at the trial, including Sutton's associates, the victim was “afraid to come forward” for fear that her identity would be revealed, which is what happened.

The “peripheral” characters

The victim's statement is not the only piece of evidence that allows Alves to be convicted, but there is “other evidence that corroborates his story.” These are “peripheral” confirmations that, although not definitive in themselves, allow the conclusion as a whole that the sexual relationship was non-consensual: the injuries to both of the victim’s knees, which were “the result of Alves The force used “was to bend the complainant down and lay her on the ground”; the victim's behavior immediately after the event and the presence of psychological consequences.

The decision was made just two weeks after the last hearing, which took place from February 5th to 7th. Although in cases involving preventive detainees (such as Alves) sentences are usually imposed quickly, this is a very short period of time, but not unusual for Section 21. At the last opening of the judicial year in Catalonia, judges were recognized for having reduced the enormous backlog of cases accumulated in this department.

The oral hearing took place under great anticipation and could only be partially followed due to the conditions imposed by the court to protect the victim. For example, images from Sutton's surveillance cameras were not visible in the reserved area, which Alves said did not match the victim's statements. The player defended his innocence and tried to undermine the young woman's credibility, even though his own was already at a very low level.

Victims of all sexist violence – from physical to psychological, sexual or economic violence -, their families and their environment can be reached on telephone number 016 24 hours a day, every day of the year or in 53 different languages. The number is not recorded on the phone bill, but the call must be deleted from the device. You can also contact us by email at [email protected] and by WhatsApp at number 600 000 016. Minors can contact the ANAR Foundation at 900 20 20 10. Yes, it is an emergency, you can call 112 or the telephone numbers of the National Police (091) and the Guardia Civil (062). And if you can't call, you can use the ALERTCOPS application, from which an alarm signal with geolocation will be sent to the police.