Pau Rigo with his lawyer outside the courts in Palma. | Alejandro Sepúlveda


Pau Rigo, the 83-year-old man who went on trial for homicide, has been acquitted.

In September, a Palma jury found him guilty of having caused the death of one of two robbers at his home in Porreres in February 2018. He shot Mauricio Escobar, 25, in the stomach with a hunting shotgun; Mauricio Escobar later died in hospital.

The jury returned a verdict of guilty by five to four, the Prosecutor's Office having accused Pau Rigo of homicide and called for a sentence of three years and nine months. The jury ruled out intentional homicide but concluded that he caused the death of Mauricio Escobar while being subjected to a real, serious and imminent threat, which produced a serious impairment of his judgement.

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The verdict led to considerable legal debate. A five to four majority was insufficient, and the judge should not have accepted the verdict for this reason.

The court has now determined that the jury had gravitated in two directions - acquittal or a sentence with mitigation. "Given doubts as to what the jury really wanted to disclose, a ruling of acquittal must be possible as the adequate majority had not been reached. These doubts, not cleared up, lead to the application of the 'in dubio pro reo' principle in favour of Pau Rigo and acquittal." 'In dubio pro reo' means that a defendant cannot be convicted if doubts about guilt remain.

While the court has acquitted him, it is possible that there will be appeals to the Balearic High Court and the Supreme Court in Madrid due to the inconsistency of what happened at the trial and the enormous procedural doubts about the result.

Pau Rigo was on trial at the same time as the three surviving members of the robbery gang. The two masterminds, José Antonio Sánchez Lara and Marcos Rotger Vidal, have been sentenced to four years and eight months and four years and six months respectively. Fredy Escobar, the brother of Mauricio, has been sentenced to three years for having carried out the robbery plus two years for injuries that Pau Rigo suffered.