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03 August 2020
On 27 February 2020 the Supreme Court dismissed a cassation appeal against a judgment confirming decisions issued by the Provincial Court of Valencia (the Provincial Court) on 1 March 2019 and the High Court of the Valencian Community (the High Court) on 23 April 2019 for an 18-month prison sentence and the payment of a fine, the transport and destruction costs, as well as the legal costs (including the private prosecutor's costs) for the import of counterfeit shoes for commercial purposes that infringed adidas's brands and designs.
The Provincial Court's judgment was based on the import of counterfeit products at the defendants' establishment following a tip-off from the Italian police about the existence of said shipment, which was intercepted using a surveillance device installed on the premises. In total, 2,764 pairs of counterfeit shoes that infringed adidas's brands and designs were seized (for further details please see "Criminal sentence for importers of shoes which infringed adidas trademarks and designs").
The defence strategy was to deny that the defendants had been the recipients of the seized products as the products had not come into their possession, since they were delivered to the entrance of their establishment, without actually being received.
Nevertheless, both the Provincial Court, as the first-instance court, and the High Court, when reviewing this first-instance judgment, considered proven, in view of the evidence collected, that the counterfeit products were intended for the defendants.
The cassation appeal that gave rise to the recent Supreme Court ruling was based on the right to the presumption of innocence, with the defendants alleging that this had been violated in the High Court judgment.
Both the public prosecutor and the private prosecution opposed this cassation appeal.
In its ruling, the Supreme Court clarified that, as a result of the 2015 legislative reform of the Criminal Procedure Law which guarantees the double instance, a cassation appeal must be directed "to satisfy the necessary requirements of legal security and of the principle of equality of citizens before the law", thus ensuring that "the application of criminal law is foreseeable".
This means that when an appeal concerns the fundamental right of the presumption of innocence, the review function is limited to examining the rationality behind the ruling based on the reasoning behind the judgment under appeal.
Reviewing the deductive process of the appealed judgment, the Supreme Court stated that the High Court had considered that the Provincial Court had relied on the evidence and enquiries carried out during the trial hearing (eg, the defendants' cross-examination, statements from police agents, workers and the transport company's manager and documentary evidence such as the delivery note) and also reviewed them.
The Supreme Court considered that the High Court's reasoning conformed with the rules of logic and common experience, since said court, based on the means of evidence, confirmed the transfer of the merchandise, the detection of the police surveillance device and the delivery of the merchandise to the entrance of the commercial establishment. The Supreme Court further pointed out that the only rational explanation for this was that the defendants had requested the cargo for commercial purposes and abandoned it on a public road once they became aware of the police presence.
The Supreme Court indicated that these arguments deserved their ratification.
Considering the solid reasoning of the judgment, the defendants limited themselves to reiterating the content of their first appeal, so the Supreme Court concluded that this last cassation appeal had no cassation relevance as there were no reasons that could give rise to a decision that departed from the conclusions by the Provincial Court and the High Court.
The Supreme Court ordered the appellants to pay the costs of the appeal.
With this Supreme Court ruling, the route of ordinary appeals was exhausted; therefore, the defendant's conviction was final.
For further information on this topic please contact David Daura at Grau & Angulo by telephone (+34 93 2023456) or email (email@example.com). The Grau & Angulo website can be accessed at www.ga-ip.com.
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