The trial began with the testimony and questioning of the security guard of the building where Luciano’s brother lives. While this witness recognized Luciano as the brother of the apartment’s owner, he was not able to recognize the motorcycle they showed him (the motorcycle that Luciano supposedly took), recognizing the color but not the model. He did not see the license plate, nor was he there at the time when Luciano supposedly took the bike from the building. The defense made him responsible for making this situation clear.
The next witness was the owner of the motorcycle from which the plate was stolen. He only indicated that the plate on the motorcycle found in the place corresponded to a plate that had been stolen from him in downtown Santiago some time ago. It was notable how the press has influenced people: to the prosecutor’s question, “When did you recognize the plate?” the witness said that “they used the plate to put on a motorcycle and then throw a bomb at the bank, in the bombs case.” The defense did not ask questions.
Then came another witness of the prosecution: a merchant who had a bazaar near to the squatted house when Luciano supposedly lived. This witness fell into various contradictions between the statement that he gave to the police and the one he made in the trial. For example, he began by noting that he did not know his name or how they called Luciano, he only saw him when he came to make purchases… but to the further question from the prosecution: “Do you know what the accused’s nickname is?” the witness responded, “Yes, Tortuga.” When the defense asked how he know this if he had said the contrary, the witness was troubled and said, “I heard it when he was with some friends”… nevertheless, in his written statement he explicitly said that “the accused always came alone to make purchases, never with other people.”
The witness also said that he did not know where he lived, but he knew that he was “from that group, the ones they call squatters.” How? Because they came “from those parts,” dressed in black, with jackets that said squat, and that the house was painted on the outside and it also said squat.
The defense made him clarify that the cops never came, nor the firefighters, nor was the house clandestine, and that Luciano only bought things to eat from the bazaar, he never bought cables or anything like that.
The problem arose that in the written statement the witness game the names and surnames, but the witness said that they showed him some photos and that the people were recognized that way. Therefore, the defense questioned who made the statement, because there had already been a witness who said that the statement was not his (see day 2).
Then came the person in charge of repairing and maintaining the Santander Bank branch where the device exploded. The relevant thing about this testimony is that the prosecution tried to make it seem that the damaged caused was enormous, showing photos (pretty miserable ones) in which windows were shown broken into a thousand pieces, a broken door, and a pillar and the ceiling marked with soot. The defense was able to make clear that the workers did not take more than one week, after business hours, and that day public entry was delayed only by about half an hour. He compared it to a smash-and-grab robbery, the witness saying that there isn’t much defense between one and the other in the time it takes to repair. Also, it was indicated that only one door was broken, the other was only shattered.
Then the witness’s statement was discussed, since again there were contradictions between what the witness said in the court and what the police said earlier. Finally, the witness recognized that he did not read the statement, since the police asked the questions while they were arranging the bank so that people could enter, there had been a lot of people and a lot of movement, and so he had just signed the statement without reading it.
In the afternoon, the trial continued with the testimony of a police officer of the Police Intelligence Directorate of Carabineros (DIPOLCAR) who was in charge of retrieving the banner hung outside of the clinic where Luciano was, a banner that was also shown in the hearing as a piece of evidence. He also spoke about how the chain of custody of some evidence was broken (two helmets and a motorcycle license plate) to be sent to the Carabineros Laboratory to be analyzed.
Then, the director of the INDISA Clinic, where Luciano was hospitalized for almost three months. It was a rather technical statement, since it only dealt with the medical consequences of the failed attack. Another point that he touched on was the call that a woman made to the hospital on June 2, 2011, threatening that “a group of people disguised as paramedics would make an attempt against Luciano Pitronello.” Due to this call, the police were able to get custody of the compa, while before only the civil cops could do so.
The hearing ended with a long lecture from the medical reports put out by the INDISA Clinic, in which they gave record of Tortuga’s developments.
To close, they said that there were few witnesses left, so this stage (the witness statements) would end perhaps on Thursday, to continue with the evidence and experts.
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The fifth day of the hearing in which the compañero Luciano risks 15 years of prison for the crime of terrorist placement of explosive device began with the statement of experts from GOPE (special operations group) and LABOCAR (carabineros criminal laboratory). The first spoke about the report made on the motorcycle that Luciano and his companion supposedly traveled on, this ruling out the possibility that the motorcycle had some kind of device with it and/or attached to it. The second expert named Rafael Cares referred to the report on the site of the incident, that is to say, the outside of the bank and its entrance, in addition to the motorcycle and the helmets. The expert report comprised the seizure of all the evidence such as clothing, parts of the device, organic and/or biological remains, etc. This evidence after being seized was taken to the laboratory and there they carried out various tests such as DNA comparison and examination of powders, etc. In the case of the motorcycle that was found, GOPE agents took fingerprints, finding 3 papillary traces unsuitable for determining their owner. This same officer took the DNA samples from Luciano and his brother who voluntarily went to the laboratory. Luciano’s device was compared with more than 150 planted devices with respect to activation systems and types of powder, and they found significant similarity to the devices at the BBVA and BCI in the de Las Condes neighborhood in 2011 on February 10th and 11th respectively.
The prison guards raised the compa’s punishment at the defense’s request. It had been expected that the trial would last several more weeks, but according to what the tribunal estimates it will not go beyond next week.
In the courtroom the photographer of the daily el Mercurio continually insisted on photographing Tortuga’s face in spite of the tribunal reiterating that they could not do so, filthy scavengers.