Julen's parents demand a jail sentence of three years and six months for landowner

José and Victoria, Julen's parents.
José and Victoria, Julen's parents. / MIGUE FERNÁNDEZ
  • The couple, who are bringing a private prosecution against the owner of the land in Totalán where their son died, claim he has never apologised

Julen Roselló's parents have filed a written indictment as part of the private prosecution against David Serrano, the owner of the land in Totalán on which their two-year-old son died when he fell down a borehole in January. They are asking for the court to sentence him to three and a half years in jail for manslaughter through negligence.

This would be a longer sentence than that requested by the public prosecution, whose provisional conclusions about the case were that Serrano should be jailed for three years if found guilty. The written indictment by the parents agrees with all the prosecution's conclusions, and differs only in the suggested length of sentence.

The couple's lawyer, Antonia Barba, says that in cases of negligence there are no fixed sentences and the judges and courts can decide on these arbitrarily after considering the personal circumstances, the severity of the events and the results.

Julen's parents believe David Serrano was "extremely negligent" and claim he had contravened safety regulations when having the 70-metre borehole drilled on his land in search of water. They also say he had not obtained authorisation for the containing wall he was building on the site, and had failed to put up warning signs about the presence of the hole that Julen fell down, prompting a massive rescue operation.

They have also criticised Serrano's behaviour following the accident, saying that not only has he never apologised to them but he has tried to blame them for not looking after their child properly. They were also angry when his lawyers produced a report claiming that Julen could have been killed not by the fall, but by a pick used during the 13-day attempts to rescue him.

Revenge, says defence

David Serrano's lawyers, however, say they are very surprised by the parents' demand for a jail sentence of three years and six months. Antonio Flores, of Lawbird Legal Services, said this appears to be a wish for personal revenge, and points out that the parents themselves had previously described the death of their son as an accident.

The defence lawyers reject the parents' claim that David Serrano was responsible for covering the hole, saying that this was the responsibility of the building company that was carrying out the works, and that the parents had been "indisputably and repeatedly warned" about the presence of the hole by Serrano, the owner of the land. They also say Serrano has said "a thousand times" how sorry he is for what had happened, and that parents have a duty of "culpa in vigilando" (responsibility to look after their children).