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The scene of the shooting in March. SUR
Search and arrest warrant issued after British and Irish suspects in Marbella restaurant shooting jump bail
Courts

Search and arrest warrant issued after British and Irish suspects in Marbella restaurant shooting jump bail

Darren H. and Gerrard S. spent a month in prison after being arrested in connection with the gunshots that damaged the front of La Sala; their defence lawyers lodged an appeal which was admitted by the provincial court; this week they failed to appear in court, a condition for their release

Irene Quirante

Malaga

Friday, 3 May 2024, 17:50

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A Marbella court has this week issued a search and arrest warrant for Darren H. and Gerrard S., the two suspects previously detained in connection with a shooting incident at La Sala restaurant on 11 March and who are suspected of being linked to organised crime.

After nearly a month in prison, the pair had been released on a formality and ordered to appear in court twice a month, among other conditions. They failed to turn up when required on 1 May.

The sequence of events following the shooting, as SUR has been able to confirm, was as follows: on 25 March, the pair were arrested in a macro-operation by the National Police and, two days later, they were provisionally sent to prison.

Barely a month later, Malaga provincial court ordered their release after admitting appeals lodged by their lawyers, which alluded to a Constitutional Court ruling regarding information being provided in writing, rather than orally. Among other cautionary measures, as set out in both orders seen by this newspaper, they were required to appear on 1 and 15 of each month and whenever they were summoned to the court nearest to their home or to the court handling the case, as well as being forbidden to leave Spain and having their passports withdrawn.

The suspects have not been heard from again; they failed to appear at the court on 1 May, which has led to the search and arrest warrant being issued.

This is another case that is drawing attention to actions by the courts in Malaga, as El Confidencial has reported, and which - despite the differences - in some ways, is reminiscent of the controversial release in March of the leader of the Mocro Maffia arrested in Marbella , Karim Bouyakhrichan, the most wanted criminal in the Netherlands, who has been missing since 1 April.

Information in writing

The decision of the provincial court to provisionally release Darren H. and Gerrard S. is based on the appeal lodged by the defence solicitors after alleging that they had not been allowed access "to the essential elements of the proceedings" to be able to challenge the Marbella court's order for them to be remanded in custody.

Once the two suspects were brought before the court, they were informed in their own language of their rights and of the offences for which they had been arrested, as well as of the essential elements of the investigation that could be released to them at the time. The evidence that led to their arrest, and of which they were verbally informed, was related to police surveillance and footage from CCTV cameras.

At the hearing, the lawyers expressly stated that their right to written access to the essential elements of the proceedings that had led to the two shooting suspects being sent to prison had been violated, which prevented them from exercising their right to a full defence. They also stated that prior to the hearing, they had requested this access in writing on the basis of Constitutional Court ruling 21/2018.

After studying both appeals, the provincial court considered that, despite appreciating that the investigating judge had been willing to provide the parties with those elements that she considered essential for the exercise of their right of defence, the information provided verbally "does not meet the requirements that the Constitutional Court has given to the legal provision of having access to the essential elements of the proceedings".

On this point, the court ruled that a copy should have been provided to the parties of those documents that did not compromise the secrecy of the proceedings and served as a basis for the issuing of the arrest warrant. Hence, the provincial court decided on 22 April to release Gerrard S. and, a day later, Darren H.

The investigation

The shooting for which the two men were arrested took place at around midday on 11 March at La Sala restaurant. According to this newspaper, the night before the incident, there was apparently an argument in the restaurant between one of the managers and one of the arrested men in which, allegedly, threats had already been made. However, the investigators are convinced that this confrontation had a background that has not yet been fully clarified and that the shots were a kind of warning. In this case, according to sources, the security cameras were key to identifying the alleged perpetrators.

Meticulous work of viewing the images made it possible to reconstruct what happened before midday that morning, when 15 shots were fired from outside the restaurant. An individual left a house in Nueva Andalucía on board a Honda 750 wearing a full-face helmet. The motorbike, at the time, had a British number plate. The motorcyclist went into the garage of another house a short distance away. The cameras then showed two men leaving the house.

The pair left on the bike, the first individual now as the passenger, although the registration plate had been changed to a Spanish one.

The restaurant was apparently about to open to the public, so it is suspected that the perpetrators knew that there would be workers inside. The second man waited on the bike while his passenger got off and fired about fifteen shots, most of which hit the window. The bullets, of 9mm Parabellum calibre, were also lodged in some seating. They then fled the scene.

The two suspects, aged around 30 and of British and Irish origin, were arrested on 25 March in a large-scale operation by the National Police, which involved investigators from the Udyco organised crime squad with the collaboration of other units from Marbella and Malaga.

According to sources, among other crimes, they are wanted for attempted homicide, violent threats, illegal possession of weapons - a pistol was found in the home of one of them, although the ballistics study will have to clarify whether it was the same one used in the shooting -, falsification of documents and violating immigration laws. During searches officers seized a large machete and 31,190 euros.

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