A Spanish fisherman accused of stealing a concrete block from Gibraltar’s artificial reef indicated he would be pleading not guilty.
The former head of La Linea’s fisherman’s guild Leoncio Fernandez Ramos made his first appearance at the Magistrates Court yesterday having been charged with theft by police on Tuesday.
Outside the court a mass of both local and Spanish media had assembled for the occasion while inside scores of plain-clothed officers from the Royal Gibraltar Police observed proceedings.
Sr Fernandez, a resident of San Roque, appeared very briefly before Stipendiary Magistrate Charles Pitto and did not speak. However his lawyer, Patrick Canessa, said he would be indicating a not guilty plea.
According to the charge sheet sometimes between 23 and 30 June 2014, 69-year old Sr Fernandez, together with other persons, stole the concrete block which is the property of HM Government of Gibraltar. The offence is an ‘either way offence’ meaning Sr Fernandez can be tried in either the Magistrates or before a jury in the Supreme Court.
Mr Canessa requested the docket of evidence and the case was given a lengthy adjournment for its preparation. Further adjournments can be granted until such time as the docket is provided.
Sr Fernandez is expected to appear again before the court on April 20.
He was bailed out in the sum of £2,500 – roughly the value of the concrete block allegedly stolen – on his own recognanze.
As he left the court Sr Fernandez indicated to Spanish reporters that he had not spoken.
James Lennane appeared for the Crown.