‘Djokovic case’: how is someone who falsifies covid tests punished in Spain? | My Rights | Economy
Australian Interior Minister Alex Hawke canceled tennis player Novak Djokovic’s visa on Friday “for reasons of health and good order” due to doubts about his PCR. A situation that adds to the questions already generated about whether you have a medical exemption that does not require you to be vaccinated.
In a national key, this fact opens the door to determine how Spanish legislation punishes the picaresque of trying to go through real antigen tests, PCR tests or even falsified Covid certificates. And it is that in Europe in general and in Spain in particular it is common that, without providing a Covid certificate or negative PCR carried out in the last 48 or 72 hours, citizens have to cancel their trip in order to access a country or autonomous community or that need to be tested to confirm that they are not infected.
In these cases, Spanish regulations apply “when the falsification has been made within our borders or when a false test has been used in our territory, such as in the airport access control”, says lawyer Álvaro Ruiz de the Church, partner in Olimpa Abogados.
Although the simplest and safest way to verify the falsification of a Covid passport is by using the QR Code, criminals have already managed to falsify it. In fact, they are charging between 200 and 400 euros for the production of false certificates.
Regardless of the fines that may be imposed by the different public administrations, regulated in the regulations of each autonomous community, with amounts between 60 and 30,000 euros, if falsehood is detected in criminal proceedings, these facts could constitute a crime of falsification of official document
Penalties for falsifying
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Thus, a criminal judge, after the investigation, will impose a sentence, apart from the administrative sanction processed by the Ministry of Health or the Ministry of the Interior. But depending on the severity, the penalties are different.
If it is from a public or official document, such as the Covid passport, which is issued by the Health Administration, its author can be punished with prison terms of six months to three years and a fine of six to 12 months. The latter is a daily financial penalty with a minimum of two euros and a maximum of 400 per day. The judges establish the cost of the fine taking into account exclusively the economic situation of the defendant, deducted from his patrimony, income, obligations and family responsibilities and other personal circumstances of the perpetrator of the crime.
If the falsification is of a private document, the punishment is imprisonment from six months to two years. And in the case of certificates, the Penal Code imposes significantly lower punishments, that is, a fine of three to six months.
Forger and client
In addition, whoever orders and pays to have a false certificate made with his identity, even if he did not do it materially, can be equated to the forger. In these cases, jurisprudence equates the person who requests it with the person who carries it out based on what is known as the “theory of the domain of the fact.”
And it is that, the judges consider this fact as a concerted action. The prison sentence is from six months to three years and a fine from six to 12 months, which leads to a financial penalty of between 1,080 and 2,160 euros in addition to the deprivation of liberty. But it may be higher depending on the solvency of the author of the order for the falsification of the Covid certificate.
Counterfeit PCR test
Different is the conviction for a falsified PCR test. Spanish regulations are not clear when differentiating between falsehoods committed with a document or with a certificate, much less to which category the antigen tests or PCR tests carried out in private laboratories belong. It is the courts that establish which form of forgery – milder or more serious – is applied to the crime.
The Prosecutor’s Office considers them as falsification of a public document and usually requests penalties of up to three years in prison. But courts such as the Provincial Court of Barcelona consider the falsification of the PCR test as a falsification of the certificate.
Thus, if the citizen makes use of a PCR test or an antigen test and is not the author of the falsification, he will be punished with a fine of three to six months.
The problem is to show the judge that a falsified test has been used without knowing that its origin is false. In this case, there are two assumptions when the judge issues a sentence: that the investigated citizen shows that he went to a laboratory and they performed the PCR or antigen test and that the delivered result was falsified, and the judge may agree to his acquittal. . Or that the citizen cannot prove that he or she has visited a health center, or that a health worker has taken samples. In this case it would be difficult for the judge to believe you.