Monday, April 22, 2024

ARGENTINA | 24-03-2024 17:39

Killing of Fernando Báez Sosa: Appeals court confirms sentences for rugby players

Buenos Aires Province appeals court confirms sentences for eight rugby-players convicted of murdering 18-year-old Fernando Báez Sosa in Villa Gesell in January 2020.

An appeals court in Buenos Aires Province has confirmed the sentences handed down last year to the eight young rugby-players who killed Fernando Báez Sosa four years ago.

Báez Sosa, an 18-year-old law student on vacation, was beaten to death outside a nightclub in Villa Gesell by a group of assailants in January 2020.

Last year, five individuals were found guilty of double aggravated homicide and sentenced to life terms for the crime. Three others were found guilty of playing a secondary role in the brutal killing, in which Báez Sosa was attacked from behind before being kicked and beaten to death.

Judges Fernando Luís María Mancini and María Florencia Budiño, leading the highest criminal court in Buenos Aires Province, has now rejected defence appeals against the sentence and conviction, confirming life terms for Máximo Thomsen, Enzo Comelli, Matías Benicelli, Ciro Pertossi and Luciano Pertossi.

The magistrates of the Buenos Aires Province Criminal Court of Appeals also confirmed 15-year sentences for Ayrton Violaz, Blas Cinali and Lucas Pertossi, the “secondary participants” in the attack.

Those sentenced still have two instances for appeal: the Buenos Aires Province Supreme Court and the Argentine Supreme Court.

The group – all young men, teammates at the small, provincial Náutico Arsenal de Zárate rugby club – were accused of pummelling law student Báez Sosa to death outside the Le Brique nightclub in the popular seaside resort of Villa Gesell on January 18, 2020.

While not altering the sentences applied, the judges ruled out the inclusion of “malice aforethought” as an aggravating factor to the homicide charge, which had been included by the original court in Dolores that had provided the initial conviction.

However, the court said this did not affect the sentencing, given the brutal nature of the attack.

“Even though it may be considered that removing one of the aggravating factors from the legal qualification (malice aforethought) would carry a reduction in the sentence given an alleged lower content, the truth is that, in this particular case, the assessment by the oral court took into account only the scope of the damage cause to increase the sentence,” they underlined.

“That detriment has no bearing with the criminal method, and thus the sanctions imposed need not be modified in the least, especially when the criminal scale was not modified at all,” they insisted.

Ratification of the verdict issued by the Dolores court was welcomed by Fernando's parents, Graciela Sosa and Silvino Báez, who were represented by lawyers Fernando Burlando and Fabián Améndola.

Defence lawyers had argued that the crime should be downgraded given that premeditation had not been proven. They asked the court to impose a lighter sentence for a lesser crime.

The court vehemently rejected claims that the case was shrouded in irregularities, saying the defence did not demonstrate “any violation of constitutional norms, since, beyond the allegation that due process and defence in trial have been violated, this is nothing more than a generic dogmatic assertion with no correlation to the concrete circumstances of the case.”


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