SANTIAGO – A new decision was issued in the criminal case against Martín Pradenas. The Temuco Court of Appeals reinstated two charges that the trial had previously dismissed. The trial court had dismissed the charges on statute of limitations grounds, but the appellate court reinstated the charges under a rule that interrupts the statute of limitations where there are successive alleged crimes.
Yesterday morning, Aug. 3, the Temuco Court of Appeals issued a new decision in the case against Martín Pradenas Dürr (28). The appellate court unanimously decided that two charges the trial court had previously dismissed will be reinstated.
Pradenas has been in custody since July 24, awaiting trial. He is being charged with rape as to Antonia Barra, who died by suicide in October 2019, and with four other counts of sexual abuse as to others.
Two of these other four charges were dismissed in late July, because the trial court ruled that the statute of limitations had expired. Ordinarily, such charges must be filed within five years of the alleged crimes, and the first allegedly occurred in November 2010 and the second allegedly occurred in 2014.
The appellate court, however, reinstated the charges. As an initial matter, it found that the statute of limitations as to the alleged 2010 crime did not begin to run until 2012, when the alleged victim reached the age of 18; then, based on article 96 of the Penal Code, it found that the limitations period as to that alleged crime was interrupted and suspended by the next alleged crime, and so on, right up to the alleged most recent crime. The appellate court therefore found it justifiable to maintain the investigation as to all of the alleged crimes.
This makes the scenario for the accused more complex, as he continues to maintain his innocence.
Fernanda Gándara is currently finishing her journalism degree at Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile. She’s passionate about writing, environmental issues and women empowerment. You can find her on Twitter as @FerGMarchant