The trial of Paulo Cesar Baptista, accused of the manslaughter of Ushuaia employee, Able Urena, on August 19th, 2011, has finally opened in the Balearic capital of Palma. A jury is considering the evidence being put to it by both legal teams, as the prosecution asks for a 15 year sentance, while the defense, admitting that an assault occurred, are arguing that Baptista, did not aim to kill Able Urena. The tragic death of Abel, a manager of the VIP area at Ushuaia, ignited a storm of protest and demonstrations in Ibiza, when hundreds of people took to the streets demanding justice and highlighting the need for a regulated security sector in Ibiza. Baptista, a convicted criminal wanted by Portuguese police for crimes linked to the Lisbon Mafia organisation, had absconded to Ibiza and found work in the unregulated nightclub industry under a false name.
An alleged, Vale Tudo martial arts expert, he became head of security at Ushuaia, (a claim disputed by Ushuaia who said he was hired as a janitor) and in a verbal disagreement with Abel Urena on the night in question, punched him to the head, causing the victim to fall and hit the ground. Abel Urena later died in hospital from a brain hemorrhage, after failing to wake from a medically induced coma. Immediately after the assault, Baptista fled to Holland, but was tracked down by local police who had tapped his girlfriends phone. Ibiza authorities, led by Guardia Civil officer, Barthelemy Love, were successful in extraditing Baptista to Ibiza, as the Portuguese police were technically entitled to have him extradited first to Portugal for mafia crimes. The case drew much media attention, as online social groups campaigned for justice, led by Abel Urena’s girlfriend and father, who sadly died as a result of a road accident in Barcelona. They were successful, in bringing tighter controls to the previously unregulated door security sector in Ibiza.
The trial is expected to continue into next week, as the jury considers the evidence put before it. On the opening day of the trial, the Jury viewed videotape of the assault and are currently hearing witness statements. Baptista, is claiming that Abel Urena was selling drugs on the night, and that was the reason for the altercation – as head of security he was expected to intervene. Baptista claims he was humiliated by Urena who along with a female, insulted him. He then attacked Abel Urena, striking him twice. It is the force and direction of these blows, by a reputed martial arts expert to the head, that the prosecution are arguing mitigated intent to kill. Baptista is claiming in court that he is not a Vale Tudo expert and if the prosecution can convince the jury that he is, then they will argue that Baptista knew how to inflict a lethal blow. The coroners evidence will show that it was the fall to a concrete surface, that caused the skull fracture. If found guilty of manslaughter, Baptista, will serve a maximum of 4 years, two of which he has already served on remand. The trial continues in Palma.
Update: Baptista found guilty