4 de January de 1865 - Condenado a nueve años Claudio Feliu y Fontanills por usurpar el estado civil de Claudio Fontanellas (31 + 165 + 1186)

[Sentencia de revista en la causa Fontanellas, condenando a Claudio Feliu y Fontanills a nueve años de cárcel etc etc por usurpación del estado civil de Claudio Fontanellas.]

, Resúmen del proceso original sobre usurpación del estado civil de Claudio Fontanellas por el abogado relator del mismo (1865). Read on

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Del Otago Witness, 31/12/1864:


A private letter, dated Barcelona, October 8. says:—

The readers of the papers may remember, a case which occurred at Barcelona, and of which the Spectator gave a good account in the end of the year 1862. The case is that of Don Claudio Fontanellas; it is still pending, and has become one of the chief amongst the causes célèbres.

Don Claudio was the second son of the Marquis Fontanellas, who was also a banker of Barcelona, very avaricious, and on that account cool towards his son Don Claudio, who was young- and thriftless. In the year 1845 Don Claudio was carried off by robbers, who made him write to his father for a ransom. Of these letters the father took no notice. The son feeling hurt at the indifference of his family, on escaping from the robbers turned his back upon his family and upon his country, and went to Buenos Ayres, where he took service and advanced to the rank of a navy captain. He returned to Spain in 1861, lonp after the death of his father, and proceeded to Barcelona, where he was at first generally reco-rnised, and was acknowledged by his brother, Don Lamberto, and his brother-in-law the Marquis of Villamediana. But about a month after his arrival these relations began to change their tone aud language, and prepared not only to deny Don Claudio’s identity, but also to plot, against him the imprisonment which has lasted up to the present time. This plot could not have been earned out but for the complicity of various legal officials of Barcelona. At the request of these relations, the Judge del Palacio constituted of his own authority a tribunal by night in the house of the Fontanellas, in which had been collected several persons, strangers to the family, witnesses who had not been judicially summoned. Don Claudio was brought before this court as a guilty person, and notwithstanding that, put on oath. The witnesses then, not separately, but ia the presence of each other, and in concert, declared that the accused was not Don Claudio, but one Claudio Felin, who had been a workman ia some factories at Barcelona, Upon these irregular proceedings Don Claudio was deprived of his identity and put into prison for usurpation of the civil rights of the deceased Don Claudio; for the accusers and some of the legal functionaries have sought to establish that Don Claudio was assassinated near Barcelona in the year 1848. It is singular that they should not have shrunk from an assertion which would prove that a man may be assassinated without any inquiry being made or the police taking any trouble about the matter! Since this the case of Don Claudio has been tried several times. The father, mother, sister and other relations of Claudio Felin have sworn to, Don Claudio as their son and relation. It is not a strong proof of relationship that they should nave been so ready to consign one of whom they call a relation to prison as an impostor. Meantime all the witnesses who pretend that the accused is Claudio Felin have perjured themselves as to the color of the hair of the accused, and they have done this in concert to bear out their statement that the accused is Claudio Felin. Fortytwo witnesses swore that the accused is not Claudio Fontanellas, 2$ that he I« Claudio FeHn,32 that he not Felin, 55 that he is Fontanellas and 15 swear to having known him as Fontanellas ia South America. Notwithstanding all this, Don Claudio has been detained all these years in prison, contrary to all justice, for if he has not been abie to prove his identity, neither have his enemies been able to prove that he has been’ guilty of usurpation, and he should be at liberty °?t??ii ‘ 0F ehe hls brdth er-in-law, the Marquis of Villamediana, should also be in prison pen’dW the decision ; since, if the accused’is Don Claudio, the Marquis is usurping Don Claudio’s inheritance, which, with the interest of several years amounts to 18,000,000 reals (£180,000). In addition tothis money a Marquisate is at stake, since, if Don Lamberto, the present Marquis of Fontanellas, dies without children, and his younger brother, Don Claudio, should be got rid of, the Marquis of Villamediana would inherit the Fontanellas title and property. On this account the Spanish Government should have removed the hearing of the cause from the province of Catalonia, where the rich and powerful Marquis of Villamediana has too many means of influencincthe Court. The great majority of the inhabitants of Barcelona are in favor of Don Claudio, in spite ot the means of corruption and intimidation -wMclf are at the service of his oppressors. So far the’ interests of justice only are affected, and the wrongs of Don Claudio begin and end with a vulgar thirst for money ; but what remains to be related affects the civil and political rights of every Spaniard. The first counsel employed in the detence ot Don Claudio abandoned him, having been ns it said, bought off at a cost of 20,0fM) dollars* the second, Senor Nieva, was imprisoned, and died shortly after being liberated from his prison * The third counsel, Don Termin Villamit, one of the first lawyers of Madrid, who defended Don Claudio before the first Court of Barcelona but a short time ago, and whose defence has been published, has been arrested and imprisoned within the i last eight days in consequence of an ordet ironi Madrid. Na legal ground, nor even pretext, has been assigned for this arbitrary aer, which is the destruction of all liberty of counsel, and wbaeh • proclaims the insecurity of all who may become subject to a criminal prosecution. If these acts are committed in a cause which has no political interest, what might not be feared in case of a State prosecution ? This illegal violence asramst the defenders of Don Claudio proceeds however, from the high law officers, and not from the Government, which, as well as the captains-general who have governed Catalonia, have not been mixed up in this case^ But it is high time that the Government should give its attention to the injustice perpetrated here under the cloak of the law, and should remove the cause’ into a purer atmosphere, by bringing it before the Supreme Court at Madrid, or by sending a royal commission for its investigation. It is strange that in the country of Don Quixote no deputy of the Cortes should be found to raise his voice to redress the injuries of Don Chudio, or to oppose the systematic attempt to suppress the right of defence by counsel, and dangerous inroad upon’ the liberty of the subject ; for the legal proceedings at Barcelona, if fully known, would be far more damaging to Spain than the penury of the Treasury.

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