With Catalan leaders waiting for the Supreme Court to reach a verdict in the independence trial, president Quim Torra is now facing prosecution for showing them support. Catalonia’s high court has decided not to file the suit brought by Spain’s electoral authority accusing Torra of disobedience, which could see him banned from public office.

In the run-up to the Spanish general election in April, Torra refused to comply with an order to remove yellow ribbon symbols from the front of his government’s headquarters. The symbols, argued the authority, were “partisan”, but Torra disagreed and countered that complying with the order would be an infringement of the right to freedom of expression.

The president did eventually have the ribbons removed, but the electoral authority filed a suit against him for disobedience, and with the election over Torra had the symbols restored. After an initial court appearance in mid-May, it was generally thought that the row would be resolved with Catalonia’s High Court of Justice throwing out the charges.

Yet the court’s decision not to do so on Thursday opens up the possibility of the president finding himself in the dock for defying an official ruling, and being banned from public office. Both sides now have a period of 10 days to present their arguments for a preliminary hearing of the case in which a final decision will be made on whether it will go to trial.