Defense lawyers in the Catalan referendum trial have continued to use their closing arguments to confound claims made in the public prosecutor’s final report, with Joaquim Forn’s counsel insisting that there was no declaration of independence in October 2017.

Xavier Melero – representing the former interior minister, who belatedly received permission to take his seat in Barcelona’s City Hall on Tuesday – said that despite the Catalan parliament passing a resolution to “constitute the Catalan republic as an independent and sovereign state,” the chamber did not implement this before it was dissolved.

“The Catalan government breached its own declaration of independence and instead made provisions for the application of Article 155 [the suspension of self-rule in Catalonia]. I am aware that this may annoy some people,” he told the Supreme Court. Melero claimed that the relinquishing of control by the parliament in Barcelona “as soon as home rule was suspended” proved that it “abandoned power” rather than acting on the declaration and that this meant the declaration effectively never took place.

Role of Spanish police

The second counsel to sum up after Andreu Van den Eynde, who accused the prosecution of “bias and exaggeration” on behalf of Oriol Junqueras and Raül Romeva, Melero also called into question the role of the Spanish police on referendum day.

“The police officers who were deployed in Catalonia for the referendum were not there to prevent it from taking place properly, but for political reasons, to make it appear invalid,” he said. “The police did not comply with any court order. It was a failure.”

Nazi allusion

At the beginning of his speech, Melero reproached prosecutor Javier Zaragoza for a “lack of respect” in citing the Nazis as part of his portrayal of the events of 2017 as a “coup d’état”. He referred to Godwin’s Second Law, which states that anyone who makes an analogy to Adolf Hitler in a debate in the 21st Century is bound to lose the argument.