The Supreme Court ruled on Monday that the Spanish government must pay a woman €60,000 in compensation after she was held on remand for 542 days over a murder that never happened.
The woman, identified as Verónica G. V. by Spanish media, had been accused in the stabbing death of a man. But a jury in Madrid concluded that in fact, the man had died after accidentally stabbing himself in the chest while fighting with the woman.
While she was awaiting the eventual decision of acquittal, the woman was held in remand prison for a total of 542 days.
The woman had sought compensation from the justice system for her year and a half behind bars after the jury and another court both agreed that there had been no evidence that the man's death had been a murder.
A separate higher court found there to be a lack of evidence to convict the woman, but denied her compensation for the time spent in prison.
But the Supreme Court’s ruling on Monday ordered compensation for the woman, saying that because there was a “lack of sufficient incriminating evidence” against her, she had been falsely held in detention.
“The ruling of the Supreme Court concluded that due to a lack of the typical actions involved in the crime of homicide – because the death of the victim was caused by him stabbing himself in his own chest – the nonexistence of the alleged crime means that… the liability lies with the State,” the Supreme Court wrote in a statement.
The woman had sought more than €1 million in compensation for among other things losing her job and her home while detained, but the court granted just €60,000 to make up for the time she spent behind bars.