Presumed Guilty found innocent

The scandal caused by the banning of the documentary Presunto Culpable Presumed Guilty has given a shot of life to Mexicans. On Wednesday, after a legal battle of several days, the film was again allowed to be shown to the public.

The Sixth Collegiate Tribunal for Administrative Matters dictated that to stop showing the film caused “serious offence to society” and went against the public order. The legal demand was also used by the film producers to suggest to Mexico City that it open tribunals to cameras. The challenge was taken up by media conscious Mexico City Mayor Marcelo Ebrard, who said his government is studying ways in which cameras can be installed in Mexico City tribunals.

Mexico City is in the process of modifying its judicial system, introducing oral trials. Future criminal procedures will be conducted in oral trials without a jury, but open to the public. This change will make prosecutors,
defense attorneys, and judges more accountable and the system more transparent. Currently the trials are supposed to be public, but the real trial is actually conducted — in advance of the formal judicial proceedings — by the prosecutor.

Edgar San Juan, producer and writer of the Presumed Guilty, said the only thing that was gained with the censoring of the film was a shot of money to pirates, who made and sold thousands of copies of the film on the streets of Mexican cities.

The film focuses on the trial of an innocent man who is framed by police and investigators and charged with a murder he did not commit. While the film depicts the system in Mexico City, it has touched a chord among Mexican audiences because it proved something that every citizen in Mexico suspects of its judicial system. This was the first time that filmmakers were allowed inside a tribunal. The film was banned because the main witness potrayed in the film said it had violated his privacy.