Brazilian defender Dani Alves will face trial for allegedly sexually assaulting a woman in a night club last year, a Spanish court said Tuesday.
The Barcelona-based court said “there was enough evidence to open the trial” considering the statements given to court and the evidence presented in the investigation phase. A date for the hearings was yet to be set.
The 40-year-old Alves has been in pre-trial jail since January when he was arrested for allegedly assaulting the woman at a nightclub in Barcelona on Dec. 30. He was indicted by an investigative judge in August.
In an order, Section 21 of Barcelona’s high court confirmed Alves’ prosecution, concluding that the victim’s and witnesses’ statements as well as expert corroboration provide enough evidence to try him for sexual assault.
Alves, 40, has since been held in custody without bail in a jail in Barcelona and his requests to be freed were denied by the court because he is considered a flight risk.
When the allegations first emerged, Alves denied in a television interview that he knew the woman involved. He later said that sex with the accuser was consensual.
After Tuesday’s court order, the prosecutor’s office and prosecutors hired by the victim have five business days to present their provisional statements, in which they must argue whether Alves should be acquitted or convicted and, in this case, what penalty they consider should be applied.
After they have presented those statements a trial date will be set.
Under Spain’s sexual consent law passed last year, the charge of sexual assault takes in a wide array of crimes from online abuse and groping to rape, each with different possible punishments. A case of rape can carry a maximum sentence of 15 years.
ESPN’s Adriana García in Spain contributed to this report.