CATALONIA’S former police chief, on trial over his “passivity” in responding to the October 2017 referendum, has told the Spanish High Court his officers had to be “careful” over the use of force.

The former major of the Mossos d’Esquadra, Josep Lluís Trapero, also told prosecutor Miguel Ángel Carballo that he had drafted a plan for the arrest of former president Carles Puigdemont and his ministers if they declared independence.

The National revealed earlier this week that the plan was not put in writing, only a report about it from police commissioner Ferran López. All that was in writing was Trapero’s letter to López asking him to write the report.

Carballo asked Trapero why he had not explain the plan during earlier proceedings, to which the former police chief replied: “Because we were expecting, like so many people, that this [independence declaration] would not go ahead.

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“I thought it would not happen. But we did talk to López … to find out what would happen, if there would be elections or if they would be out of control. And I wrote a plan to Ferran López.

“It was necessary to be careful because an excessive police action [would have] a serious consequence that would have been very difficult to manage [in] the environment that was Catalonia.”

The prosecutor then referred to an email from Pere Soler, former director of the Mossos who is also on trial, in which he proposed measures to prevent the Mossos from halting “anything that is not a crime” on the October 1 referendum day.

Trapero said the email was not read and that he never responded to such requests.

In one email which he read, Soler had proposed suing the prosecutor’s office: “I told him I couldn’t speak on behalf of the Mossos.

“He didn’t listen to me because I thought such things were so outlandish … I said no ... and he abandoned the idea.”

On trial with Trapero and Soler are César Puig, former general secretary of the Catalan interior ministry, who are all charged with rebellion, and police superintendent Teresa Laplana, who is being tried for sedition. Prosecutors are seeking 11 years in jail for Trapero, Soler and Puig, and four years for Laplana.

Carballo asked Trapero about remarks he made after the referendum to other officers that Spain’s Civil Guard and the prosecutor’s office could “build” a case against the Mossos alleging sedition.

Trapero said the motivation was “the sadness“ he felt after being accused of the crime. He said: “You value what I did, but it causes me to be saddened … I felt unfairly treated.”