On 28 May 2013, the Portuguese news agency, LUSA, disseminated a report related to the Évora Court of Appeal ruling on the case filed by the Public Prosecution Office against the mayor of Aljezur and other senior Town Council officials. The report, which has been widely circulated in the national media, is based on a statement issued jointly by two of the defendants, Mr. José Amarelinho, mayor of Aljezur, and former Mayor Manuel Marreiros, who claimed that the Évora Court of Appeal had “annulled the decision” taken by the Lagos Judicial Court.
On 29 June 2012, the Lagos Judicial Court found Amarelinho and Marreiros guilty of serious offenses, imposing suspended jail sentences on both, which entailed them being relieved of their positions in the Aljezur Town Council.
The statement issued jointly by Amarelinho and Marreiros, as quoted in the media, is misleading. As a matter of fact the Évora Court of Appeal upheld the decision of the Lagos Judicial Court, and dismissed the application filed by the mayor of Aljezur and the co-accused, on condition that the Lagos Judicial Tribunal rectifies an omission included in its decision.
In terms of Article 358 of the Code of Criminal Procedure, the Lagos Judicial Court, in addition to mentioning it in its decision, should have notified Amarelinho and Marreiros separately that they had been relieved of their positions. The Lagos Judicial Court did not comply with this provision of the law, and has accordingly been instructed by the Évora Court of Appeal to “rectify this omission”, as stated on page 54 of its decision. The Évora Court of Appeal ruling specifically states that “the mater shall be returned to the Court of 1st Instance, solely for compliance with the provisions of Article 358(1) of the Code of Criminal Procedure”.
The lawsuit followed a meticulous investigation undertaken over more than six years by DIAP in Évora and Faro’s PJ, relying on statements obtained from aggrieved parties in Portugal and abroad. Full details of the case, including the 130-page verdict of the Évora Court of Appeal are available on Comprova’s webpage at www.comprova.org.
João Manuel Cabrita
Cartão de Cidadão № 07898854 3ZY7