By 2018-09-13 InAlgarve

Monchique arsonist set free – despite nine year jail term

Earlier this year he was condemned by a panel of judges to nine years behind bars for the fires he started in Monchique two years ago that caused thousands of hectares of damage, but last week former Vale do Lobo barman Carlos Fernandes was released as he had exceeded the time allowed to keep even a felon in custody.

Thanks to the sloth of Portuguese justice, the sentence conferred by Portimão judges in March had not been suitably rubber-stamped. The term here is that it had not “travelled into judgement”.

As he was technically still on remand, judicial time limits kicked in, and he was shown the door.

Fernandes’ lawyer intimated in March that his client would be appealing. It is likely that the appeal slowed down the “travelling into judgement”, and now the case will be heard with Fernandes presumably living as a free man.

With this news posted online yesterday (Wednesday), the Mayor of Monchique Rui André was unaware of it until today (Thursday).

He appeared genuinely horrified, particularly as the weather this week is exceptionally hot again.

“It’s incredible that this country has the nerve to do something like this. Absolutely lamentable”, he said.

Monchique is struggling against all odds to renew itself after devastating fires in August, thus news that an arsonist who the court heard knew exactly what he was doing when he laid six fires in September of 2016 is ‘back in circulation’ is likely to put everyone on their guard.

Said André: “I have no knowledge of the process that led to this decision” but with high temperatures throughout the region, the fear of attacks by fire raisers is a constant.

Fernandes was released from Grândola’s Pinheiro da Cruz jail on September 5, writes Correio da Manhã.

For details of his sentencing, click here.

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