Doctor shot at Portimão court

EARLIER this week at Portimão’s courthouse, an elderly widower attempted to shoot dead the doctor he claimed killed his wife due to medical negligence. The shooting has sparked calls for improved security at Portugal’s courts. José Garcia, a Spanish doctor from Portimão’s Barlavento hospital, was appearing at the Tribunal de Portimão (courthouse) to hear the widower’s negligence claim and, in turn, present a defamation case against the old man. Shortly after a ‘not guilty’ verdict had been returned exonerating the doctor of any malpractice, the widower decided to take the law into his own hands and avenge his wife’s death.

Three shots fired at doctor

The widower, Edgar L., 72, fired three shots at the doctor who was standing among a group of people. Two bullets hit Garcia, injuring him in the arm and the shoulder. The doctor, although badly injured, tried to get away and was pursued by the widower. A group of guards from Lagoa GNR managed to stop and restrain the gunman, who meanwhile fired at least a dozen more shots. During the pursuit, one of the guards fell and was injured. The doctor and the GNR guard were transported to Barlavento hospital and the widower was arrested and escorted to Portimão police station. The doctor underwent an operation to retrieve the bullet that was lodged in his shoulder blade and is reported to be conscious and recovering well.

Calls for increased security

The attack has sparked calls to increase security at the country’s courts. Alexandre Baptista Coelho, president of the Associacão Sindical dos Juízes Portugueses, the association of Portuguese judges, has described the present security situation as “sad” and believes the “security measures in place at the majority of Portugal’s courts are inadequate, making working conditions unsafe”. He calls for more attention to be focused on securing the courts in order “to physically protect all those involved in legal proceedings – judges, lawyers, legal staff and anyone who appears in court”.