Alzheimer’s card rejected by appeal court judges
Over almost 700 pages, appeal court judges put paid to defence hopes that former banking boss Ricardo Salgado could see his six-year jail term for three crimes of abuse of confidence reduced. The judges added another two years – and, according to reports, one of them wanted to DOUBLE the sentence to 12 years behind bars.
Defence counsel’s request for a medical assessment of their client, now aged 78 and reportedly in advanced stages of Alzheimer’s disease, was also rejected.
The judges considered that “the medical report on the Alzheimer’s diagnosis does not show any mental abnormality that would make the defendant unable to determine his will, understand and want, as well as understand, the scope of the criminal proceedings and their consequences”.
Explains Correio da Manhã: “But the judges go further, referring to the social report on the former banker – compiled before communication of his Alzheimer’s diagnosis: “Occupying his days reading newspapers, preparing his defence in the present judicial case and writing his memoirs”, which (they consider) shows that his illness has not made him incapable of managing his day-to-day”.
The judges also remarked that the only occasion in which Mr Salgado appeared before magistrates, he “identified himself and declared that he did not wish to give any statements because he had been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease, without showing any kind of incapacity to understand or respond to what was being asked”.
Mr Salgado’s defence, led by Francisco Proença Carvalho, have called the verdict “an attack on human dignity”, saying that if necessary, they will take their cases to the European Court of Human Rights.
For this to happen, they would first need to appeal this latest sentence to the Supreme Court in Portugal.
WHY DID JUDGES INCREASE SALGADO’S JAIL SENTENCE?
First, this was the basis of an appeal by the Public Prosecutor’s Office after the years of preparing Operation Marquês (most famous for involving former PS prime minister José Sócrates) were dismantled at pre-trial phase by controversial judge Ivo Rosa.
Before Judge Rosa’s separation of the case, Ricardo Salgado had faced 21 crimes involving various types of corrupt practices. These were whittled down to three – all for abuse of confidence – and judges agreed that the initial sentence delivered on these crimes was “excessively benevolent and indulgent, not giving just and balanced response to the necessities of prevention and the very elevated degree of guilt of the defendant.”
Reading between the lines, what will happen next is a decision by the defence on how to manage their appeal.
Lusa news agency adds that judges did take into account “the scenario of a possible worsening of the illness that places the defendant in a situation similar to that of unimputability” (meaning he could not face jail in his condition).
A possible review of the application of the sentence “should be the responsibility of the Court of Execution of Sentence”, said the judges – suggesting it is highly likely that Mr Salgado will be spared jail altogether.