Former cleaner wins “sexual victory” over Portugal’s “sexist” Supreme Court judges

Portugal’s “sexist” Supreme Court judges have been hauled over the coals for telling a woman robbed of an active sex life at the age of 50 that sex at that age was not important.

The case inflamed public opinion almost three years ago (click here) – particularly when national media reported that the Supreme Court’s decision was the woman’s last port of call.

Fortunately, her lawyer thought otherwise.

Vítor Parente Ribeiro took the case to the European Court of Human Rights, and has now had his convictions confirmed: Supreme Court judges were guilty of sexual discrimination when they decided to reduce his client’s damages for a surgical error that left her not only doubly incontinent, in constant pain and unable to enjoy sex with her husband, but incapable of working or enjoying everyday life in any way at all.

The woman had become depressed, and felt diminished – but judges nonetheless decided that damages of €175,000 should be reduced by €60,000, citing that “as age advances, the importance of sex diminishes”.

Ribeiro’s hope now is that ECHR’s ruling – ordering Portugal to pay his client €3,250 in damages, as well as €2,460 in court costs – will see Supreme Court judges ‘review’ their 2013 ruling, and restore the €60,000 so imperiously deducted.

Adding insult to injury, this case centres on a botched surgery that took place 22 years ago.

During that time, the former cleaner has not received a penny for the misery heaped upon her, and has heard the hospital that caused her agony (Lisbon’s Materndidade Alfredo Costa) suggest her problems were all psychological, reports Lusa, adding that for the ECHR, the Supreme Court decision – and very possibly the whole way this woman has been treated since daring to complain – demonstrates “the prejudice” that reigns in the Portuguese justice system.

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