GNR “child-killer” holds out for acquittal

He has successfully challenged a nine-year jail sentence and seen his hefty €60,000 fine reduced, but child-killing GNR agent Hugo Ernano is not ready to call it quits – and he has a wave of public support behind him.
He has announced he is taking his case to the Constitutional Court in the hope that judges will throw out his conviction altogether.
Whatever happens, the father-of-one has declared he doesn’t have the money to pay his fine – and probably never will.
The tragic case has been in and out of the papers since shots Ernano fired at a getaway car accidentally killed the young son of the thief he was pursuing.
Unknown to police, the 13-year-old had been taken along to a robbery by his father and was cowering on the back seat as officers gave chase.
An original court hearing saw Ernano jailed for nine years and ordered to pay €80,000 in compensation to the dead boy’s parents.
Police unions and thousands of members of the public joined forces to raise just over €9,000 for an appeal. This returned its verdict last month. The new panel of judges opted to throw out jail time and deliver a four-year suspended sentence – but they stuck to a crippling fine (reducing it by only €15,000).
As police union spokesman Nuno Guedes said afterwards, “it will be very difficult trying to calm our professionals and explain this situation”.
“One of the principal missions of the GNR is to protect the property of third parties,” he added – and according to police “this is exactly what Hugo Ernano was doing”.
Ernano himself called the verdict “a half victory” – and now lawyer Ricardo Vieira is going for the full monty.
“We have decided to advance with an appeal on the basis of three points that we consider unconstitutional,” Vieira told reporters.
One of these involves the fact that at no time in either trial was the danger to both the police and the public taken into account, said the lawyer.
Meantime, reports in the Portuguese press suggest only €1,800 of the money raised to help Ernano fight his conviction remains.
The young officer has had his career prospects frozen as a result of this case, and will only ever be taking home a salary of €800, adds tabloid Correio da Manhã.