Investigators stall judges’ ruling on Sócrates’ “access” to inquiry

Just as it looked as if imprisoned former prime minister José Sócrates would finally get access to the evidence said to be stacked against him, Portugal’s Public Ministry has asked for “clarification” of last week’s ruling by appeal court judges (click here).

The move means that for the time being at least the “secrecy of justice” blanket surrounding Operation Marquês stays firmly in place.

Talking to SIC TV news on Saturday night, Sócrates’ defence lawyer Pedro Delille said: “Public prosecutor Rosário Teixeira has decided to refuse us immediate access to the charges and is using this possibility to invoke any reason that will keep the case hidden.”

Delille added: “This is not a legal manoeuvre. It is an illegal manoeuvre. It is a completely unacceptable decision. A trick.”

Delille added that by Monday morning he hoped the “absurd abuse” of a judicial ruling would have been rectified, but this far there is no news to show this has happened.

The Public Ministry’s challenge lies in the minutiae of legal language which only lawyers can properly appreciate. The bottom line is that the judges’ ruling may not have taken “serious conditions” into account, and thus “secrecy of justice” should remain in place.

For now, all that exists is confusion, with few newspapers explaining the nuts and bolts of the Public Ministry’s challenge – and Sócrates’ defence none the wiser than it was at the outset.

[email protected]