José Coelho/ Lusa

José Sócrates gets his way: judge cited for abuse of power

In a week where over 157,000 votes were simply thrown away, and a European president was not allowed to board a plan because he was three minutes late, it’s perhaps not surprising that a judge has found himself cited in a case for abuse of power, brought against him by the very man he tried to bring to justice.

Judge Carlos Alexandre has been the thorn in the side of endless ‘arguidos’ in high profile cases of fraud and corruption – not least former Socialist prime minister José Sócrates.

Mr Sócrates has always maintained that the distribution of his case was ‘manipulated and falsified’ by judge Alexandre, who in the early days of Mr Sócrates’ misfortunes was dubbed by the tabloid press as Portugal’s ‘superjudge’.

The case was not subject to the normal ‘lottery’ process of distribution, nor was its assignment to Judge Alexandre done “to guarantee equality”, says the former PM’s defence. What actually happened was a “legal trick with the objective of arbitrarily choosing the judge in the case”.

And in taking on ‘Marquês’ – as the case focusing on Mr Sócrates and sundry others is called – judge Alexandre ‘went to town’: Mr Sócrates was charged with 31 crimes including money- laundering, fiscal fraud, document falsification and passive corruption.

All this took years: Mr Sócrates’ miseries with judge Alexandre began in 2014; he was only formally charged after months in prison/ under house arrest, in 2017 – and in 2021 he saw another judge entirely throw out 25 of the crimes he had initially been charged with (click here).

In other words, there is a lot José Sócrates has to say on this subject, which now has a day for its ‘instruction hearing’ at Lisbon’s court of appeal – March 11, at 2.30pm.

An instruction hearing is essentially for the presiding judge to hear evidence and then decide whether there is a case to answer.

natasha.donn@algarveresident.com