Judge who referred to Biblical punishment for adultery faces disciplinary proceedings

A judge who “minimised” a case of domestic violence because the female victim had been unfaithful now faces disciplinary proceedings.

The inquiry set up shortly after the controversial ruling by Judge Neto Moura, signed off by his assisting magistrate Maria Luísa Arantes, has concluded that he violated his duty of correction and the pursuit of the public interest (click here).

Arantes violated her duty of care, the Superior Council of Magistrates has concluded, though it was an extremely-close vote, explains TVI: nine votes in favour of disciplinary proceedings, eight against.

Voting over Neto Moura’s position saw 12 votes in favour of him facing disciplinary proceedings, five against.

The censure refers specifically to a case where two men ganged up against a woman who had two-timed them, luring her into a trap where she was beaten with a nail-spiked club.

Public opinion went into overdrive after reports explained that Neto Moura viewed adultery as “a very serious attack on a man’s honour and dignity”.

His ruling quoted passages from the Bible, the 1886 Penal Code and other cultures where adultery carries the death penalty to veto moves to increase the guilty men’s sentences.

The story went viral.

The UK Guardian suggested: “Ultra-orthodox patriarchy – one of the cornerstones of the fascist dictatorship of António Salazar up until the 1974 revolution – still survives in parts of Portugal”, while the Washington Post said: “judges felt it was somewhat understandable that a husband in a depressive state would act out against an ex-wife who had betrayed him”.

With half the globe already railing against any hint of sexual inequality or exploitation, President Marcelo intervened, saying he hoped very much that the matter would not be swept under the carpet.

Rallies in Lisbon and Porto followed, and then the inquiry which released the results of its vote this afternoon.

What happens next is unclear. None of the stories released so far have outlined what kind of disciplinary proceedings may be in the pipeline and/ or how they might affect the judges’ futures.

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