Snail pace-slow Portuguese judges face European Court of Human Rights over “gross error” of judgement

Judges face European Court of Human Rights over “gross error” of judgement

Sexuality || A case that has shocked the nation for the brutality of its judgement will see Supreme Court judges taken to the European Court for Human Rights (ECHR).
Lawyer Vítor Parente Ribeiro – the litigator representing parents fighting for justice in the case of the Meco drownings – claims it is outrageous that a woman left doubly incontinent, in constant pain and unable to enjoy a normal sexual relationship as a result of a botched operation has been left waiting almost 20 years for compensation.
Even worse was the decision last week by a panel of judges, all in advanced middle-age, to reduce the damages already set because the former cleaner had been over 50 when doctors exacerbated her medical condition and this was “an age where sexuality does not have the importance that it had in younger ages”.
It is a decision that elicited howls of criticism from experts as well as lay people. Sexologists have claimed there is “no scientific basis at all” for reducing damages.
The situation is made doubly outrageous by the revelation that Lisbon’s Maternidade Alfredo da Costa is not even willing to pay out the €111,000 finally agreed by Supreme Court judges.
According to Público, lawyer Ribeiro has now advanced with an “executive action” in a bid to get the hospital to finally compensate his client.
Meantime, he told the paper that he will be going ahead with an appeal to the ECHR on the basis that the court has (yet again) contravened the terms of the Convention for Human Rights, which calls for judicial decisions in “reasonable time”.
As Público points out, “Portugal has been repeatedly condemned in this court for the sloth of justice”.
As to the “more controversial aspect of the case” – the extraordinary decision to tell a woman over the age of 50 that she was no longer entitled to a full sex life – this will be much harder to correct, writes Público.
“We could try to lodge an action against the judges for gross error (of judgement) so that they would have to pay part of the compensation themselves to the victim. But the fact that the claim would not set damages for each one of them but simply a global value, makes things difficult,” Ribeiro told the paper.
As almost all the nation’s media outlets reported last week, the woman – now 69 years old – saw last week’s decision lop over €60,000 from the original €172,000 level of damages to be paid.
Maternidade Alfredo da Costa has still to part with one penny of this amount.