With time-limits for Operation Marquês extended yet again to at least the end of April, Público has tried to put a new spin on this shaggy dog story of ‘justice’ Portuguese-style by saying that the courts have made “at least €17,000 from José Sócrates” so far.
The amount has nothing to do with the fees the former prime minister will have been paying his legal team.
It has to do with fines handed out for defence lawyers’ failing to meet certain legal limits in answering judicial decisions, and for charges levelled over appeals that Sócrates has consistently lost.
“The ex-prime minister has become a good source of income for Portuguese justice”, explains Público, listing the appeals which come to 33 since 2015.
But Sócrates has not actually had to spend the money yet, “as with all penal processes, the bill only gets to the defendant at the end of the case”, says the paper – at which point he will have to pay up “whether he wins or loses”.
It is likely that “a very long time will pass before Justice presents the former prime minister with his final bill”, Público adds, stressing that “only if the case is archived before it gets to court will José Sócrates have to pay sooner”.
That last sentence is telling in that the issue of Marquês being archived before it gets to trial has not been raised for some time. Initially, when Sócrates’ was in Évora jail, the possibility of an eventual archival was on everyone’s lips.
Needless to say Sócrates’ defence team has reacted with disgust at the latest extension on limits they consider already hugely exceeded, saying they will be challenging the Attorney General’s decision for being “illegitimate, unreasonable and illegal”.
This is the fifth time that Marquês’ limits have been extended, explains Expresso in its story this afternoon quoting a statement by lawyers João Araújo and Pedro Delille in which they vow to use “all legal means” possible to mount their next challenge.