The ongoing corruption trial involving officers from Albufeira’s Brigada de Trânsito division has been marked by heated courtroom exchanges, after a defence lawyer accused the Judicial Police of trying to ‘frame’ the officers concerned. In total, 25 officers are facing various charges, including that of disregarding traffic violations committed by construction firms in return for bribes.
Sá Correia, the defence lawyer for one of the defendants, Sergeant Joaquim Garcia, accused the Polícia Judiciária (PJ) of forging a typewritten letter, a crucial piece of evidence which first sparked the allegations. He also castigated the PJ for their alleged failures in the investigation, alleging that it was “dismally handled” and that the process had been marked by false assumptions regarding the earnings of Sergeant Garcia, which were noticeably higher than an average GNR officer’s salary.
The defence lawyer told the court that Sergeant Garcia had other sources of income, as he was a partner in a restaurant and also sold stonework – activities that he did not declare, as they were incompatible with his status as an officer. According to Sá Correia, the officer had also taken out a large bank loan to build a home in Albufeira.
During heated questioning of PJ inspector, Paulo Silvestre, Sá Correia accused him of lying in order to entrap police officers. Silvestre countered that he felt “wounded” by the accusation and declared that he was replying to the questions posed, “in accordance with his conscience”.
In a separate development, two other defence lawyers requested that evidence based on phone tapping devices be ruled invalid. Lawyers Fernando Cabrita and José Urbano made the request after they had cross-examined Paulo Silvestre, who confirmed that potentially incriminating evidence, resulting from tapping the phones of some of the defendants, would be brought to court. The trial continues.