Public prosecutors are calling for annulment of Judge Ivo Rosa’s controversial ‘instructional decision’ in which he tore into years of investigation into alleged political and institutional corruption, freeing most of the defendants and ensuring former prime minister José Sócrates would not be tried for corruption (click here).
Considering that Judge Rosa “substantially altered the facts” of their probe, the prosecutors insist that his interpretation of the law has been incorrect.
How, after all, can a person be tried for money-laundering (which Judge Rosa conceded Mr Sócrates must answer for) if the preceding crime of corruption is to be ignored – or in this case ‘thrown out’ because of judicial time limits?
Another area for action is the fact that the judge ‘transformed’ charges of passive corruption against Mr Sócrates’ life-long friend and co-defendant Carlos Santos Silva into charges of ‘active corruption’.
The Public Mnistry’s interpretation is that the judge went beyond his brief – which was to analyse the evidence and decide how the trial should move forwards – and has in fact ‘altered facts’ of the ‘Marquês’ probe.
The next step is for Judge Rosa to either accept the Public Ministry’s request, and drop his decision (which seems highly unlikely considering it took him almost two years to reach…) or to reject it, in which case an appeal will be formally lodged at Lisbon’s Tribunal de Relação.
As ‘extraordinary’ as Judge Rosa’s decision was almost two weeks ago (click here), it was never meant to be more than a kink in a massively long road which few hold out the hope will end satisfactorily.
Over 193,000 people have signed a petition for Judge Rosa’s dismissal from the Portuguese magistrature – and even the Attorney General has broken with her usual protocol to assure the press that this was not a definitive decision.
The most likely scenario is that the Public Ministry’s appeal will be lodged with the appeals court in Lisbon, and the country will wait months, if not more than a year, for another excerpt of Portuguese justice in action.