According to the ruling that Lusa accessed today, the Lisbon Court of Appeal (TRL) determined that "the investigative acts and the instructive debate take place without the recommended limitations", so the process can now also take place during judicial vacations in order to avoid the risk of prescription for certain crimes, namely falsification of documents and infidelity, which can occur between August 2024 and March 2025.
At issue was the understanding of Ivo Rosa, the former investigating judge in the case, who in April 2022 rejected the request of the assistant Banco Espírito Santo (BES) in liquidation to give the case a character emergency. The public prosecutor opposed this position and seized the tribunal de grande instance, which endorsed the arguments presented and considered that the interruption of the investigation during the judicial holidays "is likely to delay this procedural phase and to violate the right to obtain a judicial decision within a reasonable time”.
Faced with the risk of prescription, the judges defended themselves from avoiding “the lengthening of the criminal proceedings and the resulting discredit of justice”, can we read in the TRL decision, put forward on Wednesday evening by the Observer.
"Whether it is the undeniable complexity of the investigation files in question, or the high number of steps to be taken in the investigation, or the risk of prescription concerning some of the crimes in question, there arises the obvious advantage that the "instruction acts (including the instruction of debate) are practiced without the limitations" provided for in the time limits of the Code of Criminal Procedure, refer the three judges of the TRL.
In September, the investigation of the BES/GES case was entrusted to judge Pedro Santos Correia, who replaced Ivo Rosa by decision of the Superior Council of the Judiciary (CSM). Last June, a deadline of eight months had also been set for the conclusion of the instruction, i.e. until next February, but the CSM has already shown itself willing to assess "in its time" a possible non-compliance with the time limit. .
The BES/GES case has 27 defendants (23 people and four companies).
Considered one of the most important cases in the history of Portuguese justice, this case adds 242 applications to the main proceedings, which have been joined, and complaints from more than 300 natural and legal persons, residing in Portugal and abroad. According to the Public Ministry (MP), whose indictment had approximately four thousand pages, the collapse of the Espírito Santo Group (GES), in 2014, will have caused damages of more than 11,8 billion euros.
JGO // ZO