Coimbra Court decides that Valdemar Alves will not go to trial

THE Coimbra Court of Appeal today decided that the president of Pedrógão Grande Chamber does not go to trial in the lawsuit about the responsibilities in the great fire of 2017, when granting the resources of Valdemar Alves and the Public Ministry (MP).

Valdemar Alves and the Public Prosecutor's Office had filed an appeal to the Coimbra Appeal, in the sense that the mayor did not go to trial in this case, as requested by the family assistant of victims of the fire during the investigation phase.

Now, the Relação de Coimbra has decided that Valdemar Alves, who initially had not been accused by the Public Prosecutor's Office, is not going to trial in the process that seeks to gauge responsibility in the great fire of June 2017, which killed 66 people.

The Court of Appeal of Coimbra (TRC) considered that the assistant's request for Valdemar Alves to be constituted as an accused suffered from “legitimacy”.

To this end, the judge judges rely on the fact that the assistant's family members died on the national road 236-1, whose fuel lane management is the responsibility of Ascendi and not of the municipality of Pedrógão Grande (which is responsible for road deaths) municipal).

“As the assistant does not have a relationship with the mortal victims for whose negligent homicides she intends to see the applicant pronounced (Valdemar Alves), she lacks the legitimacy to request the instruction”, they justify, in today's judgment.

According to the TRC, the assistant “was not admitted for all matters of investigation and prosecutions, but only for matters relevant to the crimes that victimized her ancestors”.

In the same order, the Court of Appeal of Coimbra also determined that the former vice-president of the Pedrógão Grande Chamber, José Graça, is going to trial.

The former mayor had been accused by the Public Prosecutor's Office, but the Leiria Investigation judge had decided to remove him from the process.

The judgment, signed by judges Vasques Osório and Helena Bolieiro, concluded that José Graça “coordinated the activity carried out by municipal workers, with the object of fuel management”, namely on the municipal roads of the municipality where seven people died.

Regarding the district commander of Leiria's rescue operations at the time of the facts, Sérgio Gomes, and the second district commander, Mário Cerol, who had been accused by the Public Prosecutor's Office, but removed from the process in the investigation phase, the TRC confirmed the last decision, deciding not to bring them to trial.

The judge judges considered that Sérgio Gomes will not have “failed to observe any regulations” with regard to fighting fire, having made similar considerations regarding Mário Cerol.

In the provision, the Relação de Coimbra denies the appeal of the Public Prosecutor's Office for these two regional civil protection officials to go to trial, noting, however, that the non-pronunciation is due to “reasons that are not completely coincident”.

The decision was read to the media by the clerk of the Relação de Coimbra, Gil Diz.

Thus, the then presidents of the municipalities of Castanheira de Pera and Figueiró dos Vinhos, Fernando Lopes and Jorge Abreu (who remains in office), respectively; o at the time vice-president of the Pedrógão Grande Chamber, José Graça, and the forestry engineer from the municipality Margarida Gonçalves; the commander of the Pedrógão Grande Volunteer Firefighters, Augusto Arnaut; the assistant director of EDP's commercial area, José Geria, and the assistant director of the maintenance area of ​​the Center of the same company, Casimiro Pedro; and three officials with positions at Ascendi Pinhal Interior: José Revés, António Berardinelli and Rogério Mota.

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