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Interesting other English defamation case in Portugal

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Interesting other English defamation case in Portugal

Post by DCB1 on 17.12.09 13:51

http://www.algarveresident.com/story.asp?ID=35106


Serena Wylde is facing criminal charges in Portugal for alleged defamation against a Lagos-based lawyer. Photo: SUPPLIED
Serena Wylde is facing criminal charges in Portugal for alleged defamation against a Lagos-based lawyer. Photo: SUPPLIED

By ELOISE WALTON eloise.walton@mmspublishing.com

A British woman is facing criminal charges after making a complaint against a Lagos-based lawyer to the national regulatory body.

According to a statement from human rights campaign group Fair Trials International, Serena Wylde, 58 and from London, could be jailed for more than six months if she is found guilty of aggravated criminal defamation.

Serena Wylde, who owns a property in Praia da Luz, wrote to the regulatory body Ordem dos Advogados, asking for disciplinary action to be taken against Fernando Pimenta de Almeida Borges, after a dispute with a neighbour.

Jago Russell, Chief Executive of Fair Trials International, said in a statement: “I am horrified that Serena is being threatened with a prison sentence for making a complaint intended to protect others.”

Fernando Borges told the Algarve Resident that following Serena Wylde’s complaint against him, he answered an enquiry from the Ordem dos Advogados before the case was archived.

“The lady wasn’t my client. I represented the opposing party in a case,” he said. “I decided to make a complaint against her in June 2006 because I was offended by her defamatory claims and I knew that I had done nothing wrong.”

Although articles in the British press claim that Serena Wylde could face a prison sentence, Fernando Borges believes that this will not be the case.

“She is accused of defamation. It’s not a serious crime, but a crime none the less and although it can be punishable with a prison sentence, the most likely outcome if found guilty could be a fine,” he said.

SHOCKING

Francisco Teixeira da Mota, who is Serena Wylde’s lawyer, said: “Unfortunately, we don’t have a significant tradition of freedom of expression in Portugal. But as in other Mediterranean countries, we have a concept of honour which is seriously outdated. This trial should never have happened and I hope that we win it.”

Serena Wylde, quoted by Fair Trials International, said: “It is devastating to be charged with a criminal offence. In my case this happened because I told what I believe to be the truth and it has been turned against me by those who don’t want to hear it. This ordeal has made me question every reference point of my daily security, and even my own sanity.”

The case is due to be heard at Lagos court but a date for this has not yet been set.

Meanwhile, a spokesman from Fair Trials International told the Algarve Resident that the British Justice Secretary Jack Straw has intervened in the case, raising his concerns to the State Secretary of Portugal José Magalhães during a meeting in Brussels earlier this month.

Jago Russell said: “Serena Wylde should never have been threatened with a prison sentence for writing a confidential letter to a regulator.

“This shocking prosecution flies in the face of free speech and with Jack Straw’s support we hope these charges will be dropped.”

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Re: Interesting other English defamation case in Portugal

Post by DCB1 on 17.12.09 13:54

By ELOISE WALTON eloise.walton@mmspublishing.com

A 58 year-old British woman facing criminal charges for making a complaint against a Lagos-based lawyer has said that she will come to the Algarve to face the court.

Serena Wylde, speaking exclusively to the Algarve Resident, said that she will face the judges if the case goes to trial, as it has already been postponed. (See the Algarve Resident edition, December 11).

In preparation for her defence against Lagos-based lawyer Fernando Pimenta de Almeida Borges, Serena said that her lawyer has asked the Portuguese regulatory body to re-examine the original disciplinary enquiry.

“A year ago, I also commissioned a legal opinion in London, which has been fully translated into English and is now with the Ministry of Justice,” she said.

“I have already spent close to 20,000 euros and for two years, I battled this alone, writing to MPs, the Portuguese attorney general and many others to try and resolve this without embarrassing Portugal.”

Finding that her letters and those sent by British MPs to Portugal on her behalf were getting the issue no closer to being resolved, Serena decided to contact human rights campaign group Fair Trials International and bring the story out into the public domain.

“I will appear in court and if I am convicted then I will appeal and appeal until eventually the case will go to the European court of human rights,” she said.

“I feel exhausted, furious and betrayed. After this is all over, I will have to think of whether I want to return to Portugal.”

Since making the case public, Serena Wylde said that she has been “inundated” by people telling her about their troubles with lawyers in Portugal.

“I am considering setting up a website,” she said, adding that she wants to help people get their stories out in some way without the fear of retribution.

UNFAIR

Meanwhile, Portuguese lawyer José Pedro Magalhães, a friend and former colleague of Fernando Pimenta de Almeida Borges, told the Algarve Resident that under Portuguese criminal law, anyone addressing an entity and making a charge against another person, even in the form of suspicion, in violation of his or her honour or consideration commits a crime of defamation.

He went on to say that if the opinion of Jago Russell, Chief Executive of Fair Trials International, that complaints made anonymously and in private to a regulatory body for lawyers should never be the subject of criminal defamation proceedings was unfair.

“This opinion - if prevailing - would mean that a lawyer who considers him/herself to be the subject of defamation could not bring forward a criminal complaint,” he said.

The case is due to be heard at Lagos court but a date for this has not yet been set.

http://www.algarveresident.com/story.asp?XID=34350

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Re: Interesting other English defamation case in Portugal

Post by DCB1 on 17.12.09 13:55

Extract from above:

"Meanwhile, Portuguese lawyer José Pedro Magalhães, a friend and former colleague of Fernando Pimenta de Almeida Borges, told the Algarve Resident that under Portuguese criminal law, anyone addressing an entity and making a charge against another person, even in the form of suspicion, in violation of his or her honour or consideration commits a crime of defamation."

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The entire British press could end up in a Portuguese court very soon

Post by Tony Bennett on 17.12.09 14:04

@DCB1 wrote:Extract from above:

"Meanwhile, Portuguese lawyer José Pedro Magalhães, a friend and former colleague of Fernando Pimenta de Almeida Borges, told the Algarve Resident that under Portuguese criminal law, anyone addressing an entity and making a charge against another person, even in the form of suspicion, in violation of his or her honour or consideration commits a crime of defamation."
The entire British press could end up in a Portuguese court very soon, then, for constantly defaming the 'disgraced' Goncalo Amaral

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Re: Interesting other English defamation case in Portugal

Post by DCB1 on 17.12.09 14:09

@Tony Bennett wrote:
@DCB1 wrote:Extract from above:

"Meanwhile, Portuguese lawyer José Pedro Magalhães, a friend and former colleague of Fernando Pimenta de Almeida Borges, told the Algarve Resident that under Portuguese criminal law, anyone addressing an entity and making a charge against another person, even in the form of suspicion, in violation of his or her honour or consideration commits a crime of defamation."
The entire British press could end up in a Portuguese court very soon, then, for constantly defaming the 'disgraced' Goncalo Amaral

May well be true - if he actually starts any proceedings against them (and i am very surprised that he has not done so already).

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Re: Interesting other English defamation case in Portugal

Post by DCB1 on 17.12.09 14:10

After all, the other lead players in the case have won substantial amounts.

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Only with the help of Carter-Ruck

Post by Tony Bennett on 17.12.09 14:16

@DCB1 wrote:After all, the other lead players in the case have won substantial amounts.
Only with the help of retainers to top libel lawyers at Carter-Ruck being paid £500 per hour. Source of the retainers unknown.

Whoops, forgot the V.A.T.

£575.00 per hour, soon to rise to £587.50 per hour.

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Re: Interesting other English defamation case in Portugal

Post by DCB1 on 17.12.09 14:17

Murat didn't use Carter Ruck.

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Re: Interesting other English defamation case in Portugal

Post by Tony Bennett on 17.12.09 14:23

@DCB1 wrote:Murat didn't use Carter Ruck.
Did he use 'the second most feared libel lawyers in the country', then?

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Re: Interesting other English defamation case in Portugal

Post by DCB1 on 17.12.09 14:27

@Tony Bennett wrote:
@DCB1 wrote:Murat didn't use Carter Ruck.
Did he use 'the second most feared libel lawyers in the country', then?

I have no idea how feared they are! I should imagine that all firms of libel lawyers are feared by those who libel.

But for once I agree with you - GA would probably have a high chance of success and the award may well wipe out his rather large debts in one fell swoop.

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Re: Interesting other English defamation case in Portugal

Post by Guest on 17.12.09 15:17

@DCB1 wrote:
@Tony Bennett wrote:
@DCB1 wrote:Murat didn't use Carter Ruck.
Did he use 'the second most feared libel lawyers in the country', then?

I have no idea how feared they are! I should imagine that all firms of libel lawyers are feared by those who libel.

But for once I agree with you - GA would probably have a high chance of success and the award may well wipe out his rather large debts in one fell swoop.

Can you really get sued for calling somebody "disgraced", especially after they have been convicted for perjury in a court of law? If the offence also happened while you were a serving police officer, then I think that description is rather mild.

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Re: Interesting other English defamation case in Portugal

Post by Tony Bennett on 17.12.09 15:19

@DCB1 wrote:
@Tony Bennett wrote:
@DCB1 wrote:Murat didn't use Carter Ruck.
Did he use 'the second most feared libel lawyers in the country', then?

I have no idea how feared they are! I should imagine that all firms of libel lawyers are feared by those who libel.

But for once I agree with you - GA would probably have a high chance of success and the award may well wipe out his rather large debts in one fell swoop.
In betting terms, DCB1, this battle is now being played out for very high stakes. As you're someone who makes his points on forums by and large very courteously and none the less effectively for that if I may say so, I wish you and yours a happy Christmas and a successful and healthy New Year.

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Re: Interesting other English defamation case in Portugal

Post by DCB1 on 17.12.09 15:19

He was called much worse than "disgraced" and in any event he had not been convicted when the reports were published.

I am not a GA fan by any means.

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Re: Interesting other English defamation case in Portugal

Post by DCB1 on 17.12.09 15:21

@Tony Bennett wrote:
@DCB1 wrote:
@Tony Bennett wrote:
@DCB1 wrote:Murat didn't use Carter Ruck.
Did he use 'the second most feared libel lawyers in the country', then?

I have no idea how feared they are! I should imagine that all firms of libel lawyers are feared by those who libel.

But for once I agree with you - GA would probably have a high chance of success and the award may well wipe out his rather large debts in one fell swoop.
In betting terms, DCB1, this battle is now being played out for very high stakes. As you're someone who makes his points on forums by and large very courteously and none the less effectively for that if I may say so, I wish you and yours a happy Christmas and a successful and healthy New Year.

Thanks very much TB - your Christmas wishes are reciprocated.

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Re: Interesting other English defamation case in Portugal

Post by Tony Bennett on 17.12.09 15:22

JessicaPer wrote:
@DCB1 wrote:
@Tony Bennett wrote:
@DCB1 wrote:Murat didn't use Carter Ruck.
Did he use 'the second most feared libel lawyers in the country', then?

I have no idea how feared they are! I should imagine that all firms of libel lawyers are feared by those who libel.

But for once I agree with you - GA would probably have a high chance of success and the award may well wipe out his rather large debts in one fell swoop.

Can you really get sued for calling somebody "disgraced", especially after they have been convicted for perjury in a court of law? If the offence also happened while you were a serving police officer, then I think that description is rather mild.
The sentence for 'filing a false report', not 'perjury', is not effective until the appeal has been heard. Last I heard the appeal was being held up because for some strange and unfathomable reason some official somewhere hadn't got round to paying the four jurors who heard the case at the court of first instance.

Wait for the appeal verdict

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Re: Interesting other English defamation case in Portugal

Post by Guest on 17.12.09 15:30

@Tony Bennett wrote:
JessicaPer wrote:
@DCB1 wrote:
@Tony Bennett wrote:
@DCB1 wrote:Murat didn't use Carter Ruck.
Did he use 'the second most feared libel lawyers in the country', then?

I have no idea how feared they are! I should imagine that all firms of libel lawyers are feared by those who libel.

But for once I agree with you - GA would probably have a high chance of success and the award may well wipe out his rather large debts in one fell swoop.

Can you really get sued for calling somebody "disgraced", especially after they have been convicted for perjury in a court of law? If the offence also happened while you were a serving police officer, then I think that description is rather mild.
The sentence for 'filing a false report', not 'perjury', is not effective until the appeal has been heard. Last I heard the appeal was being held up because for some strange and unfathomable reason some official somewhere hadn't got round to paying the four jurors who heard the case at the court of first instance.

Wait for the appeal verdict

Thanks for the correction, I'll be looking forward to the verdict. There is also the matter of the new trial for torture charges though, aren't there? Does anyone know when this is due in court?

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