“Neither two-year instructions nor two-hour instructions. We shouldn’t want either one or the other. An instruction of two or three hours is not an instruction, as instructions of two or three years, endless, do not serve justice either”, said Ricardo Sá Fernandes at the exit of the Central Court of Criminal Instruction, in Lisbon.
Speaking to journalists, Manuel Pinho’s lawyer asked for common sense in the management of this optional procedural phase in which it is assessed whether the evidence is sufficient to bring the defendants to trial.
“Virtue lies in the middle ground and what I want for my country is for there to be a sense of balance and common sense in relation to this matter. Neither delaying maneuvers that uselessly prolong instructions for months or years, nor the them, nor summarize the instruction to two hours of conversation”, he summarized, assuming that the former ruler “is disgusted” with the process, but “firm on the path that lies ahead”.
The criticisms were corroborated by Francisco Proença de Carvalho, agent of the former banker, who noted that “the defendants had no right to anything” and that the defenses came to the instructional debate to “comply with the timetable”.
“We had no instruction. After more than 10 years of investigation in which the Public Ministry did everything it wanted, including accusing for facts that have nothing to do with the EDP process that it has been disclosing with you, the defendants were not entitled to nothing, not even proof”, said the lawyer, who valued the scenario admitted by the Public Prosecutor’s Office in relation to carrying out a medical examination of the former president of BES in the trial phase.
Already during the court session, the lawyer Manuel Magalhães e Silva, who represents the wife of the former minister, Alexandra Pinho, had also targeted the judge, considering that the magistrate Gabriela Assunção “is not in a position to assess, unless it is a merely formal assessment” of the evidence invoked by the Public Prosecutor’s Office: “In this period of time it is manifestly impossible”.
The former Minister of Economy (between 2005 and 2009) Manuel Pinho was accused in the EDP Case of a crime of passive corruption for an unlawful act, another of passive corruption, a crime of money laundering and a crime of tax fraud.
Also accused in this process were the ex-minister’s wife, Alexandra Pinho, in effective competition and material co-authorship with her husband of a crime of money laundering and another of tax fraud, and the former president of BES, Ricardo Salgado, for a crime of active corruption for an illicit act, one crime of active corruption and another of money laundering.