Mayor of Pedrógão Grande accused of 11 crimes

By TPN/Lusa, in News, Regional · 21-01-2021 20:21:00 · 0 Comments

The mayor of Pedrógão Grande has been accused of 11 crimes following the June 2017 fires, seven of negligent homicide and four of bodily harm for negligence, a source from the public prosecutor's office said to Lusa.

In an information posted on the website of the Public Prosecutor's Office of the District of Leiria, it says that "the Public Prosecutor's Office (MP) of the Investigation and Criminal Action Department of Leiria has filed charges against an accused, a mayor of the municipality of Pedrógão Grande, for the crimes of negligent homicide and bodily harm by negligence, some of which are serious bodily harm.

The MP source told Lusa that the mayor is Valdemar Alves and specified the number of crimes.

"This accusation is made in the context of an autonomous investigation filed on the basis of a certificate extracted from the case where the fires were investigated which, on 17 June 2017, took place in the municipalities of Pedrógão Grande, Castanheira de Pera, Figueiró dos Vinhos, Alvaiázere and Ansião," in the district of Leiria, the information on the website states.

The enquiry was summoned by the attorney general of the Department of Investigation and Penal Action of Leiria.

The fire that broke out in June 2017 in Pedrógão Grande and spread to neighboring municipalities killed 66 people and injured 253, seven of whom were serious, and destroyed some half a thousand homes and 50 businesses.

Following the investigation, the public prosecutor's office charged 12 defendants, including the then mayors of Castanheira de Pera and Figueiró dos Vinhos. Valdemar Alves was not charged.

An investigation was requested, and the mayor of Pedrógão Grande and nine other defendants were indicted.

From the indictment, the Public Prosecutor and Valdemar Alves appealed to the Court of Appeal of Coimbra, which considered that the mayor should not go to trial, and the MP asked for a certificate to open an autonomous enquiry against the mayor.

If the opening of an investigation is not requested, the Public Prosecutor's Office may ask for the joining of this case to what will be judged from March onwards, in the Judicial Court of Leiria.

In this trial are the presidents of Castanheira de Pera and Figueiró dos Vinhos, respectively Fernando Lopes and Jorge Abreu (who remains in office), and the then vice-president of Pedrógão Grande, José Graça.

Also on trial will be the then forestry engineer of Pedrógão Grande municipality, Margarida Gonçalves, the commander of the Pedrógão Grande Voluntary Fire Brigade, Augusto Arnaut, the deputy director of EDP's commercial area, José Geria, and the deputy director of the maintenance area of the same company, Casimiro Pedro, and three persons in charge of Ascendi Pinhal Interior: José Revés, António Berardinelli and Rogério Mota.



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