Beach victim lawyer criticizes appeal

in News · 18-07-2020 14:00:00 · 0 Comments

The lawyer for four of the victims who died following the cliff collapse on Maria Luís beach, in Albufeira, lamented that the State wants to “avoid at all costs” its liability when appealing the sentence enacted in May.

Pedro Proença reacted to the appeal that the Public Prosecutor presented, that sentenced the Portuguese State to pay more than one million Euros to the families of the five victims of the collapse of a cliff at Maria Luísa beach, in Albufeira, in 2009, in a note sent to the Lusa agency.

In the appeal to the Central Administrative Court of the South (TACS), to which the Lusa agency had access o, the Public Ministry expresses “non-conformity” and asks for the “nullity” of the sentence of the Administrative and Fiscal Court (TAF) of Loulé “for excess of pronunciation”, for having condemned the Portuguese State to pay the victims' families “amounts higher than those requested”.

The Public Prosecutor's Office alleges that the TAF decision in Loulé contains “factual error of judgment” and did not consider “proven facts indicated in the defence, in the process and arising from the testimony of witnesses”, presented at trial and that “imposed a different decision defendant”.

“Without prejudice to the right to appeal that assists any party in a judicial proceeding, I cannot but regret that, in view of the irrefutable evidence produced at the trial, the State continues its effort in an attempt to avoid at all costs its liability for the deaths caused by the fall of part of the cliff at Maria Luísa beach”, can be read in the written reaction sent by the lawyer to Lusa.

Pedro Proença considered that the “effort on the part of the State should be directed instead of drawing from the facts proven in the process the lessons tending to understand what failed, what continues to fail and what can be done to preserve security of users on beaches with those characteristics”.

"Unfortunately, the State is more interested in continuing to postpone a decision instead of removing the precious lessons that this process and the trial produced and which, incidentally, are arousing the interest of the scientific community", argued the representative of four of the five victims who lost their lives when they were buried on the Algarve beach in August 2009, after the fall of a cliff.

The lawyer of the majority of the victims also said that he is not surprised by the appeal presented by the Public Prosecutor's Office, because “the State had already been quick to close the criminal proceedings following the incident, without having carried out a serious and exhaustive investigation of the causes of the incident.”

These causes should, "according to the evidence produced in this trial, have given rise to criminal prosecutions against the leaders of the State services responsible for assessing and inspecting the cliffs," defended the legal representative of four victims.

On 27 May, the Loulé Tax and Administrative Court (TAF) ordered the State to pay around one million and six thousand Euros to the families of the five killed by the collapse of the cliff at Maria Luísa beach, in Albufeira, in the district of Faro, in August 2009.

For the TAF of Loulé, the State did not comply with its obligations, neither in monitoring the state of the cliff nor in signalling the beach, which is why it issued a condemnatory decision, almost 11 years after the accident on the morning of 21 August, 2009.


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