In the final summing up at a court in Sintra, the prosecution took the view that the 17 officers were not motivated by “racial hatred” in their actions.

The 17 defendants - all men - continue to face charges of slander, insult, actual bodily harm and perjury, in a case relating to events on 5 February 2015, when officers allegedly assaulted young men in Cova da Moura and inside the Alfragide police station. The prosecution had originally argued that the officers were motivation by racial hatred and that they acted in an inhumane, cruel way, taking pleasure in causing suffering.

In the final summing up, the lead prosecutor in the case, Manuel das Dores, said that in court no evidence had been presented that could lead to the conviction of the accused for the crime of torture and other cruel, inhumane and degrading treatments.

However, he called for the condemnation of several of the officers for the crimes of abduction, document forgery and offences relating to aggravated physical ill-treatment, saying that it had been proved that these defendants assaulted the victims, detained a young man illegally in Cova da Moura and forged the report to “whitewash” what really happened in the neighbourhood and in the subsequent confrontation in the station.

The charge sheet had alleged that PSP officers beat the six victims and treated them in a humiliating and degrading manner, as well as inciting discrimination, hatred and violence because of their race. However, the prosecutor on Tuesday admitted to “many legal doubts” that this crime had been practiced.