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Straw raises Portugal lawyer case

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Straw raises Portugal lawyer case

Post by christabel on Wed Jan 11, 2012 6:57 am

Straw raises Portugal lawyer case


Mrs Wylde faces six months in a Portugese jail if found guilty

Justice Secretary Jack Straw has taken up the case of a London woman facing a possible jail sentence in Portugal after complaining about a lawyer.

Serena Wylde, 58, from Putney, south London, complained to the Portugese regulator about an Algarve lawyer who was dealing with a property dispute.

As a result Mrs Wylde was charged with aggravated criminal defamation.

Mr Straw said he had discussed the case with Portuguese State Secretary Jose Magalhaes and will "follow it up".

'Confidential' complaint

Mrs Wylde inherited a house in the Algarve and became involved in a dispute with her Portugese neighbours about the erection of a gate in 2005.

She told BBC London that the case was settled out of court but her neighbours' lawyer continued to pursue the matter.

Mrs Wylde complained about the lawyer to Portugese regulatory body Ordem dos Advogados, in what she thought was a confidential letter.

But the body sent her letter to the Portugese Regulatory Authority, which said the complaint was unfounded and the lawyer was legally entitled to defend his good name.

Mrs Wylde is due to stand trial in the Algarve charged with aggravated criminal defamation. If found guilty she could face more than six months in prison.




British citizens want better and more effective rights across Europe

Justice Secretary Jack Straw

The lawyer is also seeking 50,000 euros (£45,500) in compensation.

Speaking in Brussels, Mr Straw said he used the case as an example of why close cross-border co-operation in justice and home affairs issues was crucial in Europe.

He said: "Nobody asked me to intervene - I just raised it because I saw a news item on television about the situation and decided to pursue it."

Mr Straw said the case was just one example where co-operation agreements in Europe could enable one government to intervene if they felt other national justice systems were not functioning properly.

"British citizens want better and more effective rights across Europe," he said.

Jago Russell, Chief Executive of Fair Trials International, 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."

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/england/london/8393656.stm

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christabel
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Re: Straw raises Portugal lawyer case

Post by Catkins on Wed Jan 11, 2012 9:26 am

Wondered how this was coming along......
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Re: Straw raises Portugal lawyer case

Post by dianeh on Wed Jan 11, 2012 12:02 pm

It is unbelievable that to make an official complaint is viewed as libel. The whole idea of avenues of complaint is that an investigation is undertaken and action taken if necessary. If no fault is found then that is the end of it. If you are threatended with gaol because your complaint is found to be unwarranted, then no one will ever make any complaints just incase they lose.

it is bizarre.

Now if the woman had went on the news accusing the lawyer of all sorts, then he would have a case for defamation. But to complain to the appropriate body, in what should be a confidential process, is far from defamation.

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Re: Straw raises Portugal lawyer case

Post by Pedro Silva on Wed Jan 11, 2012 10:16 pm

dianeh, I agree with you.

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Re: Straw raises Portugal lawyer case

Post by Catkins on Thu Jan 12, 2012 2:00 am

No wonder people are afraid to speak out down there......
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