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Algarve Resident newspaper

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Algarve Resident newspaper

Post by Pedro Silva on Mon Jan 30, 2012 8:46 am

My friends, this was taken from Algarve Resident newspaper:



























Pedro Silva
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Re: Algarve Resident newspaper

Post by dianeh on Mon Jan 30, 2012 10:08 am

On Serena Wylde

Serena Wylde case dropped

Created on Saturday, 10 December 2011 22:18
Serena Wylde faced a prison sentence in Portugal after having made a confidential complaint to Portugal’s legal regulator - against her lawyer. Wylde then was counter-charged with aggravated criminal defamation which can carry a sentence of up to nine months’ imprisonment.

A dispute over a garage and a fence at her home in Praia da Luz had involved lawyers but was settled by the the two neighbours amicably. Wylde's lawyer was told to cease any procedings. It was claimed that her lawyer Pimenta de Almeida Borges failed to act on this instruction and the case was scheduled to go to court as a result.

She wrote to the Portuguese solicitor's regulatory body, Ordem dos Advogados, complaining of his unprofessionalism and asking for disciplinary action to be taken against Borges, who is the son of a Portugese Supreme Court Judge.

The regulatory body took no action but sent the letter on to the prosecutor's office.

Living in London but with close and long-term connections to the Algarve, Serena Wylde has been in a legal limbo for years, with the threat of a prison sentence hanging over her and the ongoing financial costs of retaining expert lawyers in Portugal to fight her case.

Early in November 2011 Serena Wylde travelled to the Algarve to attend the trial and argue her case in person. The trial was delayed as the judge called in sick that morning, denying Serena her day in court.

The court decided on the 29th of November 2011 that, as over four years had passed, too much time has elapsed for the prosecution to proceed. The case against her has been dropped.


Much of the text courtesy of Fair Trials International


Ed's Comment:

Serena Wylde's complaint against her lawyer would seem the right course of action when things have not gone well, and one party thinks the other has behaved unprofessionally.

One the face of it Serena had a good case but the Portuguese legal system stacked the odds against her. Maybe the convenient last minute illness of the trial judge, effectively kicking the trial into 'time out', was an inspired move by higher legal powers in Portugal, powers that already had been criticised by local and international media for the continuence of a system where the plaintiff is, in effect, unable to make a complain for fear of prison.

The moral of the story is, consult a lawyer before filling in a complaints book, or making a written complaint to a regulatory body.

The Ed's note is very interesting. I am still amazed that a person can be charged with criminal libel for using the legal complaints process. The prosecutor that brought the criminal libel charge needs to be asked why a confidentail complaint can be considered libel and if it is, then why have a complaints process at all?
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