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Monte Tree Tragedy Investigation Continues

The District Court of Madeira has issued a statement confirming that the public phase of the investigation into the Monte tree tragedy which killed 13 people and injured 49 in 2017, will begin on Monday the 14th of September.

This week during several closed hearings, Judge Susana Mão de Ferro will hear statements from some of the witnesses and on Friday, she will witness a reconstruction of the accident at Largo da Fonte, Monte, Funchal. For everyone involved, this is a significant occasion as the judge, after assessing all available information, will decide whether the case can go to trial or that this is the end of the line.

The vice-president of the municipality of Funchal, Idalina Perestrelo – responsible for the areas of Urban Environment, Green and Public Spaces – and the head of the Gardens and Green Spaces Division, Francisco Andrade, have been implicate and both requested the intervention of a judge as they believe that they should not have to stand trial.

In the investigation phase, the then mayor of the municipality of Funchal, Paulo Cafôfo, was implicated but the Public Prosecutor’s Office did not accuse him because the mayor had delegated the competences of these spaces to other elements of the team.

However, some of the victims’ relatives did not agree with this decision and demanded that Paulo Cafôfo should also be included in this process, requests that were rejected by the investigating judge.

The original investigation phase of the tragedy began on the 4th of October, 2019. However, it was then suspended due to the pandemic.

Samantha Gannon

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