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Monte Tree Case: Witnesses Heard Today

The Monte Tree trial continued today with several witness statements made in the presence of the defendants Idalina Perestrelo and Francisco Andrade.

A resident of Largo da Fonte told the collective of judges that he had already raised the alarm about the state of the tree that eventually fell and that he had been at the scene of the tragedy.

When he heard the bang, without seeing the tree fall, he immediately knew that it had been one of the trees that had fallen. He said that he had already alerted the Chamber, in letters sent to former mayors Miguel Albuquerque and Paulo Cafôfo, to warn them of the state of 16 trees that needed attention, given the constant fall of branches. He reportedly sent six letters to the City Council.

“As a resident, I saw gardeners in Largo da Fonte working, but I have no idea of seeing workers tending to the trees. It was basically sweeping and watering, planting some plants I saw and little else,” the witness stated, lamenting that the tragedy had happened, after several warnings.

In the questions posed by the court, the resident admitted that he never made warnings about the oak that eventually toppled over, but rather 16 trees, mainly plane trees, which in his view, needed attention, as he considered them dangerous.

The defendants’ defence questioned this witness about whether there had been fireworks on the 15th of August 2017, to which he replied that he hadn’t heard them.

Concluding, the defence asked if the man was a tree specialist, to which he replied that he was a former inspector of economic activities, and admitted to having to botanical training.

However, another witness, a worker of the pyrotechnic material company, said that 56 fireworks went off, to which the lawyer wanted to submit a request for this witness to be heard again in the defence of Francisco Andrade.

Samantha Gannon

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