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Monte Tree Case: Defendants Acquitted

The former Vice-President of the Funchal City Council, Idalina Perestrelo, and Fransico Andrade, who was then responsible for gardens in the municipality, have both been acquitted in the Monte Tree Trial, where both had been charged with 13 accounts of negligent homicide and 24 cases of negligence when an oak tree fell during the Nossa Senhora do Monte festival on the 15th of August 2017.

Kátia Freitas Vieira, Idalina Perestrelo’s lawyer, undeniably stated that “justice has been done” with the acquittal of the former Deputy Mayor of Funchal, and who was responsible for the municipality’s gardens.

Leaving the District Court of Madeira, the representative of the former mayor pointed out flaws in the way the Public Prosecutor’s Office (MP) conducted the investigation, but stressed that, in the end, “justice was done.”

“The Public Prosecutor’s Office repeatedly failed during the investigation phase, however, this was reversed during the trial where they showed themselves to be both extremely professional and impartial.”

Kátia Vieira stressed that Idalina Perestrelo and Francisco Andrade “had absolutely nothing to do with the fall of the tree,” which she understood to have been a tragic but unpredictable event.

“There are tragedies, there are fatalities, a tree fell and like the 20th of February, these were both unprecedented natural disasters. Of course, we sympathise with the families of the victims and the people who were injured, but these seven years have been a tragedy for the life of Dr. Idalina and engineer Francisco. Justice has been served.”

The lawyer also criticised what she classified as “political exploitation, from left to right.”

“We are talking about people, loved ones who have passed away,” she stressed, adding that there are always people who want to take advantage of any situation.

Samantha Gannon

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