Meco: Supreme Court of Justice accepts appeal from the defense of victims’ families

The Supreme Court of Justice (STJ) accepted the appeal for an exceptional review by the defense of the families of the victims who died on Meco beach in 2013, after the Relação de Évora considered the appeal unfounded in July.

  Tragedy happened on December 15, 2013.

Tragedy happened on December 15, 2013. Bruno Colaço

According to the decision handed down on Wednesday by the advisers Maria Clara Sottomayor, António Oliveira Abreu and João Cura Mariano, which Lusa had access to, the judges recognized that this process “does not need any kind of presentation” and recalled the “significant media projection, not only for its tragic outcome, but also for the context in which the facts occurred”, alluding to the scope of academic practices. At issue is the judgment of the Court of Appeal of Évora of July 7 of this year, which did not grant the appeal against the decision of the Court of Setúbal which, on October 14, 2021, acquitted the former ‘dux’ João Miguel Gouveia and the Lusófona University of possible responsibility for the tragedy that occurred on December 15, 2013, which caused the death of six young people. Families claimed compensation of 1.3 million euros.

“The case on file assumes a significant social relevance, it being evident that the intervention of this Supreme Court will contribute to clarifying the best legal framework to dispense with cases that present similarities”, can be read in the decision of the STJ, which also justified its decision with the “legal relevance” of the issues arising from this case.

In the allegations for the STJ to accept the exceptional review of the decision of the Relação de Évora, the defense of the relatives of the victims invoked, according to the judgment, the need to clarify whether or not it was up to João Miguel Gouveia – as the first defendant of the action brought and maximum head of academic practice — “the duty to defend the life and physical integrity of colleagues”.

At the same time, he defended the importance of knowing whether the Lusófona University/Cooperative of Cultural Training and Animation (COFAC) “infringed the duty to act in good faith, violating accessory duties of conduct”, by allegedly not controlling the practices of students and possible “harmful consequences” thereof.

The defendants argued that the exceptional review appeal was inadmissible, but the advisors of the STJ stressed that the defense’s reasoning for admitting the appeal was fulfilled “sufficiently” and that, “in view of the above, the intervention of the Supreme Court is justified Court of justice”.

The exceptional review appeal occurs when the STJ considers that there is a legal and social relevance of a case, especially when it comes to possible divergences in jurisprudence, the novelty of the case or possible questions of legal interpretation in a topic of general interest, for which it is understood that the intervention of the Supreme can reinforce the security and certainty of the Law.

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