João Carlos Gouveia, former leader of the Socialist Party in Madeira was today acquitted of difamation.
The acusation reported to the period of the 2005 Municipal Elections when Gouveia was candidate for Mayor of São Vicente and the commander of the Vouluntary Firemen stood as a candidate for the PSD
In an interview to the Tribuna newspaper, the accused had stated: There is no sense in the current high level of conflictuality, when the person in charge of the the firemen threatens his subalterns that they may loose their jobs if they don't vote for the PSD.
The judge maintained that the words of the accused, whose car was set on fire during the election campaign, were acceptable as part of the freedom of expression and criticism within the context of political speech, although he admonished the accused for being unable to prove what he had said in the interview.
Gouveia was also acquitted for allegedly distributing political propaganda on the pre-election day of reflection. Gouveia had distributed a letter in defending his honour in answer to a letter smearing his name, distributed by PSD members on the last day of the election campaign.