segunda-feira, 6 de janeiro de 2014

2014. The year for Justice

My problem with politics in Madeira can no longer be considered political. Yes, we have an idiotic dictatorship, bit the problem is not the idiotic dictatorship itself. The problem lies in the dysfunctional justice system that allows the law to be trampled and democracy to be totally subverted.

Anyone who likes watching crime investigation thrillers or trial dramas on TV would be sorely disappointed by Portuguese justice. In fact, I'm sure that's the reason these genres do not even exist in Portugal. The reality is so drab and pathetic that it is not even good material for comedy.

As far as Public Prosecution goes, most of the time, the employees are not only demotivated, they don't know what they are doing, or have been instructed not to think. I was once called in for questioning on a case for which I had compiled a detailed dossier and was asked a series of inane questions, simple facts of time and place. I pointed out that all the information was exhaustively documented in the dossier submitted. The investigator looked at a loss for a moment and then began to ask me another series of questions about facts that were also documented. I was flummoxed and asked why I was being asked these questions. "Well, you don't expect the judge to actually read through this whole dossier do you?"

Portuguese justice is infinitely good as splitting hairs and debating formalities. The law is a realm of its own and totally divorced from reality. If it is forbidden to ride a horse down a street one could argue that the law had not specified white horses, so that is actually permitted to ride white horses down the street or mares or zebras. As a consequence of such absurd nitpicking, the spirit of the law counts for nothing, and taking advantage of the infinite numbers of appeals allowed - if you pay top lawyers - you can argue any law away into insignificance.

But to deal with the obvious and the blatant somehow seems to overburden the Portuguese system and fuses burn: Its forbidden for the Government to hide debt; the Madeira President publicly boasts he has done this; Its too much information for the Justice system to handle; nothing happens.

An investigative thriller in Portugal would amount to filming a bunch of people sitting behind desks, bored as hell, surrounded by piles of files and yawning. Cut to a nighttime scene of judges partying with the crooks they are supposed to be judging the following day.

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