Can I appeal against a sentence or if the defendant is declared not guilty?
The trial will end with a court decision convicting or acquitting the defendant. If the defendant is found guilty the court will impose a penalty.
You will receive a notification about the time and place of the final court hearing if you have participated in the process as an assistant to the prosecutor or civil claimant. Nevertheless, the final court hearing is always open to the public and if you wish you are free to attend irrespective of whether you have participated in the trial as an assistant or civil claimant or not. If you have missed this opportunity you can still read the decision afterwards at the court’s secretariat.
If you have participated in the trial as an assistant to the prosecutor and you are not satisfied with the court’s decision you can file an appeal to the Court of Appeal (or in exceptional cases to the Supreme Court). The deadline for submitting the appeal is 20 days if you believe the law has not been applied correctly and 30 days if you object to the appreciation of some of the evidence.
Is further appeal possible?
If you do not agree with the decision of the Court of Appeal, you can appeal for the Supreme Court, unless that decision does not apply a prison penalty or, confirming the decision of the First Instance Court, considers the defendant not guilty or convicts him/her in a prison penalty of less than 8 years.
The deadline for submitting the appeal is 20 days if you believe the law has not been applied correctly and 30 days if you object to the appreciation of some of the evidence.
What rights do I have after the court sentence enters into force?
Some of the sanctions that the court may impose with the sentence are aimed to protect you from the offender after the trial, e.g. the offender can be prohibited from contacting you.
In case of release or escape of the convicted person, and if that puts you in risk, you will be informed.
There is a possibility that the offender is conditionally released under the parole system. You will not be consulted when such a decision is being made.
If you have participated in the trial as a witness and you believe your testimony may somehow create danger for your life, physical or mental integrity or freedom, you can be placed under a special protection programme. Such programme can include change of identity, relocation (including relocation abroad if necessary) and even plastic surgery. The programme can also cover your relatives or other persons close to you if they are also in danger.
- Penal Procedure Code (Código de Processo Penal) – in Portuguese
- Penal Code (Código Penal) – in Portuguese
- Law on the implementation of measures for witness protection in criminal proceedings (Lei n.º 93/99 regula a aplicação de medidas para protecção de testemunhas em processo penal) – in Portuguese
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