A BOLA – Case of Benfica’s emails: judge justifies several illicit acts (Justice)

Judge Carlos Alexandre, this Monday, pronounced the communication director of FC Porto, Francisco J. Marques, as well as the journalist Júlio Magalhães, former director of Porto Canal, in addition to the commentator Diogo Faria, for crimes of violation of correspondence and offense to the legal person, within the scope of the so-called case of Benfica emails.

In the instructional decision, to which BOLA had access, illicit activities were justified.

The case dates back to April 2017 and February 20, 2018, in which over about 20 programs Universe Porto da Bench«about 55 e-mails exchanged between employees of the Benfica group» were revealed.

Many points of the Porto defense were not answered. From the «public interest underlying the nature of the persons concerned», as it is mentioned that the question is «the investigation and knowledge and dissemination of communications between different individuals», but also the «right to information», given that the defendants they were not holders of a professional card, demonstrating «disrespect for the previous contradictory and exhaustion of sources of information».

The conclusion of the preliminary ruling contains all the elements aimed at and justifying the reasons why these three elements (Francisco J. Marques, Diogo Faria and Júlio Magalhães) are now being brought to trial. Some points were underlined as the ‘Public interest underlying the nature of the targets’.

«What is at stake, it is important not to forget it, is the investigation and knowledge and dissemination of communications between various natural persons, most of them unknown, outside that restricted group of people who follow the football phenomenon (which does not represent the global , society) – and, it should be noted, with the aim of violating and harming the rights of the assistants», it can be read, referring, then, in another point, to the veracity of the disclosed facts and the adequacy of the means used. and the public interest inherent in the content of the facts.

Explained here: «The defendants allege that their conduct, in particular that of Francisco J. Marques, was not motivated by any persecutory intention or malevolent campaign, but rather by the animus narrandii present in the exercise of their activity», recalling the functions of journalist , which were not met. «The functions of a journalist are linked, as determined by the Journalist Statute (Law 1/99 of 01.01 ) in its article 14.0, with duties of: 1) objectivity; 2) independence; 3) integrity; 4) prior contradictory of the visas; 5) rectification of inaccuracies in the work; 6) respect for the presumption of innocence; 7) truth; 8) preservation of privacy, where there is no indisputable public interest. All these values ​​are contrary to the functions performed by the defendants who, as subordinates, merely pursue the competitive interests of the FCP Group, not being guided by the criteria of objectivity and independence that characterize the journalistic function, but by the opposite. Because they are such incompatible functions, and a usual practice, as the witness José Manuel Ribeiro said in a session of 06.09.2021, the suspension of the journalist’s license when starting this type of function. Therefore, the arguments of the defendants are not valid, insofar as they support all the legitimacy of their supposed right to information on assumptions that are only raised when the exercise of the right to inform by journalists is at stake».

The lawsuit also mentions a lack of objectivity and exemption of all the information that was revealed.

Violation of the duty of objectivity and exemption were also pointed out. Finally, it was recalled that the defendants forgot a principle of the legal system: the prohibition of “taking advantage of their own illicit”.

Benfica’s defense congratulated itself, classifying the decision as “right” and “important”, as it “reinforces the idea that in club rivalry everything cannot be said, including defaming and slandering, and also selecting, manipulating, decontextualizing and truncate documents, which, moreover, had already been obtained and then trafficked criminally’.

The defendants, after knowing the decision, announced that they will appeal.

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