Those Portuguese Judges Ruling Against PCR Test Got Official Backlash

ER Editor: We published an important, precedent-setting story recently in which two Portuguese appeal court judges had ruled against the PCR test being used in order to diagnose and quarantine so-called infected people, 4 German tourists in this case. See Portuguese Court Rules PCR Tests As Unreliable & Unlawful To Quarantine People.
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But that wasn’t the end of the story. We recommend the entirety of this article from November 28 (Portuguese judges who queried reliability of Covid tests at risk of being disciplined). Of note:

Two appeal court judges in Lisbon are at risk of being ‘disciplined’ for a 34-page ruling in which they justified their reasons for releasing four German tourists from confinement in the Azores (click here).

The Superior Council of Magistrature (SCM) will be ‘appreciating’ this matter (in other words, deciding whether the two judges should be ‘disciplined’) on December 2 (Wednesday).

The social media movement Juristas Pela Verdade has organised a protest outside the SCM building in Lisbon from 9am on that day, describing the situation as “an attempt to destroy the rule of law in Portugal”.

This may sound like an ‘academic issue’ but it goes to the very heart of the current crisis: the fact that an official narrative appears to be the only one ‘allowed’, even for members of the judiciary who have studied scientific opinions in order to rule on appeals.

In this case, the appeal was lodged by ARS dos Açores – the regional health authority which disagreed with a lower court having granted a writ of Habeas corpus lodged by four German tourists held in a hotel because one of them had registered positive following a routine PCR test. None of the tourists showed any symptoms of Covid-19, but were held in isolation in their hotel for more than 10 days.

The judges – Margarida Ramos de Almeida and Ana Paramés – went to great pains to assess whether or not there were indeed legal grounds for the tourists’ enforced confinement. They decided there were not.

‘Specialists’ accused the legislators of being wrong, and irresponsible – and now we are at the point where the various specialist opinions are to be weighed by the CSM/SCM against those proffered by two appeal court judges.

Says Juristas pela Verdade in a post outlining Wednesday’s protest, the judges’ decision “fell like a bomb on the official narrative, on the basis of which thousands of Portuguese have been ordered into house arrest”.

And it sees the CSM intervention as “unacceptable interference by an administrative branch in a sovereign body of judicial power, aiming at control of the latter in what can only be characterised as a violent blow to the rule of law”.

Says the movement, the message to other courts is loud and clear “consequences may arise if they decide in the opposite direction to the official narrative”.

For citizens, “it means they cannot count on the independence of the courts or judges”.

In Juristas pela Verdade’s opinion the judges’ assessment of this situation was not ‘wrong’ nor ‘irresponsible’, it was “brilliant and courageous”. And for that reason the movement is asking as many people as possible to demonstrate outside the CSM building next Wednesday.

(Also see this story from November 20, Judges in Portugal highlight “more than debatable” reliability of Covid tests.)
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Portuguese judges “won’t be disciplined” over controversial ruling highlighting doubts over Covid test reliability

The two Portuguese judges whose 34-page ruling over a case of illegal confinement of German tourists in the Azores created ‘ructions’ for authorities’ ‘official narrative’ will not be ‘disciplined’ by their regulatory body.

This is the news protestors outside the Superior Council of Magistrature (CSM) in Lisbon yesterday were hoping for.

But it didn’t come without a chink of peeve.

A statement released by the CSM stressed that the ‘majority decision’ (in other words, not unanimous) could not help but recognise that the ruling held “some unnecessary excess… susceptible to create controversy in the current context”.

It may have been a ‘warning shot across the bows’ for any other litigators called on to decide ‘matters relating to the handling of the pandemic’. Or it may have been a sign that ultimately the separation of powers must indeed transcend any official narrative and leave judges free to come to informed decisions.

However it is taken, it is good news for appeal court litigators Margarida Ramos de Almeida and Ana Paramés, whose ruling has been hailed as ‘brilliant and courageous’ by all those who took time out of their lives yesterday to demonstrate in Lisbon.

For background links to this story, click here and here.

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