Sarah Carreira’s death case is supposed to be back in court this Thursday – but that’s not certain because of an ongoing strike. Sara Carreira died in December 2020
A tragic death, four accused: more than two years later, Tony Carreira and Fernanda Antunes, the parents of Sara Carreira, are still looking for answers and justice for the accident that took their daughter’s life. It is planned for this Thursday, March 16, the beginning of the didactic discussion of the process. It was originally scheduled for February 23, but was postponed due to the bailiffs’ strike at the Criminal Investigation Court of Santarém.
And, indeed, it is not guaranteed that the hearing will take place. João Grade dos Santos, a lawyer for one of the defendants in the proceedings, took it up on CNN Portugal. “The strike has been extended,” he explained. Taking this into account, the lawyer will not be present at the Santarém Court this Thursday, but will be represented “by a colleague from the region”.
João Grade dos Santos represents Tiago Pacheco, the driver who ended up colliding with the accident vehicle containing Ivo Lucas and Sara Carreira. Like the young woman’s family, he also asked for the process to be opened.
In his opinion, it does not make sense to accuse his client in this process and, therefore, in his application he attached the file of the accident involving the former minister Eduardo Cabrita and adds that “the crime of dangerous driving requires special malice ». In other words, in the process of Eduardo Cabrita there was this agreement on the part of the Prosecutor’s Office (MP) and in this case there was an opposite perception.
In addition, he tells CNN Portugal, “the courts are not competent to judge administrative offenses” and his client is accused by the MP of having committed two administrative offenses (one minor and one serious). As, as a rule, those who commit administrative offenses are “notified” to have the option of “paying the fine” of their own volition “for the minimum amount”. Something that didn’t happen. Your client was never notified to pay the administrative offenses listed in the indictment.
Still for the didactic debate scheduled for this Thursday, he added that the accused are not obliged to attend and can be represented by their lawyers. Attendance at the hearing “is a right and they can waive that right.”
The first count of Sarah Carreira’s lawsuit was dismissed
The first charge became known at the end of 2021. Dissatisfied with what he read in the document, Tony Carreira asked to open an instruction in January 2022. But in the meantime, the investigator in charge of the process dropped the charge.
The Prosecutor ordered the Prosecutor’s Office to repeat the same because he considered that there was a “nullification covering the charge”, in relation to the crimes of which two drivers involved in the accident that claimed the life of Tony Carreira’s daughter in December 2020 were accused: Ivo Lucas and Christina Branko.
The Prosecutor’s Office appealed, but the Court of Appeal of Évora agreed with the judge, who claimed that prosecutors had not made it clear whether the two defendants were charged with the crime of manslaughter by simple negligence or gross negligence, which could substantially alter the application of penalty.
In November 2022, the Prosecutor’s Office filed a new charge. Ivo Lucas and fanto singer Cristina Branco were again charged with manslaughter. Sara Carreira’s parents once again asked for the directive to be opened.
The case has four defendants. Paulo Neves, accused of committing the crime of dangerous driving and three offenses against the Road Traffic Code (one minor, one serious and one very serious); Cristina Branco, accused of manslaughter and two serious offences. Ivo Lucas, Sara Carreira’s boyfriend at the time of the accident, charged with manslaughter and two administrative offenses (one minor and one serious). Tiago Pacheco, charged with dangerous driving of a vehicle and two offenses (one minor and one serious).
“The Quest for Material Truth”
Speaking to TVI in January 2022, Tony Carreira’s lawyer, André Matias de Almeida, spoke about the case.
“Toni Carreira and Fernanda [mãe de Sara] we intend, as part of this process, the search for the material truth, to find out what happened on that night of this fateful day for this family, which at this time, to this day, is still not clear,” he said.
“We understand that the drivers involved in this accident have a number of actions that should have been taken and that were not done, and therefore we understand that all of this needs to be re-analyzed,” he added.
“When there is a final decision, whatever that is, that these parents can find out what happened, regardless of whether or not it represents the fault of those involved.”
The description of the accident in A1
It was around 6:30 p.m. of December 5, 2020, already at night and with light rain: the car of the fado singer Cristina Branco collides with the vehicle driven by Paulo Neves, who was traveling in the right lane between 28 and 32 km/h – speed lower than the minimum allowed on motorways (50 km/h). He was still drink-driving and had at least 1.18g/litre (minus the margin of error), twice the legal limit.
Cristina Branco’s car then hits the right side bumper, spinning and coming to a stop in the opposite direction in the center lane of the A1. Despite turning on the hazard warning lights, the fado singer, who left the vehicle, is accused of not using the hazard warning signal.
However, according to the description of the accident contained in the prosecution, at 6:49 p.m. Ivo Lucas was driving along the center lane between 131.18 and 139.01 km/h after he was unable to avoid the fado singer’s car, which collided on the side. left, following without a driver towards the center divider and reversing several times until it stopped in the left lane, almost vertically, with part of it occupying the center lane.
At 18:51, Tiago Pacheco was traveling along the main road between 146.35 and 155.08 km/h, stating to the prosecution that he did not slow down, even realizing that he was passing the scene of the accident, unable to deviate from O’s car Ivo Lucas, where he was still – as was Sara Carreira.