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Posted by portugalpress on October 11, 2018

Évora appeals court has this week decided to spare a swimming teacher from the seven-and-a-half year jail term for child sex abuse handed out in February.

Seventy-year-old Joaquim Patrício originally received a prison term of 12 years for five crimes against two girls, aged eight and nine, committed at a swimming pool in Vidigueira. But the ‘cumulative punishment’ rounded down to seven-and-a-half years.

Patrício put in for appeal - which meant he remained at liberty while the judgement went forwards.

Now that appeal court judges have reduced the original sentence - to five years suspended - Patrício will end up not going to jail at all.

Compensation payments set in the first trial still stand (Patrício was ordered to pay one victim 15,000 euros and the other 7,500 euros), as does the 10-year ban on exercising any kind of profession with children.

The judges’ explanation for reducing the sentence was that “in spite of the alarm that these kind of crimes cause”, Patrício “did not have any previous criminal convictions” and, as far as they could see, “the facts (of the case) were not of a very high level of illegality”, making the penalties conferred “excessive and too high”.

At the original trail, the judge heard how Patrício had “placed his hand within the bathing suit” of one of his victims, putting a finger inside the child’s vagina, “causing pain”.

A local report at the time said that the mother of one of the children had left the court in tears once the sentence was read out.

The same news sources remarks this week that in September another teacher accused of pedophilia was sent to jail for 18 years for 14 crimes of abuse, as well as various crimes of mistreatment of minors.

It is unclear whether that teacher too has taken his case to appeal.

But in Porto this week PJ police arrested a 44-year-old IT employee convicted in 2014 to 10 years behind bars for child sex abuse but who has also remained at liberty pending an appeal ever since.

The man was arrested on Tuesday on suspicion of four further crimes against.

Inspectors “believe there could be many more victims throughout the country”, writes Correio da Manhã, describing a “quantity of pornographic images and videos of children” discovered on the man’s mobile phone and computer.

This time round, says the paper, the man has been held in preventive custody and will be assessed by psychologists “to see whether he suffers from a disturbance or sexual compulsion”.

natasha.donn@algarveresident.com

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