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Brazil's Supreme Court makes decision that could free Lula - expert comment

Brazil's Supreme Court has overturned a 2016 decision that defendants who failed a first appeal could be imprisoned. Dr George Meszaros from Warwick Law School comments.

"The court was asked to judge the constitutionality of article 283 of the Criminal Legal Code, but also consider that part of the constitution (subsection LVII of article 5) that refers to execution of the sentence/penalty only at the termination of the legal process, i.e., after appeals have run their full course.

"In reality, this case reflects profound political schisms present in society of which the trial and imprisonment of Lula are emblematic. Those schisms are present in the court too. One of the more problematic declarations of a supreme court judge was given by Roberto Barroso when he opposed the principle of the presumption of innocence to the interests of society in this comment: “The presumption of innocence is very important, but society's interest in an efficient penal system is also very important.”

8 November 2019

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