Author(s) Carlos Roberto Rocha Coimbra Antunes
Advisor(s) Fernando Eduardo Batista Conde Monteiro
Synopsis Throughout this master degree paper it is intended to stimulate, thru the signatory’s education and professional experience, a brief reflection on the nature and eligibility conditions of an anonymous report as an “embryo” for criminal procedure. The major aim is to approach the normative framework and judicial practice related to this matter, taking into account its lack of trustworthiness and the dangers of manipulation, as well as the consequences to those aimed in the criminal prosecution, by contrast to its contribution to achieve the purpose of criminal procedure itself. According to the amendment made by Law n. 48/2007 (August 29th) it has been established in n.1 of the 86th article (Portuguese Criminal Procedure Code), the rule of publicity in the lawsuit, being also amended the 246th article, related to the report, introducing the 5th article (currently n. 6, after Law n. 130/15 September 4th) where it is clear that filing a lawsuit as an anonymous plaintiff can only take place if the report made contains strong evidence of a crime or the report is a crime itself. It is postulated, however, the defense of a praxis and a strictest normative formulation regarding this subject, in particular in a lawsuit that is, in general, a matter of public record in its preliminary stage, letting it clear that such evidence will have to be objective and specific and not merely generalizations or suspicions, lacking a sustainable basis. If a person might be able, in certain circumstances, to file a lawsuit as an anonymous plaintiff, that person has also to be aware that proceeding anonymously holds certain responsibility such as the increased need to be carefully specific and sustain his founded suspicions in order to ensure that the report made will not unduly prejudice the defendant or that anonymous reports may be used abusively. In any case, it could never imply, as a rule, the recognition of any probative value in an anonymous document, except when it is the object or element of the crime itself (as established in n. 2 of the 164th article of the Portuguese Criminal Procedure Code), and so, the anonymous report may only serve as a way to obtain information that a crime occurred.
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