The mayor of Torres Vedras, Carlos Bernardes (PS), was constituted accused and must be tried to have plagued parts of his doctoral thesis. The decision was published on Friday on the website of the District Attorney of the District of Lisbon, which does not reveal the name of the accused.
Carlos Bernardes was accused of a forgery process, defined in the Copyright and Related Rights Code, as a crime committed by those who use "work, performance of an artist, phonogram, videogram or transmission that is only a total or partial reproduction work or other service, disclosed or not disclosed. "
Between September 1, 2014 (with the beginning of the new judicial system) and on December 31, 2018, "the Public Prosecutor's Office deduced 201 charges" for the crime of forgery, the Attorney General's Office indicates in response to the PUBLIC. These accusations are not limited to academic plagiarism: they also cover other situations of plagiarism.
In the case of the mayor, he was "sufficiently accused that the defendant, in September 2015, in order to obtain the doctoral degree, presented a doctoral thesis at a university in Lisbon, making public defense before the respective jury" . where it was approved, "reads the note from the office of the District Attorney General in Lisbon.
However, the court found evidence that the thesis was created from "previously published or published texts and other authors," and the mayor only introduced "minor modifications" in which others wrote: modifications to the new spelling agreement, introduction of synonyms , "substitution of verbs, change of word order and deletions of parts of the original texts". All this was defended before the jury of the Institute of Geography and Land Use Planning (IGOT) of the University of Lisbon as "as if they were themselves [do arguido] and of its exclusive farming ".
Contacted by PUBLIC, the lawyer of Carlos Bernardes reported that the mayor and his legal team only reacted to the administrative decision of the rectory of the university: "There is an ongoing process in the administrative court that aims to annul the decision of the university."
"Nothing in this process should involve the autarkic mandate," adds the lawyer, which is equivalent to requesting the opening of the investigation of the case, a stage prior to the trial at the end of which it is decided if the case is judged. The same lawyer, Fernando Pratas, suspects that they were political opponents of the mayor to start the process.
Also contacted by PUBLIC, Carlos Bernardes sends all the answers to his lawyer and does not write any further comments.
Since 2017 this doctoral thesis has been being investigated by the Public Ministry. The alert was launched in an opinion article published in the local newspaper Badaladas, on January 20 of that year, signed by former Councilor Jorge Ralha (also socialist).
At that time, in declarations to the PUBLIC, Carlos Bernardes admitted failures in the appointment of some authors but denied that it was a plagiarism. "The academic work developed by me gave rise to a set of investigations on the subject studied and was corrected throughout its realization," he said in 2017.
Shortly after the opening of the investigation, director IGOT, Lucinda Fonseca, confirmed to Lusa that "serious errors have been detected in the form of citing some sources." "Although we believe that identified parts of the dissertation, which apparently reproduce unlisted or incorrectly cited texts, do not represent a significant part of the thesis, or fundamentally, we believe that there is evidence that can justify the opening of an investigation," explained the director of IGOT.
Carlos Bernardes is, since 2015, a doctor in Tourism, after defending the thesis entitled The lines of Torres Vedras: a strategic tourist destination for Portugal. Since 2003 he has held positions in the City Council of Torres Vedras: first as a councilor and later as vice president between 2005 and 2015. Since December 2015 he has been the mayor of Torres Vedras.