The Portuguese legal representative of imprisoned British lawyer Professor David Lowry believes the odds are against him being released, despite widespread protest over his arrest.
Lowry's fraud trial, described by UK lawyers as “a very serious potential miscarriage of justice”, ended in Lisbon's Boa Hora court last week with addresses by the prosecution, defence lawyer Dr Nuno Matos and Lowry himself.
But when asked about Lowry's chance of release, Matos replied there was “not much”. “Once you go to trial and your client's spent almost two years in preventive detention, does the judge have the courage to set him free, suggesting the state has made a big mistake? No, I think she [the judge] is going to convict.”
The judgment is due on 5 March, two years after Lowry's arrest.
“He's been fine so far because he's been fighting. Now he just has to wait. Now I think he might depress himself a little bit,” Matos tells The Lawyer from Lisbon.
Supporter Gudrun Parasie, of European Legal Advice, says the delay is a bad sign. “If they're going to acquit him, why leave him in prison for a couple of months?” she says.
Lowry, held without charge and bail for a year, is accused of fraud after setting up telemarketing company Paramount Portugal Consulting, which sold shares in three US corporations: DW Filters, Global Connect Direct and Premier Petroleum.
Matos says: “We accept those facts. The big difference between the prosecution and defence is the way you assemble those facts. They conclude that David Lowry defrauded people because he knew from the very beginning that he was selling shares in corporations that were worth zero.”
Professor William Twining, of University College – an evidence expert and colleague of Lowry's – who has studied the case says: “From the outset, the investigation appears to have been dilatory, amateurish, inefficient, radically incomplete, secret and unfair.”