The Judicial Council, which oversees the management and discipline of judges, public prosecutors and judicial support staff, on Monday accused the president of the Macau Lawyers Association (AAM), Jorge Neto Valente, of harming the image of the Court of Final Appeal (TUI), its president Sam Hou Fai and all the personnel of the Judiciary.
The council said in a strongly-worded statement that Neto Valente’s recent remarks that accused Sam of having violated the Statutes of Judges and Public Prosecutors in his speech at last month’s ceremony that marked the opening of the 2020-2021 judicial year were “deliberately misconstrued” by “untruthfully interpreting and wrongly defining” the contents of Sam’s speech.
In an interview with public broadcaster Rádio Macau/TDM last week, Neto Valente claimed that Sam had breached the statutes when he commented in his speech on an ongoing judicial process concerning the unregistered expropriation of a plot of land.
The council’s statement insisted that Sam’s speech did not include any comments on the process in the Court of Second Instance (TSI) but merely mentioned that the government has filed an appeal.
In his Rádio Macau interview, Neto Valente also accused Sam of being responsible for the lack of evolution of Macao’s judicial system. He also said that it was time for a change at the helm of Macao’s top court.
Sam has headed the Court of Final Appeal since the establishment of the Macao Special Administrative Region (MSAR) on 20 December 1999. His current three-year term expires next month. A senior official told the Macau Post Daily last night that Sam’s term was expected to be renewed once more “because he’s the right man in the right post.”
Neto Valente, a former lawmaker, has practised law in Macao for some four decades.
In his speech last month, Sam also called for a “reflection” on Macao’s Portuguese-style legal system.