Thirty seven of the 40 defendants in the Hells Angels case were released on 11 November as they had reached the maximum period of pre-trial detention (one year and four months).
According to Lusa and defense attorneys, 33 of the 36 defendants who were in custody were released, as well as four defendants who were under house arrest.
As the preliminary decision (whether or not to bring the defendants to trial) will not be given until 18 November, these 40 defendants had to be released as they reached the maximum period of pre-trial detention.
Initially, the Public Prosecution Service (MP) charged 89 defendants, but five were separated from the main proceedings (which left 84 defendants), which led to two other cases, distributed to the Lisbon Criminal Court: one with a defendant, who was arrested in Germany and last week arrived in Portugal and was able to walk free; and another who was left with four defendants, who were already at liberty.
In a TCIC order to which the Lusa agency previously had access, the criminal investigating judge, Conceição Moreno, assumed the “competence” to carry out the instructive phase and admitted the opening requests of the 71 defendants who presented them.
Twenty-three of the defendants will be questioned during the investigation phase, but Conceição Moreno has not scheduled the sessions yet, explaining that “a date will be set in due course” for these interrogations.
The order signed by Conceição Moreno reveals that these records began on 24 January, 2017 in the Judiciary Police, which sent them to the Central Department of Investigation and Penal Action (DCIAP) on 2 February of that year.
On that day, the case was referred to the Attorney General’s Office, which assigned DCIAP investigative jurisdiction, which led to its referral to this department on 16 February, 2017, and was distributed the following day.
The prosecution’s prosecution was handed down on 10 July, 2019 and the case was distributed to the TCIC on 10 October, after the Lisbon and Loures Criminal Investigation Tribunal were declared “territorially incompetent” for the completion of the instructional phase.
The prosecution claims that the 89 defendants of the Hells Angels group devised a plan to annihilate a rival motorcycle gang through physical force and using various weapons to cause them serious injuries, “if necessary to death,” including Mário Machado. (leader of the far-right New Social Order movement), who was accepted as an assistant in the process.
The defendants were charged by the MP with criminal association, attempted qualified homicide aggravated by weapon use, offense to physical integrity, extortion, theft, drug trafficking and the possession of weapons and ammunition among other crimes.The prosecution, to which Lusa had access, reports that the defendants went in March 2018 to the Mesa do Prior restaurant (Prior Velho, Loures municipality, Lisbon district) “armed with knives, axes, sticks and other piercing objects” to try to seriously injure or even kill six other members of the rival group Red & Gold, which belongs to the Los Bandidos structure.
The defendants, it is said, entered the restaurant with iron and wooden hammers, tubes and bars / rods, iron chains, axes, brass knuckles, extendable sticks and knives, with the intention of eliminating or severely injuring various elements of the ‘Red & Gold’ gang.
DCIAP prosecutors concluded that the actions of those involved in the process “followed operational planning through recruiting members and supporters, obtaining weapons, camouflage clothing, means of transport, defining concentration points and tasks during the attack as well as escape planning. ”