The Guimarães Court today sentenced four organizers of a rally held in September 2014 in that municipality to suspended sentences that resulted in the death of three spectators, hit by a car that lost its way.
The defendants were convicted of three crimes of negligent homicide.
The heaviest penalty, of 26 months in prison, was for the race director, the president of Motor Clube de Guimarães, an organization that organized the rally together with the Portuguese Federation of Automobilism and Karting.
Another three organizers were sentenced to 22 months in prison.
All sentences are suspended in their execution.
Another member of the management of the Motor Clube de Guimarães and the mechanic of the vehicle that was lost were also accused in the process, but were acquitted.
The accident occurred on September 7, 2014, at the Rally Sprint de Guimarães, when a car lost its way and killed a 48-year-old woman, her 8-year-old son and a 13-year-old teenager.
In the accusation, the Public Ministry (MP) says that the rally was carried out “in flagrant violation of the rules that govern the safety” of this type of races.
It also says that the accident was induced by the changes made to the car that was lost, namely the widening of the bodywork.
According to the MP, spacers were mounted on the rear rims, the wheels were further away from the suspension, the pressure quadrupled, four screws burst and the test happened.
In court, the directors of Motor Clube de Guimarães refused any responsibility for the death of the three spectators, claiming that public safety was a competence of the police authorities.
“The rally was approved and licensed by all entities, and it was clear that the safety of the spectators was in charge of the police authorities,” said the president of Motor Clube de Guimarães (MCG).
According to Eduardo Crespo, who was also the director of the event, it was those authorities who decided the number of agents needed and the places where each one would be placed.
He also said that the victims will have passed through an area where a GNR agent would be to access the place where they were killed.
The version was corroborated by the then vice president of MCG, João Júlio, who assured that the directors of the club “did not have any decision-making power” on public safety, because the police authorities “never gave them any chance”.
“They said they either took the test as they wanted or there was no test at all,” he said.
In turn, the mechanic also refuted any responsibility, stating that he had no intervention in the changes to the car and ensuring that he limited himself to doing a kind of review, before the race, because he was a friend of the driver who owned the car.