Fury in Portugal after two male nightclub workers avoid jail for sex assault on passed out woman

David Harding
General view of Porto and the river Douro

Women’s rights groups in Portugal have reacted angrily to a suspended sentence handed to two men who sexually assaulted a woman after she passed out drunk at a nightclub.

The Women’s Alternative and Response Union said in a Facebook post it was ‘revolting’ that an appeals court rejected the public prosecutor’s request for a prison term.

Two judges, a man and woman, at the appeals court ruled that the two nightclub workers, who were 25 and 39 at the time of the attack, were only ‘half to blame’ for the assault on the 26-year-old woman after a night of heavy drinking and ‘mutual seduction’.

The ruling said no violence was used against the woman who was unconscious in the night club’s toilets.


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The woman filed a complaint with the police, saying she had not given her consent for sexual intercourse.

The assault happened in Vila Nova de Gaia, in northern Portugal, in 2016.

A lower court in February handed down a suspended sentence of four and a half years for both men.

An appeals court issued its ruling in June and was first reported by newspaper Diario de Noticias on Friday.

The ruling was placed online.

The assault happened at a nightclub in northern Portugal two years ago. (PA)

The two men admitted having sex with the woman, but denied she was unconscious.

However, the prosecutor produced text messages between the men in which they acknowledged she had blacked out.

In upholding the suspended sentence, the appeals court argued the men had no previous convictions and were in stable relationships, with both being fathers.

It added that the physical harm to the woman was ‘not particularly serious’.