Former Flamengo player and councilor, Whelliton Augusto Silva (PL), together with his wife, former parliamentarian Janaína Ballaris Silva, were ordered by the courts to compensate a lawyer for offenses made on social media. The Judiciary determined the compensation value at R$20,000. The politicians’ defense states that they will appeal the decision.
The lawyer who filed the case against the political couple represented a woman who denounced them for rape and abuse of authority in 2022. The sexual crime complaint was archived by the Court. However, according to the complainant’s defense professional, she also ended up becoming the target of a defamatory campaign on social media and in public statements.
She points out that Whelliton and Janaína, in retaliation for their actions on behalf of the complainant, would have carried out a series of attacks, compromising not only her professional reputation, but also her personal integrity. For the lawyer, the declared purpose would be to demoralize her in front of current and potential clients, with the aim of damaging her career.
In documents registered in the action, Janaína would have said in a message: “I’m going to give up my campaign just to take care of this very closely, because I’m going to put so many lawsuits on her that she won’t have a minute of peace. And the lawyer who files any action I will prove that it is litigation in bad faith. I want to prove who is behind it (sic)”.
Furthermore, in another section, she would have written that she wants to “end her life”, implying that she is the lawyer, according to the Court, and whoever is with her. “With professional life you understand (sic)”. There is no detail in the process regarding the date the messages were sent.
Through provisional protection, the lawyer demanded the immediate removal of the posts made by the couple between May 8 and 12, 2023 on social media, in addition to asking for a joint conviction of the couple — with payment of compensation for moral damages in the amount of R$60 thousand.
In the process, Janaína contested in advance, before the official approval of the initial petition, alleging that she and her husband were targets of unfounded accusations in judicial and administrative proceedings filed by the woman who reported them for abuse, represented by the lawyer. She argues that all these processes were considered unfounded or rejected, demonstrating her innocence.
Janaína also stated that her statements were only aimed at defending her honor, not justifying any obligation to compensate for moral damages. And she alleged an alleged plot against her and her husband, suggesting political-financial motives.
Whelliton added that, as he was a councilor, the publications in which he mentioned the lawyer and her client occurred within the context of a political discussion. He argues that, due to this political nature, the requests made cannot be evaluated by the Judiciary.
What the judge decided
In the decision, handed down on the 20th, judge Sérgio Castresi, from the 3rd Civil Court of the Praia Grande Forum, emphasized the distinction between the role of the lawyer and that of the represented client, highlighting that the attacks directed by the defendants against the lawyer were unjustified.
“Better luck doesn’t help the defendant Whelliton, who in his statement before the Praia Grande Chamber, states that the plaintiff “just got her OAB license”, trying to disqualify her professionally, albeit in a subtle way, by making an accusation, not proven, that she, the lawyer, would provide “cost assistance” to her client, in a kind of plot, with the specific objective of attacking the defendant couple and obtaining an obscure advantage. As the Law does not live on speculations, but rather of evidence, which is why the defendant Whelliton should have proven through documents, even if indirect, the financial assistance and its value, which he claims the author provided in favor of his client, as well as the spurious purpose of this assistance. But he didn’t! Alleging and not proving is the same as not alleging anything”, said the magistrate.
In view of the evidence presented against the former councilor, the judge concluded that “such words denote the clear intention of harming and discouraging any lawyer, not just the author, who might eventually sponsor the interests of the woman who denounced them in court and also demonstrate the defendant Janaína’s deliberate intention to abuse her right of action to harm third parties”.
The decision points out that the accusations and threats made by the couple, both in messages and in public statements, were excessive and constituted an abuse of the right to action. The judge also highlighted that freedom of expression cannot be used as an excuse to harm another person’s honor and morals.
Furthermore, the judge highlights that the parliamentary immunity invoked by Whelliton does not cover excessive demonstrations and insults, and is not a justification for the attacks on the lawyer. Therefore, the judge concludes that the two committed an illegal act that results in the obligation to compensate for moral damage. The fixed value was R$20 thousand.
What the defense says
The lawyer representing the politicians told the Earth that they only exercised their right to defense and that the defense will appeal the decision. Check out the positioning in full:
“We do not agree with the decision that upheld the lawyer’s requests, as we understand that there was no illicit or abusive conduct on the part of our clients, who only exercised their right to defense and freedom of expression, in the face of the unfounded and slanderous accusations that were attributed to them by the author and her client in several legal proceedings.
We believe that the court decision incorrectly weighed rights, by relying almost exclusively on the lawyer’s professional immunity, as if it were an absolute right, but ignoring, on the other hand, that our clients also have immunities and rights that were violated by the author.
We will, therefore, appeal the decision, seeking to reform the sentence and dismiss the author’s requests, as we trust in justice and the truth of the facts. We will not be intimidated by the attempts at censorship that the author has been promoting against our clients, who are public and respected people in society. Mrs. Janaína Ballaris did nothing other than publicly defend herself against attacks on her honor, using social media as a means of communicating with her followers and voters. Mr. Whelliton Silva, in turn, gave a speech at the City Council, before his peers, citing the testimony of Mrs. [que os denunciou por estupro], which revealed the author lawyer’s apparent interest in the outcome of the actions she sponsors, an act that is protected by her parliamentary immunity, as well as the solemnity of the session. These conducts do not constitute an offense to the author’s honor or image, but rather a legitimate exercise of freedom of expression and our clients’ right to reply.”
Rape complaint filed
In June 2022, Whelliton was accused of rape. The alleged victim filed a police report against him at the Praia Grande Women’s Police Station. The councilman’s wife, Janaína, was also involved.
As reported by Terra at the time, the councilor was accused of giving the young woman alcoholic drinks at a party and taking her to his apartment. The complainant, who claims to have borderline personality disorder – characterized by generating unstable mood, impulsive behavior and unstable relationships – highlighted that the legislator knew that she could not drink alcohol due to the medications she was taking. The crime of rape would have taken place in Whelliton’s apartment on the night in question.
The complainant also stated that the politician promised her a job as a parliamentary advisor with a payment scheme that would constitute a ‘crack’. This is because the remuneration that the councilor would have promised would be R$2,400, while the salary for the position at the Praia Grande Chamber is around R$12,000. The difference, according to the woman, would be returned to Whelliton.
In the complaint, the alleged victim says that the situation with the councilor triggered suicidal thoughts and led her to be urgently hospitalized. The case was closed by the Court.
Source: Redação Terra