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Microsoft The Courts

Child Abuse Verdict Held Back By MS Word Glitch 191

An anonymous reader writes "Last week several defendants including one high-profile TV presenter were sentenced in Portugal in what has been known as the Casa Pia scandal. The judges delivered on September 3 a summary of the 2000-page verdict, which would be disclosed in full only three days later. The disclosure of the full verdict has been postponed from September 8 to a yet-to-be-announced date, allegedly because the full document was written in several MS Word files which, when merged together, retained 'computer related annotations which should not be present in any legal document.' (Google translated article.) Microsoft specialists were called in to help the judges sort out the 'text formatting glitch,' while the defendants and their lawyers eagerly wait to access the full text of the verdict."
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Child Abuse Verdict Held Back By MS Word Glitch

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  • Word Processors suck (Score:1, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday September 12, 2010 @05:35AM (#33551434)

    Why use a word processor, even Open Office or whatever, for ANYTHING? Text is much more reliable in plain text form. Formatting can be added in much better ways, independent of the content. Especially in legal cases, why thrust your textual data to such fragile, unreliable, locked in systems??

  • by Gnavpot ( 708731 ) on Sunday September 12, 2010 @05:35AM (#33551436)

    I think the important question here is not whether Word or OpenOffice was used.

    The important question is:
    Will this affect the deadline for appeal?

    Not having adequate time to read the full verdict before deciding whether to appeal or not would in my eyes be a serious justice problem.

  • Microsoft WORD? (Score:4, Interesting)

    by JambisJubilee ( 784493 ) on Sunday September 12, 2010 @05:47AM (#33551484)
    I was surprised when I heard this was related to Microsoft Word. Don't most lawyers use Wordperfect?
  • Re:Insane!!! (Score:2, Interesting)

    by miknix ( 1047580 ) on Sunday September 12, 2010 @06:58AM (#33551694) Homepage

    I'm Portuguese and I'm really surprised they are using Microsoft tools (Word I guess) for this. The thing gets even more stupid when we think the trial is running since 2004 and when the entire country was expecting the final ruling, the process lagged a while more because of what it seems a Microsoft related glitch. More, (from another TFA []) - they had to call some Microsoft "specialists" hired by the ministry of justice to help with the problem.

    They should all be put in fetal position and slapped, then learn LaTeX or any other serious typesetting software.

  • Just a Guess (Score:3, Interesting)

    by lyinhart ( 1352173 ) on Sunday September 12, 2010 @07:14AM (#33551726)
    Somebody probably sent one or more of the documents using the "Send to Mail Recipient for Review" feature. The feature seems to at least sometimes (perhaps depending on your e-mail client) set a custom property on the word file that makes annotations made by the Track Changes featire virtually impossible to delete. Thus exporting to PDF or something would have kept the printed annotations. So you'd have to turn off Track Changes and delete the Property manual.
  • Why so long? (Score:1, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday September 12, 2010 @11:17AM (#33552778)

    The real story here is why is a verdict 2000 pages long? Wouldn't a single page or two suffice?

  • by ILuvRamen ( 1026668 ) on Sunday September 12, 2010 @11:43AM (#33552984)
    They must be merging from multiple non-word documents or I don't see why this would work. I made a 500 page word doc one time in verison 2001 and all it did was tell me it was over the limit for spelling and grammar checking and would suspend the checking from there on. Also, scrolling sometimes stuck it at rendering the same page over and over. Other than that, it did actually function. What I'm thinking is they're trying to paste some HTML content or something and forgot to select the "keep text only" option after pasting it in.
    Btw, they're burying the lead here. Why the hell does it need to be 2000 pages?!?! What could it possibly say?!?! How about just adding a reference to those other documents they're pasting in instead of adding them in their entirety.
  • Re:Insane!!! (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday September 12, 2010 @11:56AM (#33553082)

    I'm Portuguese too and I am not surprised at all. A couple of years ago, I was accused of an IT related crime. When I went to be heard by the judge, the first thing she tells me is: "I know nothing of computers, for me they are just typewriters".

    Then, under a pile of nerves, I had to explain to her what a server is, the meaning of uploading and downloading files, the difference between a website and a file hosted in a server, among several other basic stuff, dead worried that she would understand something wrong and recommend some jail time for me... Luckily, the charges were dropped later on.

    Judges learning LaTeX? Not gonna happen any time soon, I'm afraid...

Air is water with holes in it.