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Blind Justice: Maddie Case Review is "A mendacity for the sake of the English"

Original Source: RTP: 12 MARCH 2012

Translated by Joana Morais


Justica Cega [Blind Justice] is a current events debate television program, hosted by Alberta Marques Fernandes with High Court judge Dr. Rui Rangel, Criminologist Dr. Francisco Moita Flores and the ever ranting, populist demagogue head of the Portuguese Lawyers Order Dr. Antonio Marinho e Pinto. The latter is also a witness for the McCann couple in the forthcoming libel action against the first coordinator of the investigation to Maddie's disappearance, Dr. Goncalo Amaral, where the couple is seeking 1,2 million euros for alleged damages. The program is divided in three segments and is broadcast live showing twitter [hash tag #justicacega] comments from the public. On the 12th of March the second segment was dedicated to the recent news regarding the cooperation of a special Judiciary Police unit from Oporto with Cameron's appointed Scotland Yard review of the Maddie Case and the alleged "reopening" of the process by the Portuguese Public Ministry. Transcript and translation of that segment from 31:28 to 45:25 follows, with added screenshots of the twitter comments.





Alberta Marques Fernandes [AMF]: A good time to move on to the next issue, the Maddie case, which is being re-evaluated by the Judiciary Police[PJ] from Oporto and by the Scotland Yard. The investigation team was created several months ago but so far nothing new was detected that could help the discovery of Madeleine McCann whereabouts. If the situation continues as such the case will not be re-opened. The PJ's re-evaluation was requested by the English police, almost four years since the Public Ministry decided to archive the process. Marinho Pinto, can we expect something to come out of this?

Antonio Marinho e Pinto [AMP]: No, I believe this is a decision to please the English.

AMF: A mendacity for the sake of the English1?

AMP: A mendacity for the sake of the English, just to please the English. The process is reopened when there are new elements, it's not opened for the sake of a reappreciation by others of those who archived or did the first investigation. Unless there are new data or data ex novo2 that has emerged meanwhile in the sense of putting in doubt that investigation, the previous investigation. I am highly critical of the options taken by the Judiciary Police officers, namely of Dr. Goncalo Amaral [seems oblivious to Paulo Rebelo's coordination of the "second part" of the investigation that lead to the archival]. I believe that it is absurd to attribute... first of all to conclude that the child died, secondly to attribute to the parents that death. I believe that an English couple that is holidaying in the Algarve did not come here to murder their daughter. And if she indeed died, due to an accidental death, the first thing they would do, obviously, wouldn't be hiding the cadaver, it would be to try to save her, to take her to an hospital. A couple that sees their daughter in that situation, in that situation...

AMF: Moita Flores is looking a slightly annoyed.

Francisco Moita Flores [FMF]: Because what he says...

AMP: Moita Flores has a tendency 3 to corporatism.

FMF: No, not all. If they were Portuguese parents, just like a case that happened last week...

AMP: Are the English parents any different?

FMF: No, it is you who is making that distinction.

Rui Rangel [RR]: The manner in which you're placing that problem makes that distinction. As if because they are an English couple that wouldn't be feasible.

AMP: How?

FMF: The way in which you are formulating the problem is making a distinction.

AMP: No, no... English or French... They come to Portugal to spent their holidays....

RR: But that is not the issue.

AMP: What I was trying to say...

RR: What you said wasn't clear.

AMP: All right then, they're in Portugal spending their holidays...

FMF: In fact, that possibility of parents coming to Portugal to murder their child was never placed.

AMP: Was never placed. They either came in here to murder her during their holidays....

AMF: But the accidental death hypothesis was placed.

AMP: Of an accident, and the first thing before an accident is to hide the cadaver?! For God's sake they don't even know if the child is dead or not. The first thing when a parent sees an accident, is to take her to an hospital...

FMF: His argumentation made some furore at the time. [speaking to the rest of the panel]

AMP: Hu?

FMF: Your argumentation made some furore at the time.

AMP: No, no, no. This argumentation is a common sense thing.

AMF: Why did it made furore?

AMP: Wait. [speaking to AMF] Allow me to conclude what I have to say about this issue. So, it's an absurd. To attribute... in a previous case, also in the Algarve, with Joana [Cipriano] and her mother, because the mother is in jail... and that worked there because it was a person who didn't have a true defense4...

FMF: Because she was Portuguese. [sarcastic reply]

AMP:...has the Maddie had [not sure if he means Maddie or media], it was a person who belonged to a low social stratum...

AMF: However it was proven that she did indeed murder her own child.

AMP: No, it wasn't proven. She confessed under torture that she had murdered her child. But she never confessed where she hid the body, the cadaver was never found. The only thing they had was her confession. [Again look at Note 4 which clearly contradicts this statement] No one can say that lady is innocent or guilty, nor I can say that.

RR: He already said it.

AMP: What I can affirm is that in the process there isn't enough evidence to put her in jail. And in Portugal...

AMF: There are circumstantial evidence...

AMP: Precisely....

AMF: Last week we were talking about that here, in the non-existence of a cadaver, where convictions can still be achieved.

AMP: Corpus delicti [body of crime]...

RR: It's not a decisive factor, obviously.

AMP: If there was presumption of innocence5 she wouldn't be in jail, regardless of being or not guilty of that fact. With those [McCann couple] they've tried the same thing, but it didn't work. It's, it's...This comes from a judicial culture, that is not exclusive to police but also of magistrates, of a headlong rush forward before the impossibility of finding a guilty person of crimes that are highly mediatic. They have to find someone guilty. [Inner note: If that was the case they would have gone for Robert Murat aka the "scape-goat"] They have to find someone. And that sometimes causes the worst injustices.

RR: But that is the denial of what you're saying. In the Maddie case they never found anyone.

AMP: They've tried to find someone, they tried to find the parents...

FMF: It wasn't like that, that's not true at all. Here the situation was quite different.

AMP:...of the child.

FMF: Marinho, it wasn't like that. I accompanied this case from the first minute.

AMF: What happened then?

FMF: What took place here was something very different. It was an investigation that started started off badly, and it started off badly with an immediate and huge media apparatus. Where it was dictated, imposed externally and internally, that there was only one solution for this case - that someone had abducted the child and then disappeared to the ends of the earth. Thus...

AMF: It started off badly because of that?

FMF: Yes, it did. The criminal investigation before a crime does not have the prejudices of Dr. Marinho. It cannot have any kind of prejudices.

AMF: All hypotheses are in the open.

FMF: Before a crime...

AMP: [interrupts] But there isn't any prejudice, Moita Flores, I'm talking about several years on from the events...

FMF: Excuse me, before a crime and the execution of that crime, regardless if they are English, French or Portuguese, independently of whoever they are, all hypotheses must be taken into account...

AMP: [interrupts again] But how do you know it's a crime? It could have been an accident, the child could have fallen in a hole...

FMF: I'm sorry, but the child was asleep in her bed.

AMP: So?! She could have woken up and wondered out....

FMF: The parents were checking her, the friends went there to check on her, various persons went there to check on her. The girl and her siblings[twins] were asleep. They were in the bedroom sleeping. There was a crime. But what crime? We don't know. It could have been an abduction, it could have been homicide, it could have been an accident, even an accident.

AMP: But if it was an accident then it wasn't a crime.

FMF: It could also be true. But every hypothesis must be...

AMF: If it was an accident, there was also the hypothesis of a crime of concealment of the cadaver.

FMF: Alberta, there is a problem here that is pivotal to address. From the first minute, everything was limited so no other hypothesis besides the abduction could be investigated. An abduction made by a fantastic abductor, that no one could describe, of which there are not traces at all, there are no evidence of an abductor that allow to say this man or someone abducted [the girl].

AMF: Has that prevented the gathering of important evidence in the first hours?

FMF: That, in the first few hours, allowed for that place to become the biggest media circus in the world and for that place to be atypical regarding what is expected in a crime scene, as we know. Isolated, centred on the criminal investigation, searching for vestiges, searching for evidence, with conversations - I wouldn't say questionings - but interviews to all those who had access to that house, and methodical interviews without fear, without previous restrictions, without police being called [reprimanded], without that huge spectacle that transformed that case in the case of a definite abduction! Listen, I don't know if the girl...

AMF: Who was the responsible for that situation?

FMF: All those who intervened there. Starting with the director of the Judiciary Police of Faro [Guilhermino da Encarnacao], or of the sub-director, by the man who sent orders to the site stating that certain people could not be talked with nor bothered.

AMF: What orders were those?

FMF: Orders to shield interests, because the "English parents are on holidays"!

AMF: The parents couldn't be talked with?!

FMF: "The friends are on holidays", on holidays! It's "unthinkable". A crime against a child is indeed something unthinkable, it's so abnormal that anything normal or not must be questioned. Specifically, that must be questioned at the site where this mystery is confined. The mystery is there, enclosed.

AMF: Was there a loss of important testimonials during those first hours?

FMF: Yes, important vestiges were lost, everything was lost due to the media, because what mattered was to transform that crime in a large scale English newscast [SkyNews, BBC, were doing 24 hours coverage and live broadcasts since the very night of Madeleine's disappearance, allegedly called by Tapas 9 members or by their families], and then the TV channels...

AMP: Moita Flores, the Judiciary Police wasn't working for the English news channels.

FMF: No, of course not. The Judiciary Police arrived on site 50 minutes later [GNR officers were already there], during those fifty minutes a situation unfolded and was inducted, where a panoply of alarms surrounding this issue were raised. And when the Judiciary Police arrived dozens of people had already been there [at the crime scene].

AMP: The Judiciary Police is not prepared to deal with that kind of reality [the media circus].

FMF: I'm not excusing the Judiciary Police. What I'm saying is, before a mystery, it's not possible to work in such conditions. I have heard the defence lawyer of the family [Rogerio Alves] exorcize those possibilities. Nonetheless, the truth is: the mind of an investigator needs to have an absolute freedom, and has to be a man with an absolute freedom in order to place all the hypotheses, from the more reasonable ones to the most obscene ones. You, our judge and here our dear head of the bar, would never have thought - it never crossed your minds, our minds - that there was a man in Beja6 that would murder his granddaughter, that would murder his daughter, murder his wife, and then would have lunch and dinner with their cadavers hidden inside the bedroom, covering up the crime from the public and from the authorities. This would never have crossed our minds, because reality often surpasses fiction. And this is something that takes place quite a lot in the life of crime, very often. So, prejudices, defences and prior preparations of defence, previous interdictions, all that just hampers the discovery of the truth.


AMP: [interrupts again] Moita Flores, you're constructing a worst scenario, from what...

AMF: [in simultaneous with AMP] But now it's Rui Rangel's turn to speak.

FMF: No, it was exactly like that. If there is something that I carry with me from my times at the Judiciary Police is a profound memory of having an absolute freedom, the utmost freedom to place all hypotheses...

AMF: And you, Rui Rangel, do you agree?

FMF: And then we have to demonstrate it with a proof of causation and evidence.

RR: I agree partially with what Moita Flores said.

FMF: Allow me to conclude, what Marinho e Pinto said, regarding the reopening of the process is also true... We seem to be involved in a situation...

AMF: Moita Flores, my apologies. I would like to read this twitter message from one of our viewers: “Wasn't the PJ excessively pressured by the Scotland Yard, and didn't that hampered the investigation?”

FMF: No, I don't think so, in fact I believe they had a good cooperation. But now to reopen the process it's not the same at all.

RR: I agree, it's not the same.

FMF: There isn't any reopening of the process, because new evidence needs to be presented for that to happen.

RR: Allow me to just add something to that thought.

FMF: Please, do. It's your birthday as well [Rui Rangel's birthday was on the day of this broadcast].

RR: It is true that the Judiciary Police wasn't prepared for that kind of situation. It is also true that due to the ineptitude and inability of the Judiciary Police regarding the media, I'm recalling that notorious press conference [with Olegário de Sousa/
May 7, 2007] given at the headquarters of the Judiciary Police initially that was a complete and regrettable media circus, something that was allowed by the Judiciary Police directorate of that area [PJ doesn't do press conferences unlike UK police] - the excessive mediatization ended up hindering the investigation as well. Having said that, it should also be said that the English police have plenty of cases, in their history, of exactly the same type of crimes that were never solved, various failures...

FMF: Much more failures in solving cases than Portugal, we have two or three cases that were never solved.

RR: The Judiciary Police is not inferior to the English police.

AMP: [attempts another interruption with a seemingly ironic remark] Starting with Jack the Ripper, they never found who committed those murders.

RR: Now, I don't know if the Judiciary Police liaison with the English police was the best, I don't know if they were pressures or not - the fact is, there is something that has failed in the investigation...

AMF: Let me place you another question.

RR: Allow me to conclude this thought, Alberta. Something failed in the investigation, something failed in the justice, there is a child who disappears and is never seen again, and obviously...

FMF: There were preconceptions.

RR: ...under a juridical point of view, there is a fundamental issue, that I'll explain - technically, the re-opening of a process, that was subject to an archival by the Public Ministry, can only take place if new evidence is provided.

AMF: We're not talking about the re-opening of the process then?

RR: No, this is just a look at the case. What I've heard, and this was stated by the Judiciary Police Directorate from Oporto is that this is a “fresh look”, a more distant look that the Judiciary Police from Faro could have....

AMF: Does a “fresh look” lead to something?

RR: Evidently, a “fresh look” leads to nowhere. We must use rigorous juridical concepts, either there are new evidence that enables to counter the reasoning that has lead to the Public Ministry's decision to archive the process or not. If new evidence is provided, obviously, then the process can be re-opened. Now, this aspect, this particular sensitivity [referring to Moita Flores exposition] of the police clearly cannot be criticized because there is a case that continues to cast a shadow on the justice, on the Portuguese justice - and that is Maddie's disappearance, of that child. Obviously, every attempt, every step...

FMF: Every step taken is a good thing.

RR: ...that is carried out with the objective of finding the truth, of giving better explanations to what has happened it's a good measure - this is a case that was poorly explained here in Portugal. If you ask the Portuguese people...

AMF: Each one has its own theory.

RR: Precisely, the case is poorly explained. If this [the reassessment] helps the clarification of certain matters, even if it doesn't reach as far as the realm of the truth, but if it does indeed help to explain, and if it allows for a technical reopening of the process - evidently, the reopening of the process in a case with this significant dimension, that has crossed the world - it's to be applauded.

FMF: Allow me to wrap up this reasoning with a bang - there is something that would have happened if it was done by Portuguese couples, they would have been accused of child abandonment.

AMP: No, no, there aren't the typical elements.

FMF: Abandonment of minors, toddlers with months, very young children, they were abandoned.

AMP: No, no, no.

RR: Let's clarify this, if the parents go to a party and if the child is left alone, at home, with her siblings that may very well fulfil the requirements typified in the crime of child abandonment.

FMF: In a foreign country, in a foreign land, leaving children alone, that is a crime.

AMP: No, no.

RR: Yes, it can.

AMP: [looks like a giant toad about to burst]

RR: Our head of the bar is very British today.

AMF: Much was discussed about this case at the time, and we are renewing those arguments. Let's move on to the next segment.

transcript concluded/ missing still the twitter messages/screenshots


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