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"The Maddie case reveals a good deal of subservience, much to the detriment of our penal sovereignty"



Original Source: CORREIO_DA_MANHA 03 July 2014
by [Former Ministry of Internal Affairs] Rui Pereira 

Translated by Joana Morais

by [Former Ministry of Internal Affairs] Rui Pereira 

The [Maddie] case reveals a good deal of subservience, much to the detriment of our penal sovereignty

The Portuguese authorities - and, in particular, the Judiciary Police - have been used and “abused”, in the context of international judicial cooperation, to carry out investigations ordered by their British counterparts. From chartered flights using Air Force helicopters (to uncover, from above, holes opened seven years ago) to the return of the famous sniffer dogs, to the questioning of “arguidos and witnesses”, everything has been done to meet the demands of our oldest allies. But is this deference warranted?

The first question that springs to mind is a simple one: would the British police do the same in similar circumstances, working at “full speed” on the say so of the Portuguese authorities, to fulfill the reciprocity principle enshrined in Article 4º of the Law 144/99? Of course not! It is necessary to note that under the applicable Portuguese law (the crime was committed in national territory) there is an ongoing process in Portugal which has the very same purpose - which, incidentally, was reopened under Article 279º of the Code of Criminal Procedure, since “new elements of evidence” became available.

Herein lies, then, the nonsense of the situation in all its splendour: in Portugal a criminal investigation is taking place for the same purpose, however our authorities work, under an “outsourcing” regime and in exclusivity for the “concurrent” investigation of another country. So, in order to prevent paradoxes of this nature, the Article 18º of the Law 144/99 authorizes the refusal to cooperate with another investigation when the fact that motivates it, is already the subject of a pending process in Portugal. Moreover, if the process [investigation] had not been reopened in our country, the cooperation would be impossible, under the Article 8º of that same law.

This legal impossibility leads us to a truly inconvenient final question: since the international judicial cooperation is impossible when there has been a court acquittal or when a process is archived, is it possible that the reopening of the process had only the (deviant) purpose to enable the cooperation and place the police Portuguese "“at the service” of the British authorities? If so, then there was “manipulation” of the process. Nevertheless, without making conjectures, we can safely conclude that this case reveals a good deal of subservience, much to the detriment of our penal sovereignty.

in Correio da Manhã, July 3, 2014


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