CMTV Debate on the Supreme Court Ruling and the Maddie Case
"Nonetheless, even in the archiving dispatch serious reservations are made about the verisimilitude (reality of)
of the allegation that Madeleine had been abducted."
of the allegation that Madeleine had been abducted."
Short debate on the Portuguese Supreme Court ruling and the Maddie case. Rua Segura is a daily TV show broadcast by CMTV, presented by Sara Carrilho, where criminal and current issues are debated and analysed. On this episode the program had as guests Carlos Anjos, former PJ inspector and former head of the Criminal Investigation Officers' Union and Manuel Rodrigues, former PJ Chief Inspector. The first two minutes are basically the same as the article published by Correio da Manhã "Judges demolish McCanns' innocence".
Sara Carrilho - Manuel Rodrigues, there isn't another way to say it, the Supreme Court of Justice was implacable (scathing, adamant) with the McCann couple.
Manuel Rodrigues - I have no idea what to call it, if implacable if something else. What I think, is that probably for the very first time in many years, the Supreme Court treated an issue that is a recurrent problem in criminal processes, in a remarkably clear manner and also educational. In other words, we have several people going around, freely, involved in criminal processes, in respect to the parents it wasn't possible, despite the numerous indications that were gathered, extremely varied of all sorts, to substantiate the evidence. And then there is the principle of in dubio pro reo (Lat. when in doubt, for the accused), so in those situations the Courts cannot convict, as such the criminal processes are archived. So we have, excuse my expression, plenty "caramelo" (cocky, brazen-faced), claiming they are innocent, knowing full well that they committed crimes, that they have stolen thousands if not millions, in short, committed crimes all types...
Carlos Anjos - Of all types, we all know they have committed those crimes.
Manuel Rodrigues - Exactly, everyone knows and they themselves know it too, but Justice doesn't work with assumptions. Justice works with substantiations of evidence and sometimes that is not possible. And it's not possible not because the investigation was poorly done, inadequately performed, defectively investigated, no! At times the complexities of criminal matters are to a such degree that despite the evidence, it's just not possible.
Sara Carrilho - In this particular case for example, there wasn't a reconstruction of the crime because there were no witnesses.
Manuel Rodrigues - That's where I wanted to go. Besides the Supreme Court very clear message when saying "Hold your horses. Just because the process was archived, no one said that you are innocent!", and this was said for the first time by someone with authority in Justice, clarifying and bringing this argument to a closure. In addition, they went beyond by saying that many of these problems would have been resolved, possibly the process (criminal case) would have had a conclusion, if only the lack of attendance of the witnesses hadn't scuppered an investigative step that was crucial and was never possible to do, and that was the reconstruction of the crime. That whole group involved in this situation, some of which who might eventually not be good characters, they all disappeared, they all got a ticket and got away. And when it was asked for them to comeback, because they were needed to do the reconstruction, no one came back. Now, everything has turned into a soap opera, but with few stars, with those that are not worthy of being followed, there are very unsavoury games in the midst of all this, there are protections that have never been explained. The media, in my opinion, never did a good job, or rather, failed in what was likely the most important thing to do during all this time, that was to verify the past of the group, understand the connections and the reasons behind the protections, the media has never got to the bottom of those issues. I do not want to go on for very much longer, except to say this: for me, this ruling by the Supreme Court is a piece that should be framed and should be displayed to the general populace.
Sara Carrilho - Wasn't that work made by the police? Of finding the background information of this group?
Manuel Rodrigues - We're making an error of appreciation on this issue. The police has to investigate this crime, and prove this crime. Obviously there were background checks of this group, evidently some conclusions were reached, conclusions which have already been widely mentioned, also in this program, the most diverse: that the group eventually engaged in swinging, others in cha-cha-chá, or another type of music, it doesn't matter. All these are parallel processes to the crime itself. It was also said that in that group there were people that were paedophiles, that had connections to...
Carlos Anjos - Secret Services.
Manuel Rodrigues - (nods affirmatively) So, all this should have been thoroughly scrutinized, instead of saying that Gonçalo Amaral ate grilled sardines or...
Carlos Anjos - That he drunk whisky, or whatever.
Manuel Rodrigues - This are fait divers (anecdotes) to cause noise and disturb the investigation, and sadly we have reached this point now where there is a child missing since 2007, and we still don't know precisely what happened to her.
Sara Carrilho - This year marks the ten years since her disappearance. In relation to this ruling, Carlos Anjos, the message that has been sent out is that the lack of evidence can never be equated to innocence.
Carlos Anjos - Of course, that happens in all processes, like Manuel said, there are many 'fine' people that think that when a process is archived because the crime wasn't proved... One thing is when the judges rule "the defendant is acquitted because he did not commit the crime", this is an exoneration but when they aren't convicted because the indicia didn't develop into sufficient proof for an accusation that doesn't mean an absolution. This is the reason why I agree with Manuel, this ruling is sublime, it's without any doubts one of the best legal pieces that I have read recently in terms of quality. Also in the way that presents the problems and explains them in a clear and easily understandable way. We have a case where a man was constituted as an arguido and didn't provide a statement, any man that has his child missing wouldn't care about giving statements (to the police), if my son disappeared I wouldn't care if they suspected me, they could even arrest me as long as they would find my child, it wouldn't be because they had suspicions that I would refuse to give a statement. There is one thing that we know by reading the statements of the whole group, is that they all lied, lied through their teeth, because there isn't a single statement between those 7 or 8 people that were there that night that matches with one another.
Sara Carrilho - And the only reconstruction done so far, was by CMTV that reveals those exact incongruences.
Carlos Anjos - Yes, when they went back to England they were questioned and again they had conflicting versions. When invited to come back, with paid expenses, none of them came back, not even the McCanns, the parents of the child. This reconstruction would have solved, one way or another, those questions. On top of that, they accused Gonçalo Amaral of breaching the professional secrecy, what breach of professional secrecy? When Gonçalo Amaral wrote the book the process was already in the public domain, it was no longer under judicial secrecy, and the CD's (containing a digital copy of the process) had already be given to numerous people.
Sara Carrilho - They themselves talked several times, the door had already been open.
Carlos Anjos - That is also another point, they accused Amaral of writing the book for profit, I am absolutely certain that Amaral would swap the earnings from his book for a single interview the McCanns gave throughout the world, namely when they went to Oprah. I'm sure he would swap it, and that would have solved all the problems of a life time. If there was someone in this case that profited, it's disputable to understand who that was, but if you ask me I think that Gonçalo Amaral when he wrote the book, he retired from the police to write the book, while we are still to this day talking about the money the McCanns will earn from the 10th anniversary interviews, because we are talking about their daughter, we are not talking about the daughter of Gonçalo Amaral. Therefore, there is a plan, which from an ethical standpoint, concerning the way they have used the child's disappearance is difficult to understand. Another thing, the McCanns have spoken substantially more about their daughter's disappearance without saying anything significant, they should have explained where they have spent the funds, everyone contributed the Maddie fund. Or even the English government - the protection Manuel was talking about earlier, why did they give 15 million euros to a single investigation, that is almost the operational budget of the Judiciary Police for one year. And England is the European country where more children go missing, children that don't have a tenth of what the English government has invested on this case. Despite everything, for the very first time in this process someone dotted the i's and crossed the t's, because what the McCanns wanted was a certificate that they were innocent and had nothing whatsoever to do with the case. This ruling tell us that the abduction theory is far-fetched.
Sara Carrilho - Ten years later what is certain is that we still don't know...
Carlos Anjos - Ten years later, at least some Justice was done, it was proved that the abduction of the child is highly unlikely.
Sara Carrilho - In relation to the whereabouts of the child, we still don't know where she is and ten years have passed.
Broadcast by CMTV, Rua Segura Se.17 EP.28 February 9, 2017