Veracity of the photos is questioned by the inspectors’ defense. Accusation was based on medical examinations
“Look at this, those are not photographs, those are prints from digital JPEG files. One cannot carry out medical analyses over prints. If I could, I would bring Steve Ballmer (Microsoft’s boss) over and he could tell you whether or not it’s possible to manipulate the photos”, stated Pragal Colaço, the lawyer who represents four of the five inspectors. The argument for not having disputed them until now was the lack of time.
The prosecutor for the Public Ministry, António Correia, who was contacted by Expresso, declined to make a statement.
Leonor Cipriano identified two of the arguidos but stated that none of them aggressed her. The accusation sustains that the suspects used third persons who beat the plaintiff. None of them has been identified.
The medical reports that are included in the process point into the same direction: the markings on Leonor’s body were not compatible with falling off the stairs.
The first observation of Leonor Cipriano was made by a doctor at the Health Centre of Odemira on the very same day of the supposed aggressions – the 15th of October 2004, and excluded de possibility of a fall. Milcíades Carvalho only observed Leonor’s face but referred that the lesions that she presented “are not compatible with falling off the stairs, but with one single, very heavy blow, like hitting the head against a wall”.
On the 18th of October, Leonor Cipriano was observed by Irene Posalaky, a doctor at Odemira Prison, for whom “the lesions that were observed could not result from a fall of the stairs, because they are never symmetrical (like the ones that the prisoner had) or nice and round”. The doctor referred that despite not being an expert in forensics medicine, she had already contacted with several victims of domestic violence that presented lesions that resembled those of the prisoner.
A second report, dated the 25th of February 2005, which was based on the former medical reports, on photographs, on examinations and on Leonor’s clinical file, concluded in the same sense, that the lesions “suggest multiple and repeated aggressions”.
The last report in the process that Expresso consulted, which was written by the Counsel for Forensics Medicine, concluded in the same sense, adding that the “black eyes” strongly suggest being the result of fist blows and that the other aggressions were produced by kicks. This report was based on the clinical records and on the photographs.
In order to prove torture, the accusation to this evidence the deposition where Leonor Cipriano refers that she was beaten to her head with a carton tube that was approximately 1 metre long. Leonor allegedly had a blue plastic bag over her head, so she could not see who was beating her, and further referred that she was forced to kneel on two ashtrays.
Natália Silva, an employee at Odemira Prison where Leonor is fulfilling her sentence, referred that she saw “something that resembled creases”, but she erased those photographs “because no bruises, red areas, injuries or bleeding cuts were visible”.
The defense’s version sustains that Leonor Cipriano confessed her will to commit suicide and that when she went to the toilet she threw herself off the stairs at the Polícia Judiciária in Faro. The defense further alleges that Leonor had already confessed to the crime on the day before, the 13th of October 2004, and ‘holds’ to the fact that Leonor failed to identify any of the arguidos.
Nevertheless, according to the process, on the 13th Leonor confessed to the existence of the crime but blamed her brother, João Cipriano, who had also confessed to the crime already. But the main piece of evidence that would complement the confessions remained undiscovered: Joana’s body. Maybe that was why, even after the alleged fall (or the aggressions) Leonor did not go directly to prison. On her way, she passed through Figueira and Alvor, because according to the Judiciária she wanted to identify the body’s whereabouts.
Joana’s body was never found but Leonor Cipriano and her brother, João, ended up condemned to 16 years in prison over homicide and cadaver concealment.
source: Expresso, 25.10.2008, printed edition
* this article is not signed by any journalist