19 November 2008

Joana case: Doctor who assisted Leonor says that lesions he saw don’t match the photographed ones - RTP/Lusa


Faro, Nov 18 (Lusa) – The doctor who assisted Leonor Cipriano at the Odemira Health Centre only a few hours after the alleged aggressions said in court today that the lesions that he saw didn’t match those that are visible on one of the photos that were taken.

While recognizing that he is not an expert in forensics medicine, because he is a general practitioner, the doctor, who gave his deposition through videoconference, stated that the lesions that were visible on the photo that he was shown through that equipment didn’t match the ones that he saw.

The medic was the second witness to be heard during the fourth session of the trial, after the court finished the questioning of the prison employee who photographed Leonor Cipriano, which had been interrupted in the previous trial session, two weeks ago.

According to the doctor, Joana’s mother presented lesions in the right facial, frontal and temporal areas and not on the left side, as shown on the photograph that was showed to him by the court, in which Leonor presents lesions on both sides of the face, in the eye area.

According to the clinician, despite it being possible that a drainage of blood in the descending direction could have taken place a few hours after the aggressions were inflicted, it’s not likely for that to happen, unless Leonor had been lying on her left side for hours.

“What I saw was one single, very strong blow on the right side”, he asserted, observing that, in his opinion, it would be “impossible” for the lesions to spread into the left side of the face, even more so because Leonor must have been sitting or standing up during that day, and never lying down.

The doctor from the Health Centre in Odemira also said that Leonor refused to show him her body, alleging that she had no further lesions apart from those that she presented in her face and that it wasn’t worthwhile for the medic to observe her in a more detailed manner.

According to the clinician, despite trusting the information given by the patient, it was at that time that he mistrusted the explanation that was given for the lesions – that she had bumped her head into a wall when she tried to throw herself off the stairs in an attempt to kill herself -, given the fact that a fall of that nature would inflict bodily lesions.



During the morning of today’s session, Ferreira Leite, who was the director of the Heavy Crime Unit of the Polícia Judiciária at that time, was also heard, confirming that a team was sent [from Lisbon] into the Algarve to reinforce the investigation.

Ferreira Leite further stated that he didn’t know who was responsible for the coordination of operations in the Joana case, whether it was Gonçalo Amaral or the national joint director, Guilhermino da Encarnação, given the fact that it was the Faro directory that decided about actions on the terrain.

At the end of the hearing’s first part, Rodrigo Santiago, from the Lawyers’ Order, which made itself an assistant in the process, presented a request for the president of the National Institute for Forensics Medicine to be heard in court, given the fact that he possesses specific knowledge of forensic medicine.

Upon leaving the court, Leonor Cipriano’s lawyer, Marcos Aragão Correia, reinforced his intention for the Public Ministry to file an accusation against Gonçalo Amaral, in an autonomous process, over alleged torture, given the fact that he is the “main responsible person” over the aggressions that Leonor allegedly suffered.

“The accusation was incomplete and I cannot accept that the main person responsible for the torture is not punished”, he told the journalists, further remembering the alleged false statements that were proffered in court by Gonçalo Amaral and that were the subject of a criminal complaint by Leonor’s defense.

Gonçalo Amaral’s lawyer, António Cabrita, stated that he prefers to wait to see whether or not an accusation is filed, and underlined that during the trial there was no change in the facts or the production of any evidence that justifies a new process.

The process over alleged torture of Leonor Cipriano by PJ inspectors is related with the “Joana case”, where the little girl’s mother and uncle, João Cipriano, were condemned by the Supreme Court of Justice to a prison sentence of 16 years each, over the crimes of homicide and concealment of the child’s cadaver.

The Public Ministry’s accusations against the present and former PJ inspectors appeared following the questioning of Leonor Cipriano, in the building of that police force in Faro.


source: RTP, 18.11.2008

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