Released after confessing the crime
by Duarte Levy
Pedro Frias, the judge at the Criminal Instruction Court of Portimão who this month set free a Brazilian confessed murderer, aged 24, is the same magistrate who decided to arrest a man for stealing a mobile phone. He also chose to leave another suspect free, a man who shot a firearm inside the police station in Portimão.
Among many other cases where Pedro Frias adopted uncommon decisions, there is also the Maddie case, in which he prevented the Polícia Judiciária from accessing and using the McCann couple’s phone taps and text messages.
When the Brazilian murderer appeared before the Criminal Instruction Court in Portimão on the 12th of March, he never imagined that only minutes later he would be set free.
But this was the decision that was made by magistrate Pedro Frias, who merely decreed the obligation for the murderer to present himself at the GNR post on a daily basis.
The Brazilian man had murdered his wife, aged 25, stabbing her in front of her 10-year-old daughter. A violent crime that shocked the Algarvian town of Mexilhoeira Grande, where now a new crime is feared, given the fact that the Brazilian murderer was not even prevented from approaching the daughter or the family, whom he has already threatened to “line them up against a wall and kill them all”.
Public Ministry surprised
The crime was committed on the 9th of March and the murderer turned himself in to the authorities on the following day. He was made an arguido and set free, with a notification to present himself at the Court of Portimão on Tuesday, the 10th of March; the murderer would eventually appear two days later. Without even hearing the suspect, Pedro Frias would ultimately allow him to leave in freedom.
Last September, Pedro Frias surprised the Public Ministry by allowing the man who shot a firearm inside the Portimão police station, leaving a 31-year-old man tetraplegic, to go free. Despite the fact that the victim, Vítor Gomes, was hit with three calibre 22 bullets, the judge considered the mitigating factor that the arguido, João J., was “repentful and acted emotionally”.
24Horas tried to contact Pedro Frias at the Portimão Court yesterday, but it was not possible.
Phone taps without effect
In the Maddie process, despite the fact that the Public Ministry validated the request that was made by inspector Gonçalo Amaral’s team, magistrate Pedro Frias refused access to the contents of the McCann couple’s telephone communications, justifying his decision with the fact that these were phone taps and the necessary authorisations could not be given afterwards. According to his decision, the investigation into Maddie’s disappearance cannot use the messages that were sent and received before the request.
Judge Pedro Frias’ decisions concerning mobile phones always hold a surprise. He didn’t hesitate to issue preventive custody for a man who stood accused of stealing a mobile phone.
source: 24Horas, 19.03.2009
also in: TVI 24