23 April 2009

Gonçalo Amaral’s defence requests acquittal

Today [yesterday], the defence has asked for the acquittal of Gonçalo Amaral, a former Polícia Judiciária inspector, from the accusation of omission of denunciation and false testimony in the case of the alleged aggressions against Leonor Cipriano, as it considers that proof was not made during the trial.

In his closing arguments, that took place in the Court of Faro today [yesterday], Gonçalo Amaral’s lawyer, António Cabrita, told the jury tribunal that the accusation “failed to demonstrate beyond the shadow of a doubt”, the crimes of which the coordinator of the investigation into the disappearance of Joana Cipriano is accused.

“Mrs Leonor Cipriano, with all the credit that she may merit, and she merits none, said she didn’t see who aggressed her. Then she said it was Gonçalo Amaral. If she didn’t see, why did she take part in a line-up, during which she identified persons who don’t belong to the PJ and were not present at the date of the facts?”, Gonçalo Amaral’s lawyer questioned in his closing arguments.

António Cabrita further defended that there could be no crime of omission of denunciation because Gonçalo Amaral “had no obligation to report something different from what his collaborators reported to him”.

The lawyer also defended the accusation of false testimony because Gonçalo Amaral “naturally believed that what had been reported to him by his collaborators was true”.

“You can only acquit all of the arguidos and especially the one that I defend”, concluded the lawyer, who denounced contradictions in Leonor Cipriano’s statements, questioned the veracity of the photographs of the bruises that had been presented by the accusation and stated that “the only witness who spoke the truth, prison guard António Maia, was hit with a disciplinary process”.

António Cabrita thus followed the defence line of the three Judiciária inspectors who stand accused of the crime of torture against Leonor Cipriano, who had earlier requested the acquittal of the arguidos by the jury tribunal, based on “manipulation” of the photographs and witness contradictions, as well.

The trial of the five Polícia Judiciária (PJ) inspectors, who stand accused of alleged aggressions against Leonor Cipriano within the “Joana case”, returned to the Court of Faro this [yesterday] morning for closing arguments.

The reading of the sentence has been scheduled for the 22nd of May, at 2 p.m.

The process of alleged aggressions against Leonor Cipriano by PJ inspectors is related to the so-called “Joana case”, which dates back to the 12th of September 2004, the day when the eight-year-old girl disappeared from the village of Figueira, Portimão, in the Algarve.

The Public Ministry’s accusations against five Judiciária inspectors and former inspectors appeared following the questioning sessions at the PJ in Faro in 2004, at a time when Leonor allegedly appeared with lesions to her face and body, at the Prison of Odemira, where she was under preventive custody.

Joana’s mother, Leonor Cipriano, and her uncle, João Cipriano (both siblings) were condemned by the Supreme Court of Justice to 16 years in prison each, over the crimes of homicide and concealment of the child’s body.


source: Diário de Notícias, 22.04.2009

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