Do you still work for the McCann couple, in the famous Maddie case?
As you know, the process was archived. Taking into account the specifics of this case, and because it’s about a father and a mother who lost their daughter, which is one of the greatest tragedies that can happen to human beings, I ended up with come connection to them. Naturally, at the moment, there is no work in terms of the process, the process is closed. Just like with my other clients, I keep a good relationship of cordiality, in some cases there is more friendship, in others less. This process, also due to its intense media exposure, the very peculiar aspects that it had, made me keep contact with a father and a mother, who just happen to be called Gerry and Kate, who remain under the tension and the despair that you can imagine, and keeping a cool head as much as possible, they continue to do everything that they can to find their daughter, and with the hope – that nobody can deny them and that nobody can try to take away from them – to find her alive and in good health, while naturally, in other moments they will think about how much she suffers. Which is effectively an atrocious thought and which all of us will consider as such, if we think about it for five or ten seconds beyond the noise that was made over this case, and the enormous amount of silly things that have been said about it.
What did this case mean, in your professional life?
It meant a challenge. Because it was necessary to incorporate some courage, here. And it was the living demonstration that everyone has a right to be defended, please note: we had a father and a mother here, with whom all of us felt solidarity, because they suffered something horrible, they lost a daughter, and worse, they didn’t even know what happened to her. Suddenly, they became arguidos, in a gesture that the Polícia Judiciária itself, through its official voice, considered as hasty. They obviously became defendants, martyrs, public enemies, crooks, and then they needed to be defended. Obviously I didn’t need that defence for my career, for my professional life.
But you started to have more clients after the Maddie case?
No, my life has gone on in a continuum, and all of that is legends, fables that are told. I was, and I am, a lawyer to many famous people, but I’m very discreet. Now what I pondered was the need to defend against an unfair accusation, unfounded, as the Public Ministry and the Polícia Judiciária ended up considering, to defend a couple that had already suffered an unmatched disgrace in their life and was about to be added another, that was to be accused – thankfully they were not – of nobody knows what exactly, but the covering up of the death or something similar.
Lawyers don’t always exist to make things easier and more linear.
Not always, but almost always! Note, we make a living out of solving problems, not delaying decisions. I’m very sorry that this legend remains above the evidence of history. Once more, there are cases where procedural manoeuvring may pay off, there are cases! But why does nobody ever think about a lawyer who takes up the case, for example, of 50 creditors who desperately wait…
But there’s a lawyer on the other side, as well.
Not always! If you look at executive action in Portugal, which is the coercive payment of debts through State mechanisms, in the majority of cases there is no lawyer on the opposite side, there’s a totally inoperative machine that executes the forceful payment! How do we allow, for example, the commerce courts to hold processes that are impossible to manage, bankruptcies that involve hundreds of entities – now they are insolvencies -, workers, firms, creditors, whenever someone files a request, four boxes have to be rummaged through, it renders the whole thing impracticable! Our procedural laws are the great deadly sin of our judiciary system. I’ve been saying this for years, but we collide with a major obstacle: it has nothing to do with the lawyers’ or the magistrates’ profile, but with one of its core condiments, which is our sinister conservativeness. We’re very routinely, very conservative and very much afraid of change.
source: Diário de Notícias, 17.05.2009