The lawyer tells how the PJ’s attitude changed
by Idálio Revez
The first time that Robert Murat was questioned at the PJ in Portimão, his lawyer Francisco Pagarete tells, the questions were of the kind: “You did it! Tell us what you did with the child!”. At that time, the investigators were looking for a thread that would lead them to a possible abductor. One and a half months later, the situation changes: “How did you help the parents get rid of the child’s body?”. In August, already accompanied by his lawyer, the police environment changes radically: “We know you have nothing to do with this, we apologise for making you come back here once more”.
About Maddie’s disappearance, the lawyer says: “I don’t know what happened to the child – I just say one thing: if nobody did anything wrong, why did they point a finger at Murat?”. And concerning the question that disquiets Murat – “Why did the McCanns’ three friends lie, saying that they had seen him there [Ocean Club] on that night” -, he adds his own opinion: “Nobody lies without a reason”. Concerning what was said and written about this subject, he considers that the media left his client “lying on the floor” and that his life was never the same again. “Children threw stones at the house, saying: “A bad man lives here”.” During the summer of 2007, people would roam towards Casa Liliana, in Praia da Luz, where Murat lived. “Psychologically, he was shattered”, he stresses, recalling that little by little, he tries to emerge from the depression that he fell into, but it is very hard. “Before I am his lawyer, I am his friend”, he states, recalling that they went to kindergarten together. “There is a difference between freedom of expression and rummaging through people’s private life.” “The right to give news ends where another person’s right to an intimate life starts”.
Concerning the British media, his position is very critical: “The press was biased. The news was broken in the following way: “This man is guilty, we have already caught him and it was even us who turned him over to the police””, he says, alluding to the journalist [Lori Campbell] who said she had noted “strange” signs in Murat during his contact with the media. But there is a difference in the way that these cases are handled in Portugal and in England. The lawsuits that were filed against the British press were swiftly settled with a “deal” concerning the amount of the compensation. In our country, “there is no evolution” concerning the five lawsuits that have been filed almost one year ago.
“The sensationalist newspapers are sensationalist by nature. The others just did their job”, he says.
in: Público, 05.03.2010