The Court of Faro condemned today Leonor Cipriano to seven more months in jail for making false accusations in the process which incriminated five Judiciary Police officers of the crimes of aggression and torture.
This jail sentence is added to the 16 years that the arguida is serving for the murder of her daughter Joana - who disappeared from the village of Figueira, in Portimão, on September 12 2004 - and of which she has served about half.
According to the court, it was proved that Leonor Cipriano lied about the way in which the officers had beaten her, having presented in trial different versions of the facts that took place during the questionings to which she was subjected to, in 2004, after the crime.
According to the judge who delivered the judgement today, despite not having taken oath, the arguida in the quality of assistant to the process, was warned that she could not misrepresent the truth, at the risk of being punished and if she had done it, she did it "because she wanted" and in a conscient manner.
The court considered the illegality of the act committed takes on a "grave aspect" and is "above average", given the long sentence the arguida is serving, the seriousness of the facts, the quality of the arguidos [the five PJ officers accused by Leonor Cipriano] and the media coverage of the case.
"It is crystal clear the arguida misrepresented the truth [lied]", states the ruling, which highlights the several contradictions relative to the manner in which she alleges she was beaten and to the agents that were present in the interrogation room where she alleged to have been attacked.
The possibility of a suspended prison sentence was dismissed because the court considered that, despite the long jail sentence that the arguida is already serving, she continued to show disrespect for the rules.
The court also added that it would be "naive" to believe that a "mere threat" of imprisonment would contribute to the "recovery" of the arguida, who was waived today of appearing in court to hear the reading of the judgement.
The contradictory statements about the aggressions that she was a target were made between 2008 and 2009, at the time of the trial1 of the inspectors who investigated the "Joana Case", which resulted in the condemnation of two of the five arguidos in that process.
That court gave has proven the aggressions even though the identity of the attackers was never established.
Gonçalo Amaral, the former coordinator of the Criminal Department of Investigation of the Judiciary Police of Portimão was absolved of the crime of omission to denunciate [failing to complaint] and condemned to one and a half year for the crime of false statement, with a suspended sentence for the same period time.
The inspector António Nunes Cardoso was condemned to two years and three months for the falsification of a document, with a suspended sentence of two years.
The former Judiciary Police inspectors Paulo Pereira Cristóvão, Leonel Morgado Marques and Paulo Marques Bom, who were accused of having tortured Leonor Cipriano during the questionings2 at the headquarters of the PJ of Faro, were all absolved.
In jail, Leonor Cipriano is attending the 9th grade of school and has still as an activity the placement of labels in fruit cases, the court said adding that the detainee does not receive visits from friends or family.
Leonor's brother, João Cipriano, is also serving a 16 years jail sentence for the crimes of homicide and concealment of a corpse.
in Lusa news agency/TVI, April 2 2013
1 - Leonor Cipriano's lawyer at the time of the trial against the five Judiciary Police inspectors was Marcos Aragão Correia who had a pivotal role intertwining the Maddie and the Joana cases; the Lawyers Order head of the bar, Marinho Pinto, timely requested for the order to become assistant for the accusation and was represented by Rodrigo Santiago, thus annulling the possibility of asking Marinho Pinto to testify in relation to the Expresso 2005 "torture" article pictured above.
2 - Leonor Cipriano had already confessed to her crimes on October 13 2004, and was accompanied by her lawyer at the time, Célia Costa, during the questioning before the alleged aggressions on October 14 2004 took place.
ab) at a certain point in time, due to a motive that has not been exactly established, both arguidos started, conjointly, to successively hit minor CC on the head, prompting her to hit her head on the wall’s corner, being visible that she bled, from her mouth, her nose and her temple, due to the hits against the wall, which also caused the minor’s fall and her death, thus ceasing the arguidos’ activity;
ac) traces of blood from the minor remained on the living room’s walls and floor, on various spots, and also near the entrance;
ad) the arguidos ensured that CC was dead, verifying that she neither breathed nor reacted, and then, not wanting to be held responsible over their daughter’s and niece’s death, decided to prevent said death from becoming known to others;
ae) therefore, they soon decided that they would have to ensure that the existence of any signs in the house of what they had just done could not be verified, that the minor’s body would never be found and that, preferably, everyone would be convinced that the minor had been taken by a third party;
af) therefore, arguida BB remained at home, washing the wall and the floor that had signs of blood from CC, as well as the spot where the minor remained slumped after death, using a mop and its bucket to do so.
aah) the arguidos managed to disturb the investigative activities and prevented the mortal remains of minor CC, whose life they took, from being located;
aai) the aforementioned activities were carried out by the arguidos under concerted efforts and intentions, in a deliberate, free and conscious manner, fully knowing that those behaviours are punished by law;
aaj) therefore as far as taking the life of CC, their direct relative (daughter and niece), is concerned, which they did by employing force, taking advantage of the fact that she couldn’t defend herself (taking into account her age and physical built) and using force in the full knowledge that, considering the vital area in which her body was hit (the head) repeatedly and violently, prompting the minor’s head to hit the wall, they could take her life away from her, a consequence which they accepted, still not ceasing their activity;
aal) not seeing as an obstacle the circumstance that the minor depended on her mother and was a direct relative of both, and should be defended instead of victimised by them;
aam) in the same deliberate, free and conscious manner, and knowing that such behaviour is punishable, they carried out the above described action of cutting CC’s body, demonstrating total insensibility, knowing full well that, in this manner, they offended the communitarian respect that is due to the dead, acting with the purpose of CC’s body never being found again, hiding it in a location that is not appropriated for the effect, in order to try to avoid responsibility for her death;
Extracts from Supreme Court of Justice - ruling on the Homicide and concealment of eight-year-old Joana Cipriano's body, 20.04.2006 [in Portuguese here]