English police and PJ investigate the Maddie McCann case again
Inquiry. Although in Portugal the inquiry into the little girl's disappearance was archived, the Attorney General has granted a request from the English authorities to investigate new leads and suspects. The situation is unheard of within judiciary cooperation
The Judiciary Police (PJ) will again be requested to hear suspects and to carry out other actions concerning the disappearance of Madeleine McCann, whose investigation inquiry was shelved, without a solution, five years ago by the Public Ministry (MP). The execution of a request for mutual judiciary cooperation made by the British authorities to the Attorney General's Office (PGR), who granted it and forwarded it to the Public Ministry of Portimão, that will be responsible for directing and carrying out the rogatory letter, is at stake.
The situation is unheard of: two countries that opened inquiries into the same case, and after one of them archived it, the other keeps the investigation open and forces the first one to "reopen" the investigation. The Attorney General's Office sustains that "granting the execution of the request is justified by compliance with existing legal norms within the English and the Portuguese legal orders, and it is not impeded by the fact that the criminal case that was opened in Portugal is shelved".
In an interview to DN newspaper, Alípio Ribeiro, who at the time of the disappearance was the PJ's national director, considers it to be "natural and understandable".
As far as DN newspaper was able to establish, the PJ has not received the rogatory letter yet, and only after they know what the English police wants to clarify, can the necessary means to support the detectives from the Metropolitan Police Service (MPS) be adjusted. According to the MPS, "it has been requested that a small number of British investigators would be present in Portugal to accompany these actions". According to sources that are following this process, said request has not been submitted to the PJ's National Directory, but that could happen at any moment.
This investigation that the English started in 2011 and that also led to the creation of a team with inspectors from the PJ's Oporto Directory, in 2012, has had, according to the Metropolitan, "the full support of Great Britain's Government". Prime minister David Cameron, who was on holiday in the Algarve last week, expressed, at the start of the month, his satisfaction in the opening of the inquiry by the Scotland Yard. ""It is welcome because they say that there is new evidence, new leads to follow, new things to be done", he told The Telegraph.
The Metropolitan's detectives, who can only participate as observers, as any intervention in the questioning that will be carried out is forbidden for them, wish to obtain the "anticipated fulfillment" of the diligences in this manner, keeping the information right away and thus avoiding that it has to be sent through the Portuguese General Attorney's Office.
This request for mutual assistance appears following a revision of the investigation into the disappearance of Madeleine McCann that was carried out by a team of more than thirty MPS detectives.
"It was a complex task" with "true challenges", the Met Police says. The analysis and organisation of "approximately 30 500 documents" resulted in "new leads and new witness evidence". There are 12 English suspects that should be questioned.
Leads reevaluated in different countries produce no results
Investigation. The leads that the Scotland Yard is investigating to try to clarify the disappearance of Maddie McCann extend over 12 European countries, with Portugal taking the centre position of the new diligences. Nevertheless, within the British authorities' offensive, leads have been reevaluated that ended up being unfounded. That is the case of a Swiss suspect who killed a child two months after Maddie disappeared.
Ylenia was five years old when she was abducted in July 2007, in Saint-Gall, in Switzerland. Her body was found in a forest and the suspect, who committed suicide before the police could get to him, was a Swiss pensioner who at the time was a resident in Spain. The close location to the Algarve and the abduction of a child led the English authorities to search for a connection between both cases.
The Swiss police had already set the possibility aside, but after a request from the Scotland Yard, as it now happens in Portugal, they reevaluated the case.
"There is nothing to indicate a connection between the situations", Hanspeter Krusi, the spokesman for Saint-Gall police, stressed earlier this month, further informing that the result of the investigations in Switzerland had already been communicated to the English authorities.
3 questions for Alípio Ribeiro, former PJ Director
"Contributions should be seen in a positive manner"
- The Portuguese authorities could refuse to cooperate, as the process has been shelved?
- Judiciary cooperation is one of the European Union's pillars and it is within that frame that the Portuguese authorities will have to respond to possible solicitations from the British authorities. As the disappearance of an English child is at stake, it is natural and understandable that they continue to work in the sense of finding out what happened.
- This is an unheard of situation, right?
- It should always be stressed that the archiving that took place in Portugal happened due to an insufficiency of evidence and because it was decided that there was no further action to take. Any action or any clarification that the British authorities want must not be seen as a devaluation of what was done in Portugal. On the contrary, all contribution must be seen in a positive manner, as it is the reason why there is cooperation in the first place.
- But could it be assumed that the PJ has not done enough?
- The Portuguese judiciary authorities cooperate with the judiciary authorities in many other countries, on a daily basis. I do not believe that the cooperation that is requested in this particular case may cause specific difficulties and cannot or should not be carried out within the score of habitual practices.
in: Diário de Notícias, 03.08.2013