Direct pressure from the English prime minister
Six elements of the PJ sent to investigate in the Algarve after paedophilia lead
by Henrique Machado and Catarina Gomes Sousa
The Judiciary police have deployed six inspectors to carry out inquests in Portugal, in the scope of Maddie's disappearance in Praia da Luz, Algarve, in May 2007, in the sequence of the investigation that Scotland Yard is doing in England. The decision follows a rogatory letter sent to the Attorney General's Office last month - and these inquests, as the CM found out, relate to a avenue of investigation that points to paedophile rings operating in the area of the Algarve.
The relaunch of the whole investigation results from the direct intervention of the British Prime Minister, David Cameron, which led to 'Operation Grange' conducted by the London Metropolitan Police. Portugal was one of 31 countries to receive a rogatory letter to carry out investigations.
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"The British authorities have dispatched a rogatory letter to Portugal, that was forward from the Portuguese Attorney General to the Judiciary Police in order to be fulfilled according to the usual procedures", explained the Judiciary Police national deputy director Pedro Carmo to CM without advancing further details.
Thus, inspectors from the Directorship of the Judiciary Police from Faro were deployed to carry out inquests which may include questioning witnesses.
Scotland Yard's avenue of investigation points towards the abduction theory, in a context of paedophilia. For months, investigators have reviewed all the leads and cross-referenced all the data about the case, in order to ascertain what really happened on May 3, 2007. It was under the scope of new results that came the need to listen to about 40 people, some of whom Portuguese.
In Portugal, however, the process can only be re-opened by the Attorney General, if there are new evidence after the witnesses are questioned.
in Correio da Manhã, 4 October 2013
CMTV, 4 October 2013
Channel 4, October 4 2013
«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 fulfilment" 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.» in 'The PJ will conduct the questioning that was requested by the English police', August 3, 2013