Short debate on the news that Scotland Yard is allegedly following a lead that presumes that Madeleine McCann was abducted by three Portuguese men. Rua Segura is a daily TV show broadcast by CMTV where criminal current issues are debated and analysed. On this episode the program had as guests Carlos Anjos, former PJ inspector and former head of the Criminal Investigation Officers' Union and André Ventura, University Law Professor & book author.
Anchor Sara Carrilho - The thesis of abduction of Madeleine McCann by three Portuguese men is back on the table for the British authorities. The Judiciary Police however does not believe in that hypothesis which was already investigated two years ago.
Voice Over Joana Sales (news segment) - It's the last line of investigation concerning Maddie's disappearance. If it doesn't produce any results Scotland Yard will close the case nine (sic, 5) years after it started. The thesis of this new investigation is unknown, but English police sources believe that the possibility that the little 3-year-old girl was abducted during a burglary deserves a fresh look. This hypothesis surfaced in 2014. The Portuguese police constituted at the time three men as arguidos (suspects), José Carlos da Silva, 30 years old (sic, 39), Ricardo Rodrigues, 24 years old, and Paulo Ribeiro, 53 years old. One of the suspects worked at the Ocean Club resort where the McCann family were staying. He was in charge of accompanying the clients up to the apartments in Praia da Luz. The British police believes that this man together with the other two suspects assaulted the McCanns' apartment and upon seeing the little girl decided to take her. The English police suspicions have as basis phone calls records between the three men on that night. The Portuguese police provided at the time the information requested but considers that there are no indicia to incriminate the three suspects. Scotland Yard will carry on with the investigation, as was recently advanced, until they close it in a few months time whether they have conclusions about Madeleine McCann's disappearance or not.
Anchor Sara Carrilho - Carlos, do you think it makes any sense for the English authorities to question these three Portuguese men again, or return to this abduction thesis?
Carlos Anjos - No, nothing makes sense anymore. I would say, from the day the process was reopened or since when the English authorities reopened the case in England and started to investigate, it has never made any sense. It would make some sense if the English authorities had read the Portuguese process and said that there were failures, and then followed alternative lines of investigation. All they did do, what they have limited themselves to, was merely to follow or repeat what was done by the Portuguese, several times. In fact, they are now redoing what they themselves had done, they've already done this step.
Anchor - That they themselves did, they've already investigated this lead.
Carlos Anjos - It has been a series of blunders, even from the point of view.. A few years later they were searching the sewers to see if the girl was still there, if the body had been there the sewers would have blocked and would have likely burst, with all that rained down in Portugal in the past winters there would be no hypothesis. What they have done, from an investigative standpoint, not only was badly done, we cannot also see a line (methodology). Now they want to pursue a thesis of abduction, which is something... They want to talk with three people, it should be said that of these three I can almost guess who they are going to try pin the blame on for the abduction - on the one that died. Of the three men there's one that has already died, and that is always the weakest link since he's not here to defend himself. These Portuguese have been very helpful, even the suspects, because they've always talked to the English. That is, whenever the English want to speak with them, they have accepted to answer their questions and to give them statements. Because they could clam up, they could refuse with the status of arguidos to give any statements. Actually, they are not arguidos1 because the English don't have the capacity for that. There is a curious fact, the only suspect that was an arguido, Robert Murat, who right or wrong was considered initially as the main suspect, the English discarded him immediately, maybe because he is also English, but that one didn't matter for this scenario. We couldn't see a line of reasoning in there.
I believe this process is going to end very soon, after they make this new onslaught in Portugal. They've spent a lot of money, it's one of the most expensive cases in English investigation history. Strangely enough, numerous children disappear in England yet they don't give them any special care, but they have that with Madeleine McCann.
I would applaud them if I saw an investigation done in different way, and if I saw them taking steps that we hadn't taken, if we had failed it would be necessary to do them, and I do think that we failed, this was already said in here, Rui Pereira said that and Manuel (Rodrigues)2 also, that one of the serious errors was not constituting the McCann couple and their friends as arguidos for the abandonment of their children. There were mistakes in the investigation but those errors were repaired. Now, the English have never brought anything new to the investigation, absolutely nothing at all. And we are here today - if people notice, Portugal followed several lines - we don't know of the English investigation a single lead that was different, a single line of investigation that was different, or that it had produced a different type of results.
This is gearing up for one thing, the English, Scotland Yard will end up arranging a report that says that they have eliminated for good the possibility of the child dying in that house, in that night - and I'm not saying that it was homicide, negligent or not - and that what happened was an abduction. They're not going to say much more than that because they don't have any factual basis to affirm that it was an abduction. But they are going to say it. And why? Because this investigation since it started, from the English side, and from the point the dogs came to Portugal, the dogs that detected cadaver scent which lead to a different line of investigation, those English (officers) were replaced because it was of no interest (unhelpful), the thesis wasn't the one the UK wanted and what they want is a thesis that says: 'No, what happened was an abduction and the McCann couple is once and for all exonerated".
Curiously, we heard the process was going to be archived, and I am convinced, it's my personal opinion, that this process wasn't archived now because the Portuguese court decided in favour of Gonçalo Amaral. Since the decision was favourable for Gonçalo Amaral, and the McCanns are very embittered with that decision because they felt that it was unfair - I'm not saying that it was or not, this is just an observation - the English police, at a time when everything pointed to the archival of the case for lack of evidence - there was even a news article on Correio da Manhã and in other newspapers - decided to start new investigations upon the decision of the Portuguese courts. I believe that there is clearly an attempt to exonerate the couple, the English want to remove any suspicion from the McCann couple. In my opinion, it was never their main goal to find Madeleine McCann. The main objective of the English authorities was to exonerate the parents of Madeleine McCann.
Anchor - André, do you agree? Do you believe that some kind of pressures existed to extend this investigation, without anything new?
André Ventura - Yes, it's evident. We look at this process and we notice.. What saddens me in this process is the following, irrespectively of the aspects of the investigations and I believe that Carlos has focused and well upon those points, and saddens me in this sense, at this moment this has become a war between police forces, instead of truly becoming in the fundamental goal...
Carlos Anjos - In a search for the truth.
André Ventura - Yes, instead of becoming in the fundamental goal which is to find this little girl. I hope that she is alive and can be found, even though I have my doubts as to the investigation. What I think, and notice, since the Treaty of Lisbon, the European Union decided on the possibility of creating joint police forces, that work in joint operations, this kind of case is what they had in mind, transnational cases, that involve transnational interests. It didn't suppose that joint operations would mean conflict, one trying to show to the other that he's right, one saying "no, no, no, she's dead, she died in that day, there was scent of cadaver", the other saying "no, no, there are 3 suspects who were there, several witnesses saw them". If we read the Portuguese and the English press, it seems like we're talking about worlds apart. The English saying that Portugal isn't doing anything, that there are three suspects...
Carlos Anjos - They haven't said that for a while.
André Ventura - We still see it, several times. And this has become a war between police forces that is bad for everyone, bad for everyone. It gives an idea that the only thing being attempted is this, to try and demonstrate to the others that they are not right.
Carlos Anjos - André, let me just correct something, in Portugal that joint team was created for the first time and it worked well (Operation Task, 2007), that is, the English colleagues came and tried...
André Ventura - And that was in harmony?
Carlos Anjos - It was in harmony, whilst the thesis was the abduction. The problem was when that join team, and by the decision of the English, felt that the investigation line wasn't that one and was another, what did the English Police, the police chiefs do then? They removed the police officers that were here and replaced them with others, it was then that conflict was born.
André Ventura - The conflict (nods), but Carlos, what I want to stress is the following, we've heard here Gonçalo Amaral, and I agree with much that he says, however we cannot fail to notice a certain resentment with the English police. We can see that in the language, in the way that he deals with issues, and I believe that this is bad...
Anchor - Of course, and there were public declarations by the Judiciary Police to that effect. (overlapping speech)
André Ventura - Yes, there were public declarations and that's fine, I think that Gonçalo Amaral can publish the books that he wishes, like I can publish what I wish. What I find wrong is this, it has truly become a conflict and we can even see that in the English police reports, there's an attitude of resentment towards the Portuguese police and vice-versa. I feel that that resentment also exists relative to the lead followed by the English, and here I think that it would be positive for... I have serious doubts this little girl will ever be found, and I think we all agree with that, but there is a fact that I know, this that took place between Portugal and England, within the scope of an investigation such as this one, cannot ever happen again, cannot ever happen again.
Carlos Anjos - (overlapping speech) This little girl will never be found, obligatorily she is dead.
André Ventura - ... This was the spirit of the Treaty of Lisbon, that police forces would work together within the scope of an investigation, and not a matter of trying to prove which one was better.
Anchor - Very well, this were the analyses. Carlos Anjos, André Ventura, thank you for your analyses and for your statements. Wish you a good weekend, let us move on to another topic in Rua Segura.
broadcast by CMTV, Rua Segura, SE16 EP86, April 30, 2016 (video not online yet)
1. 11 witnesses plus 4 suspects of the English police investigation were questioned by the PJ in 2014, due to the content of the questions put to the 4 suspects they were constituted as arguidos. Refs. Maddie case: Four arguidos questioned by PJ on behalf of Metropolitan Police & Scotland Yard to quiz four formal Madeleine suspects
2. For reference see CM Special: 'Maddie, The Mystery'