1.Everyone shall possess the right to freely express and publicise his thoughts in words, images or by any other means, as well as the right to inform others, inform himself and be informed without hindrance or discrimination 2.Exercise of the said rights shall not be hindered or limited by any type or form of censorship Constitution of the Portuguese Republic, Article 37.º

Tapas Seven would have been arrested, if they were Portuguese - 24Horas

McCanns’ friends refused to cooperate with the reconstitution
Here they would have been already arrested

They were notified about the reconstitution of the disappearance, but they are not coming. If Kate’s and Gerry’s friends were Portuguese, they would participate under detention

The last hope for the Polícia Judiciária (PJ) to be able to reconstruct the steps that were made by the McCanns and their seven friends on the evening of Maddie’s disappearance, has been demolished. The reconstitution of the events of the 3rd of May, which was scheduled for next Wednesday, was annulled.

“As arguidos, Kate and Gerry were forced to cooperate with the authorities, and they would attend. But their friends decided not to go, because they failed to understand the usefulness of this diligence”, Clarence Mitchell, the McCanns’ spokesman, said to 24Horas. “The friends were formally notified about the reconstitution, recently. The couple had been notified already”.

According to Mitchell, the PJ has always made it known that “either all of them were coming, or none of them”. As is obvious, a reconstitution only with Kate and Gerry would make no sense…

If they were Portuguese, they would be subject to a warrant

The fact that the seven friends of the McCanns have been notified as witnesses for a diligence of this type and failed to attend, would have serious consequences if they were Portuguese citizens. “First, warrants for attendance would be issued. If they would fail to attend, then arrest warrants would be issued and they would have to pay a fine. Which means that they would be attending under detention”, a source from the Public Ministry explained to 24Horas.

According to the same source, “arguidos and witnesses are obliged to attend the diligences, provided they have been officially notified”.

England “is one of the countries where the cooperation with foreign authorities is worst”, the source detailed. Through the international channels, the PJ could still use an international arrest warrant against the friends, but for a reconstitution that depends on the good will of everyone, this step will never be taken.

The Prosecutor’s Office informed yesterday that the reconstitution was cancelled due to the “already announced failure to attend” from four friends of the McCann couple. The note from the Prosecutor’s Office does not specify which ones are the four “non attending” friends, who have dragged the group along.

Clarence Mitchell, speaking to 24Horas yesterday, mentioned the withdrawal of the seven friends, as a group. The “Tapas Seven” (known by this name because they dined with the McCanns at a tapas restaurant in Praia da Luz on the evening of the 3rd of May) are: David Payne, 41, a colleague of Gerry; his wife Fiona, 34, also a doctor; Payne’s mother, Dianne Webster; Matthew Oldfield, a doctor, and his wife Rachel, 36, a consultant; and Russell O’Brien, 36, and his partner Jane Tanner, 37.

Request to access the McCanns’ text messages originated a mess
Prosecutor against colleague

The prosecutor Luís Verão, in Évora, did not agree with the position of his colleague who is responsible for the Maddie case, Magalhães e Menezes, concerning the request that the latter made to the judge, to gain access to the McCanns’ mobile phone messages

A prosecutor against another prosecutor is rare, and when both magistrates are working on the same case, it becomes unheard of. This happened in the Maddie process: Luís Bilro Verão, the joint general prosecutor that was nominated for the case, did not agree with the appeal that was made by the Public Ministry in Portimão – contesting the lack of access to the contents of the mobile phone messages that were sent and received by the McCann couple before and after the little girl disappeared.

The ruling from the Relation Court in Évora, which rejected the appeal, even refers the opinion of Luís Bilro Verão. “In this instance, the joint general prosecutor, in his learned opinion contained in the pages 22 to 97, understands that the appeal should be judged manifestly unfounded”. In other words, the prosecutor Luís Verão pulled the carpet from under the feet of Magalhães e Menezes, the magistrate who is responsible for the case.

According to the ruling, the contents of the messages could only “be the object of real-time interception, with due judicial authorization”.

Messages before the crime?

Within the Polícia Judiciária, the decision from the Relation Court in Évora was not well received. “It’s an illogical position. It would be impossible for the PJ to request for listening operations or to view text messages before the crime even took place”, a source at the Polícia Judiciária commented.

The McCanns’ spokesman, Clarence Mitchell, only commented that “Kate and Gerry have always made their telephone and computer records available to the PJ”. If the PJ would have been able to access the mobile phone messages “that would not have been a problem because the McCanns have never had nothing to hide”.

McCanns and friends warned about the reconstitution
Rogatory letter contained notifications

The parents of Madeleine McCann and the seven friends with whom they dined at the Tapas Bar, on the 3rd of May 2007, at Praia da Luz, in Lagos, Algarve, were officially notified by the Polícia Judiciária, just like 24Horas reported, through the rogatory letters that were sent to England, early this year, which were partially carried out during the month of March – the letters had been sent in October 2007, but were returned due to procedural mistakes –, to participate in the reconstitution of the events of that day. The reconstitution was scheduled for the 15th and 16th of this month, but the date was, uselessly, changed into the 29th and 30th of this month.

“Contrary to what the couple has always said, they were not ‘invited’ to return to Portugal. It was only asked, in the letters that were sent, when they and their friends would be available to carry out the diligence. But the diligence was officially ordered”, guaranteed a judicial officer that is connected to the process. “The State was prepared to pay for the full expenses of the trip and the respective accommodations under normal conditions. But absurd demands were made. But these are foreign citizens and there is little that we can do”, the same source concluded.

Footnotes

MURAT. Even if the reconstitution was taking place, it is almost certain that the man who was first made an arguido, Robert Murat, was not formally notified, as reported by “Diário de Notícias” yesterday.

PGR. The Republic's General Prosecutor announced yesterday that the reconstitution of the night when Maddie disappeared was not taking place on Friday. But the PJ’s senior officers had not been formally informed. They found out about the cancellation, through the journalists.

WATERFALL. Gonçalo Amaral, the former coordinator of the PJ in Portimão, continues to write, on a daily basis, the book that he will publish after the judicial secrecy over the case is lifted. And it is almost certain that it will contain data about the McCanns’ telephone calls.

TRAFFIC. The PJ was able to find out who spoke to whom on the day that Maddie disappeared, because they had access to the listings of telephone traffic.

RESERVATION. The Relation Court of Évora invoked the legal guarantees of reservation over the private life, to prevent the PJ of accessing Kate’s and Gerry’s SMS messages.

7 comments:

  1. What would happen if the McC, who "have nothing to hide", authorized PJ access to their e-mails' contents ?

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  2. Why do I get the feeling that if it were you or I or anyone else there would be no problem with accessing the contents of the messages? This ruling is absurd it seeks to cripple the police. Is there not another case that has occurred in Portugal in which the contents of messages have been viewed? The McCann's parents said that on that fateful night Kate & Gerry, who according to their parents were not very religious, requested the number of the priest that married them; I would be curious to know what the contents of that conversation were.

    I hope Gordon Brown and his government get flushed out of power. They know they are protecting criminals, don’t kid yourself. When this is over don’t be surprised if Mr. Mitchell once again returns to his government position.

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  3. We can never forget why this Laws were made and after what were made- Never forget we lived under a dictatorship for 48 years and PIDE, the Estado Novo Secret Police, had full access to people's mails, conversations and more.

    These Laws were made to protect the citizens, their Rights and their Freedoms. However after 34 years (since our liberation day- Carnation Revolution on the 25th of April 1974), the times have changed and the Law regarding personal communications should take in account the speed and the various communications mediums we have available nowadays: SMS, IM, VoIP, MMS, Electronic Mail, Chat, and more.

    Having said that, the Law should always protect the citizens rights first - the right to privacy, the right to express freely but there should be some exceptions in criminal cases, when Police has strong evidence for suspicion and the communications done by the suspects/arguidos can help to prove conspiracy to commit illegal acts, or that they did in fact commit a crime.

    I couldn't care less about Mitchell's future, for me he is a bumbling buffoon - no credibility at all left.

    Gordon B. it up to the British people to judge and vote.

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  4. If they were innocent, wouldn't they spontaneously offer access to the SMS ?
    If they were guilty but had been careful enough not to leave any possible written clue, wouldn't they also spontaneously offer access to the SMS contents ?

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  5. Joana
    I understand the privacy protection of course, but in certain cases judges must to hiererquize values. What is more important, the privacy of the parents or the destiny of their little child?
    Anyway i remenber in Casa Pia cases it was allowed, i think is right, the investigation of cellular phones and others.
    Why is this case diferent????
    Very suspicious IMHO

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  6. This gets from bad to worse....They are getting away with it by default, I mean its like winning a fight because the opponent has not turned up, it in no way reflects the facts.
    I hope the british public are taking note of this especially Gordon the wanker Brown.
    And as someone else said the McCanns could easily have volanteered the records.The shameless pair of bastards, the only reason they are not in the media is becauset they finally realised everytime they opened their useless mouths they only served to make themselves look more guilty, and they hope these blogs will die a quiet death without fuel, they clearly did not bargain on this site.
    Lets hope we do get to read in tjhe books just who was calling who, as if we couldnt guess.

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  7. Joana it is not so much the Portuguese dictatorhip, as it is the Data Protection Act of the EU.
    The EU has gone overboard with protecting criminals. I know that in Greece people are not allowed to name criminals even after they have confessed to killing 5 people. May I remind you that Greece was under a dictatorship for seven years that ended sometime in 1974, I cannot remember the exact date it ended. All kinds of criminals are protected there too. Interview with First Data Protection Commissioner in EN and ES

    ReplyDelete

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