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

If it was in Portugal...

The English Justice worked in the case of the Portuguese citizen who was arrested without evidence. But if it was in Portugal, the things that would be said…

by Carlos Anjos*

The lack of efficiency of criminal investigation and Justice in Portugal, as well as its slowness, by opposition to what happens, for example, in England, has been widely discussed.

When the so-called ‘Freeport II’ was started, many stated that “now it’s serious, now it’s not a child’s play anymore, now the SFO is coming”. We all knew about criminal investigation in other countries, which is why many say that what humbly is done around here, owes nothing to the best that is done in other countries.

Comparing with England, we all know about its cooperation in the ‘Maddie’ and the ‘Freeport’ cases, and the conclusions that haven’t arrived yet. We also all know about the ease with which they shot down a Brazilian citizen who was mistaken for a dangerous terrorist.

Recently, a young woman was murdered. Swiftly and without the shadow of a doubt, her boyfriend (coincidentally a Portuguese citizen) was arrested as being the author of that crime. Based on one single piece of evidence, a video tape of very poor quality, where both the police and the public prosecutors, and the court, saw, beyond any doubt, a ladies’ purse that was found during a search at the suspect’s house. Despite him denying the crime, the suspect was condemned to life in prison, swiftly, because Justice has to be swift.

His family never conformed to the decision. They hired a new lawyer, who, after analysing the video tape, managed to unequivocally prove that the murdered young woman was not carrying any purse that day. Based on this new presumption, an important one, I say, and the court says, as well, and given the fact that this was the only evidence that existed against the meanwhile condemned suspect, the latter was immediately released and all accusations against him were removed.

Concerning the murder, we’re back to zero, because that is the only fact that has been proved beyond a doubt: a young woman was murdered. And I dare to think: what if this happened in Portugal; what would be said about the PJ, about the MP [Public Ministry] and about the judicial magistrates? Many, certainly all that hail victory to the British system, would demand a radical change of the system, destroying everything and everyone.

As it were, they remained bravely silent. After all, nothing happened, nobody died, no murder remained unsolved, the person that was imprisoned unjustly for three years and which happened to be a Portuguese, was lucky after all, and was released, which is to say, Justice worked.

The English justice, because if this had happened in Portugal…

source: Correio da Manhã, 11.08.2009

* Criminal Investigator for the Polícia Judiciária


  1. Just two things:

    I was under the impression that Mr. Bento had the purse in his possession but voluntarily delivered it to the police, it was his own initiative, not the result of a search.

    Also, I got the impression that the most likely cause for the lady's death was suicide, I read statments from family and friends saying she had been depressed for a while and had talked about ending her life.

    Maybe I'm wrong on both counts, but that's the idea I have of it.

  2. Anon, it was reported by the portuguese media that Nico Bento delivered the purse to police volontarily.
    As for suicide, that was also the impression that I had. But it seems that the police and the court didnt see it that way. It took them three years to realise that they had build a case on nothing but a fake expert.
    I still think that Mr Anjos has a point here:
    The PJ have been insulted for much, much less.
    Time will bring Justice for dear Maddie.
    There are many who do not forget, also here in Portugal.

  3. "The lack of efficiency of criminal investigation and Justice in Portugal, as well as its slowness, by opposition to what happens, for example, in England, has been widely discussed."

    As for the "efficiency" of the "superior" british police there's also the case of the missing chef Claudia Lawrence who vanished without a trace around March 2009 and has not ben found to this day. The police are clueless, there's been a reconstruction made( BIG AH!HERE, only in portuguese soil do the british consider those not to have any practical value, so it seems, because in England they are one of the first and most important steps of an investigation!), suspects investigated, etc., to no avail.
    However, and contrary to what happened in the McCann case, the police started talking about the likelyhood of Claudia Lawrence being dead, right on the very first days of the investigation!

    Now imagine if the lady chef had gone missing in Portugal! What would the british public and media be saying about our police?...

  4. Nem mais!E o que é engraçado é que os jornais que se lambuzaram com a notícia do monstro português que assassinou a namorada nem uma linha dedicaram ao facto desse monstro ser afinal um pobre homem que nada teve a ver com a morte da pessoa amada e com quem a justiça e a polícia inglesas se comportaram, essas sim, como se pertencessem a um país de terceiro mundo!Há que continuar a convencer os ingleses que a justiça inglesa é a melhor, não é?Mas quantos Nicolas Bento estarão neste preciso momento nas prisões inglesas?

  5. The PJ does a helluva job cracking crime, intercepting drug traffic, and investigating white collar criminals.

    The problem is not the PJ, its the new Penal Code that has made things easier for the criminals: no preventive custody unless caught in flagrant, for example, means that the judges are forced to release many culprits, who await trial in freedom - and commit more crimes in the mean time.

    No wonder the public is upset and claims that Justice is dead, in Portugal.

    And still, I'd rather live here than in England.

  6. Gerald is Madeleine's and the twins' biological father.

    Kate was the one who had difficulties getting pregnant, that's is why ivf was done.

  7. I have lived in the UK all my life but have little confidence in the British police or the judicial system here.
    I believe the PJ were correct in suspecting the McCann's. Who else would leave three defenceless babies in an unlocked apartment in a foreign country, unless they were trying to simulate an abduction. Assuming this was their intention, Maddy must have been long gone before they went to the tapas bar. I think the intention was for one of the friends to discover Maddy missing, but the only one who checked never entered the bedroom, so Kate had to go and do it herself, which was unusual because the checks, when done, were generally done by the men of the group.

  8. Se fosse em Portugal, havia mais um caso para oportunistas como o Marcos Aragao, o Marinho Pinto e associados, usarem contra a Pj e sempre na tentativa de colarem a situacao aos casos Maddie/Joana/Freeport ( os outros casos de nada interessam a estes senhores. Sao manchas na paisagem que eles nao veem). Afinal tem de justificar o protagonismo e os provaveis EXTRA-EUROS que recebem para descredebilizar a policia portuguesa. E DIGO A POLICIA, porque em qualquer dos casos se houve erros foram tambem dos magistrados afectos aos casos, mas esses magicamente ficam sempre de fora. PAGAMENTO DE FAVORES... so pode ser isso.
    Pois aos portugueses preocupa mais os casos da inseguranca na noite mas sobre estes o silencio e total. Nao dao Euros Extra, mesmo que possam ceifar a vida a jovens inocentes que apenas saem para se divertirem. E triste quando o povo de um pais ja nao pode contar com a actuacao da policia para o proteger, pois os responsaveis pela justica em Portugal, descredibilizam a policia e dao forca aos criminosos sempre que um policia e julgado e sem provas irrefutaveis condenado. Ate os policias ja tem medo de exercer a sua profissao porque vao ser julgados se tocarem num criminoso. E a inversao de valores que coloca estes advogados numa posicao vergonhosa....

  9. Anonymous 13.05 That could be it one of the friends should have found the child missing.

    Kate not only had difficulties getting pregnant she also had difficulties being a loving mother.
    IVF is forbidden by the Catholic Church so where dose the devout Catholic come in to this another Lie. A devout Catholic cannot pick and choose.

  10. Astro, shouldn't this article be on "Proud of the PJ" blog? Oops, forgot Claudia's blog is all about HER.

    I think you should change the name of your blog to "OUT TO GET THE MCCANNS AND MR. MITCHELL."

    Portugal's system of justice strikes me as being very behind the times and I can't believe your elected PM cannot interfere.

    After all, it was not so very long ago that Portugal received freedom from their tyrants so let's not pretend that Portugal is the best.

  11. Adding to my comment @ 11:53, I now remember that Mr. Bento's lawyer said on portuguese tv that the forensics done on the body ( authopsy) showed no evidence of foulplay, no wounds, no suspicious marks, which in my opinion strenghtens the possibility of suicide, either by pills overdose or drowning. Just speculating...
    There was nothing but the purse, this was the "major" damning evidence against Mr. Bento, not even reports by family and friends claiming he was violent, or sickly controling, or jealous of her. No reports of previous trouble between them that could have led to homicide. No cadaver and blood scenting-dogs, no DNA samples, NOTHING! ( Just the police racist bias against a "black portuguese nobody" that would "rott in jail")

    Anon @ 12:15, the PJ has not one but two big scary monsters to battle: the Penal Code and the Public Ministry (Ministério Público). The P.M. "owns" the investigation and without its avail, in many cases, the PJ's hands are tied. I honestly do not know why anyone wants to be a PJ, it's hard dangerous work, long hours( no 2 hour boosy lunches ) and poor pay.

  12. Speaking of the British poice, even the much-trumpeted discovery of 'missing' nine year old Shannon Matthews was farcical.

    The police found Shannon beneath a bed where they heard a child's voice say 'you're hurting me'. They looked under the bed an, lo and behold, there she was. They helped her out and took her to a waiting police car.

    Did this bunch of Sherlocks not stop to think who she was speaking to - who was 'hurting her'?

    Safe inside the police car, they asked Shannon if she knew where her kidnapper was. Yes, says Shannon, he was there - under the bed with me!

    Plod goes back into house, apprehends villain.

    Keystone cops? They have nothing on our lot. But imagine the reaction if this was a report from Portugal or France, or Italy, or . . .


Powered by Blogger.