Carlos Anjos: Release of e-fits "is very unprofessional"
CMTV, October 14, 2013
News anchor Andreia Vale [AV]: In the studio with us is Carlos Anjos, CMTV commentator. Hello Carlos, good afternoon. Thank you for being here. This e-fit of an individual, this new "breath" of the [English police] investigation, does it have any credibility in your opinion?
Carlos Anjos [CA], President of the Committee for the Protection of Crime Victims/ former president of the Criminal Investigation Officers' Union of the PJ (ASFIC/PJ) - Good afternoon. Unfortunately, no. Unfortunately, no. It seems to me, from the way that this is being carried out, from the standpoint of the criminal investigation to be very unprofessional. We do have in fact two schools of thought. We have the school of thought of criminal investigation in Continental Europe that has a particular way of working, where the media is only used to divulge any information when it reaches a dead end and is unable to go further; and the Anglo-Saxon school that uses the media in every way possible...
AV - Often from the outset.
CA - From the outset, precisely, playing on emotions. In this case, what we see here, is that all the information are contradictory - and it would be good if we could set down a record of everything that we have learned in the past few days in order to understand some errors and some disinformation. First, no one was detained in the scope of this case. The man that was arrested, was detained for collateral crimes, connected to crimes against children. The police detected child pornography in his computer, he sold child pornography, and he was arrested a month ago. He wasn't arrested now, he was detained by the Manchester police. England has a total different system from ours, each city has its own police force, each force has its own autonomy. They don't have a single body working at national level like we do with the Judiciary Police, the PSP, the GNR, police authorities that work in the whole country. They have police forces in each county and city, which remain autonomous. Therefore it wasn't the London Metropolitan police, or the Scotland Yard - who are investigating with a special team the Madeleine case - that have arrested that man, but the Manchester police. It's in the course of that arrest, and like criminals usually do, that the man uses as his self-defence: "I saw Madeleine in a Mediterranean island, I know where she is". All this suggests that he wished to gain a prominent position and receive a special treatment, from then on he began to receive attention that he would not have received if he was for example, a common criminal.
Now that this arrest of a suspect has been explained, an arrest that took place a month ago and thus an old issue; it should be explained, the newspaper [Daily Mirror] which has published the story did so since they had nothing relevant to publish. BBC had the exclusive; they had nothing and decided to publish that incident ahead of the BBC broadcast. Regarding the e-fit, the only person that saw something gave a description to the Judiciary Police and provided a facial picture of a suspect that doesn't exist, that is, it was a featureless face. The witness was too far away...
AV - It's the picture of a man seen carrying a child?
CA - Precisely, the person gives a description, 30 meters away, at night, and just gives a physical account given that she could not see the facial features. That picture which appears now, is based on that slightly oval shaped face, from that statement that was given initially to the Judiciary Police, composed with further descriptions given by other people, thus we have a face that... a picture of a face that is a composite... - it should be said that these are portraits of the same man, one is of the man 6 years ago that was then aged with a software program, the other is a portrait that was done based on the accounts given by several people. This is very problematic.
The creation of identikit pictures is a complex process, imagine if someone would ask you, Andreia, to give an account of the facial features of someone that you saw just for a few seconds, that would be already difficult, and even more so if a picture is created based on 5 or 6 witnesses accounts, where the reliability of those accounts is close to nil. So, what we have here is the face of a man, and a description given by several people, and this is where I believe a huge mistake is being made since the e-fit could be matched to almost all the men in the world, between the ages of 20 to 40.
AV - The physiognomy is too broad?
CA - Exactly, and another serious mistake, they give all the characteristics of a man from southern Europe, brown hair, brown eyes and then they state that it is supposed to be an English man, it's the complete antithesis of the description that they have given. Worse still, they have stated that they want to locate a man with ages ranging from 20 to 40 years old - the first reaction to this is that it seems to be a wide gap. People with 20 years old and with 40 years old are unmistakable, at 20 you say that is a young man, at 40 a mature man - and what is worse, if they wish to locate a man who is now 20 years old then the man was 14 years old at the time of Madeleine's disappearance! Thus, whoever saw him, could not mistake a man, even if it was a young man, with a teenager. So, we see a series of errors in the formulation of this hypothesis, which means that they have nothing.
We know the English police did an extensive work, according to what we know and was published in the media, it was even divulged by the English authorities in the media, and that was the investigation to identify all the cell phones that were in use in that night in the Algarve. Except the prepaid cell phones, those are impossible to be identified. After the investigation to all the cell phones, that had a contract, they had to identify all those who had a criminal record, or a record of crimes against children, for paedophilia or abduction, etc. After establishing the identity and record of the cell phone owners, they arrived to 41 people of interest. This brings up the first problem, the first problem is that most paedophiles who move between countries, criminals that travel regularly, the first thing they do upon arrival is to buy a prepaid cell phone, so they can't be identified. Those are all outside this list, they were not included. Yesterday, it was published in the media that there is a possibility that some of those who were identified are under surveillance, being tapped. That makes more sense, it sheds some light as to the reasons behind, and forgive my expression, this circus. It's an attempt to shake things up bit, so that there are lots of people talking about the case, to see if any of the suspects talks about this issue...
AV - To see if the suspect gives himself away.
CA - ...if the suspect gives himself away, and from the "nothing", they are able to get something.
AV - Carlos, thank you so much for being here with us.