Judge refused searches to homes of former Ocean Club employees
Analysis of sites where Maddie might still be buried without a set date.
Searches to the homes of former Ocean Club employees in Praia da Luz were some of the steps requested by British police and rejected by the Portuguese authorities as unfounded.
by Marisa Rodrigues
The judge to whom the requests contained in the letters rogatory were sent did not consider valid the arguments used by Scotland Yard. The [English] detectives wanted the Judiciary Police (PJ) to do house searches to people [simply] because they worked at the resort at the time when Madeleine disappeared, which made them “persons of interest”.
Another treatment was given to the requests for searches and excavations, using dogs and a georadar as resources, which were accepted as JN disclosed yesterday. The Public Prosecutor from Portimão, which holds the responsibility of analysing the formal requests for judicial cooperation, gave the green light to these steps - a turning point in the British investigation with Scotland Yard assuming for the first time the hypothesis that Madeleine is dead.
The sites were chosen for being prone to the disposal of a body. JN knows that this is the key argument used by Scotland Yard to substantiate the request for searches. The places are near to the apartment where the McCann family was staying during their holidays, in the beach and in a road which at the time was undergoing repairs. Another of the requests is for a georadar to be used in order to analyse and drill the soil and two dogs which alert to the presence of cadavers. Resources that Scotland Yard wants to bring from the UK. In case a deformation on the ground is detected there is a green light to proceed with the excavations. This is a process that could drag on for some time if the relevant places to be excavated belong to private owners or to State-owned road operators.
The next step is to define the operational strategy and set the date of the proceedings, tasks which are incumbent on the South Directorate of the PJ, responsible for carrying out the steps authorized by the prosecutor. The National Directorate of the PJ has to decide if the British detectives and experts can closely follow the actions that will always be performed by the Portuguese inspectors since Scotland Yard has no authority to act in Portugal. JN found that such a request was addressed to the Attorney General's Office and communicated informally to the Judiciary Police but for it to be appreciated, it must be formalized with the National Director of the PJ, which has not happened yet.
Scotland Yard regards the dogs that they want to use in the searches as “better” than Eddie and Keela, the sniffer dogs who alerted to blood and cadaver odour in the McCanns car and apartment at the Ocean Club resort.
Scotland Yard and Madeleine's parents argue that the constitution of a joint investigation team would accelerate the discovery of Madeleine and have criticized the “excessive bureaucracy” of the letters rogatory*.
The logistics required to implement these new endeavours are costly. JN knows they will be supported by the UK, which has already spent around EUR 7 million with this investigation.
in Jornal de Notícias, paper edition (page 13), May 7, 2014
*See - European Convention on Mutual Assistance in Criminal Matters or Mutual assistance in criminal matters between Member States
Sky News - Madeleine McCann: 'UK Police Searches Refused'
Daily Mail - Revealed: The three search areas where UK police hunting for Maddy McCann will begin digging - just yards from where she vanished
BBC - Madeleine McCann: Police confirm Portugal 'activity
or alternatively the McCann files for all the latest news from the UK