Gonçalo Amaral: "There was far too much diplomacy"
The former inspector affirms the Judiciary Police worked hand in hand with the Scotland Yard and that there was servility from the Prosecutor's Office and Portuguese Government towards the British
"There was far too much diplomacy"
by Fernanda Cachão & Mónica Palma
Outside the judicial process, Gonçalo Amaral says the McCanns took away the chances of him having a professional life.
Is there a political assessment to be made?
There is, yes, and a very significant one. Notice that I have never returned to the Judiciary Police but the couple has already been there. The PJ direction and even the prosecutor are doing what is considered politically correct. In the United Kingdom and here the direction of the police worked hand in hand with the Scotland Yard, they would not investigate anything that could compromise the parents or the friends. That is a mistake. Besides, there may have been parallel channels of investigation, even because it's not normal for an ambassador of a foreign country to come over to the site of an investigation and pressure for a quick solution. Following that meeting, the PJ director read a statement saying that we were looking for an abductor, something that neither I nor others agreed. If the ambassador, or the consul for that matter, hadn't show up the investigation would have been directed to its standard procedure, which is to suspect those who are responsible for the safekeeping of the child. There was far too much diplomacy.
As the coordinator couldn't you have said something?
Other colleagues and I said what we had to say. We were told that was the path we had to follow and that we would later return to the other.
By who was my superior at the time.
But how is it possible for an ambassador's visit to intimidate or direct the investigation in that way?
By the servility we have before the English. The Judiciary, Prosecutor's Office and government felt intimidated by the UK. The misstep was the statement talking about an abduction.
Did Madeleine's parents have a special treatment?
In what I call my naivety, I'll stick by the fact that they belong to a British upper middle class and that they don't like their doctors to make a mess abroad and be condemned for it.
Gonçalo Amaral in Praia da Luz in early April
Photo: Bruno Colaço/Correio da Manhã
Ten years later what is the self-criticism that you do?
I should not have retired from the PJ. I should have stayed instead - since the police directorate did not defend me nor my colleagues from the assaults targeting us - and written the book as a PJ employee. I should not have allowed us to be the target of so many pressures. When the couple went away, the British police that were here cooperating with us also left. We were left with the feeling that they had been here only to protect the couple. We were overly sincere and then we got our pay back. For example, we sent the forensic evidence to be tested in the English laboratory, when that analysis could have been done in a Portuguese one, so we wouldn't be accused that we had manipulated the final results. We were naive and too diplomatic.
Is this case of particular anguish for you?
Not the case itself. Not even the legal action brought against me. The anguish was what they did to me outside the case. The intrusion on my personal life, the destabilization of the person, the attacks, the insults and taking away all the chances of having a professional activity as I wished to have. This was forbidden for me. This didn't happen only within the legal action, there were plenty schemes being played outside that.
Is your back turned to the previous direction of PJ?
No, I'm making a criticism and I have that right. You do not get rid of a senior police officer to defend a couple suspected at the very least of child neglect, which led to the disappearance. It was almost a lack of respect to make the decision that it was an abduction and make it public. That was not looking at the investigation objectively. If this investigation ever comes to an end and if it proves that the parents have nothing to do with the case, that's fine.
in Sábado magazine, n.678 edition, extract of a six-pages spread article titled "The return of the inspector to the scene of the crime", published on April 27, 2017
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