Tuesday, 11 November 2008

Portugal: Marinho Pinto and the Bar Association in a serious conflict of interests

SOS Maddie Blogspot 11/11/08

An obvious sign of unease for the Portuguese legal system, the decision by the Bar Association, for the second time in its history, to constitute itself as assistant in a new trial against the PJ inspectors, is now seen as a serious conflict of interests. The decision taken by the president of the bar, Marinho Pinto, is viewed with suspicion by certain people because there could be private interests, because in this new trial - which begins this Wednesday before the court in Lisbon - the alleged victim is defended by Jerónimo Martins, vice-president of the association, and by Bárbara Marinho Pinto, daughter of the president of the bar.

The Bar Association, under the leadership of Marinho Pinto, had already drawn attention to itself when it became assistant in the ongoing trial in the Faro court, against five other PJ inspectors, accused of acts of torture against Léonor Cipriano, amongst them Gonçalo Amaral.

Curiously, the decision taken by the Bar Association (OA) could also be seen as a conflict of interests if account is taken of Marinho Pinto's role in the disclosure of photos of the supposed physical results of assault on Joana's mother, before he became president of the bar.

If account is taken of Gonçalo Amaral, former coordinator of the PJ in the investigation into Madeleine McCann's disappearance, being one of the accused in the ongoing trial at the court in Faro, where the Bar Association is assistant, the case risks becoming even more embarrassing, because Bárbara Marinho Pinto, daughter of the current president of the bar, works for the office of Rogério Alves, former president of the bar and lawyer for Kate and Gerry McCann.

Meanwhile, the situation was denounced today, in statements to the Portuguese daily, Correio da Manha, by António Pires de Lima, former president of the Bar Association. According to this jurist, there is an obvious and serious, "moral incompatibility" between the private interests of Marinho Pinto and those of the Bar Association of which he is the public face. On this matter, António Pires de Lima does not rule out the possibility of there being a "legal incompatibility".

In this new trial, an official of the CP - the equivalent of the SNCF in France - accuses five inspectors of assault during an interrogation even if he only identifies three, the events going back to March 2000.

The trial is part of open conflict between the PJ and the Public Prosecutor.

The ongoing trial in the court at Faro, between Léonor Cipriano's memory lapses and the her lawyer's persecution of Gonçalo Amaral, would only be one more episode in the conflict between the Public Ministry's judges and the PJ. This is the conclusion that comes from analysis of the written records and other documents in the trial where the former coordinator of the PJ's Portimao Department of Criminal Investigation (DIC) appears in the dock accompanied by four other inspectors.

To be continued.

SOS Maddie Blogspot

Duarte Levy: 11/11/08

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