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

SOS Madeleine McCann - "McCanns had access to confidential PJ information."

SOS Madeleine McCann 11/11/08

Maddie: the private (detectives) received help from a PJ mole.

A private Spanish detective reveals how the McCanns were able to have access to confidential police information in the Maddie case.

According to one of the Spanish detectives hired by Metodo 3 in the context of their contract with Kate and Gerry McCann, a PJ inspector allegedly gave confidential information to the Spanish agency concerning the movements of the Portuguese investigators and their British colleagues in the investigation into Maddie's disappearance.

The information thus obtained allowed the private detectives to inform the McCann couple and their entourage about work being planned by the Portuguese investigators: "Several of Amaral's men's initiatives failed thanks to information given by their colleague...but there was also information coming from informers linked to the British embassy," this detective states.

"This is the information that allowed us to know in advance what inspector Amaral and his colleagues wanted to do," the private detective continues during an interview recently recorded in Spain, stressing that, "the investigation would probably have ended differently without the intervention of the private (detectives), but also of certain British professionals."

In his interview, video recorded in unusual conditions, and which will be included in a documentary for television about Madeleine McCann's disappearance, the Spanish detective clearly identifies the PJ inspector and also puts forward, "that he benefited from a certain protection by the PJ at Faro."

The detective goes further and states, "that at times when the investigation was closed, thanks to information received from the Portuguese inspector, we created diversions in the media."

"That didn't always work, because I noticed that certain operations were set up without our knowing in advance. I imagine that Amaral must have had his suspicions and that he limited access to information to men he trusted," the detective adds.

"The investigation was practically condemned in advance...we knew in advance what Amaral was preparing and the desired objective in his operations," states the detective who, after several months of working for Metodo 3, had even tried to make contact with the Portimao DIC coordinator, before he was dismissed from the investigation: "I had personally met Gonçalo Amaral a few years ago, but he mustn't have remembered me and as soon as he heard that I was linked to Metodo 3 he refused to speak to me, arguing that if I had important information to bring to the case, this should be done in an official manner."

"He (Gonçalo Amaral) was known to us as a hard guy, in particular in cases of fighting drug trafficking...he is incorruptible," the detective concludes.

The revelation which risks creating controversy around the Algarve PJ, meanwhile confirms the suspicions raised by certain investigators. At least two PJ inspectors, contacted by SMM, directly put forward the name of the inspector who allegedly passed on the confidential information to the detectives of the Spanish agency. According to them, the man benefited from a certain protection from the Faro commission and his behaviour was not new, because he had allegedly previously committed the same offence in other investigations.

"We are no longer looking for Maddie....me, in any case, I was never hired to do that."

According to the same detective, he was allegedly never hired to look for Madeleine MCann: "We are no longer looking for Maddie..me, in any case, I was never hired to do that. All I was asked to do was gather the most details serving to direct the Portuguese investigation towards Morocco or Spain.

This former detective - who is no longer able to carry on his work - further states that the Spanish agency allegedly led British journalists to Morocco for them to meet previously selected and paid witnesses: "the aim was to spread the Moroccan lead in the media and thus confirm that it was indeed an abduction, which the Portuguese and British police did not want to believe," states the detective, stressing that he is unable to say whether theMcCanns were behind this kind of operation.

"The couple never asked me to lie about anything whatsoever. Unfortunately, I cannot say the same about the agency or the couple's entourage," the detective concludes.

(Editor's note: so who did ask him to lie? And about what?)

Duarte Levy