Friday, 11 July 2008

Madeleine's investigation: Public Prosecutors have three weeks to decide

The head of Public Prosecutor's Office, Mr. Pinto Monteiro, asked the Public Prosecutors in charge of Madeleine's case to decide within the next three weeks. Luís Verão, a District Prosecutor, and Magalhães e Menezes have received a report from PJ and are doing an “overall analysis to determine whether or not other action is necessary or whether the conditions are sufficient to rule that the investigation be closed and a final ruling made," according to an official statement from the head of Public Prosecutor's Office.

The PJ report is very detailed but has no conclusions or suggestions about what should be the next step, in this investigation, leaving all the responsibility of that decision with the Public Prosecutors. In the Portuguese legal system, any crime investigation is directed by a Public Prosecutor, to whom PJ investigators are subordinated and only the Public Prosecutor's Office has the legal authority to decide if the investigation should continue or not.

According to a high ranking investigator from PJ Faro Department, “the fact that no conclusions were made, in the report sent to the Public Prosecutors, is a way of emphasizing the responsibility of the Public Prosecutors, Judges and politicians in this case.” The same source said that “PJ never had a chance to do a 'quiet' investigation... There were interferences and pressure, particularly from British authorities and their representatives in Portugal.” British police officers who have been in Algarve, following the case, “also admitted the same kind of interferences”, the PJ investigator said.

Now, Public Prosecutors must have the courage to read, understand and analyse our report. It's for them to decide what will be done, next, and to show if there will be courage to confront the British”, concluded the PJ investigator.

McCann lawyers warning to Prosecutor Luís Verão

On October last year, McCann legal team was carrying out a private investigation, “interviewing every witness they can find to the events of May”, according to the Daily Mail: “The lawyers will give their defence dossier directly to prosecutor Luis Bilro Verão. They hope that Mr Verão will compare their evidence alongside that gathered by the Algarve police, and throw out the case.”

A friend of the family, quoted by Daily Mail, said that the McCann legal team, which includes Mr. Rogério Alves and Mr. Pinto de Abreu, (Mr. Rogério Alves was, at the time, President of Portuguese Bar and Mr. Pinto de Abreu was Chairman of the Human Rights Commission from the Portuguese Bar) “will make a direct approach to the Portuguese prosecutor's office. They will say, 'This is what we have got. We advise you not to go any further'."

Duarte Levy and Paulo Reis

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