After her interrogation at PJ headquarters’, in Portimão, Philomena McCann, Gerry’s sister was in charge of a “disinformation campaign”, quoting Kate McCann: the Portuguese police offered her a “plea bargain”: “If she confessed ‘to having accidentally killed Madeleine (…) and then hid her and then disposed of the body, then we can grant you a two-year jail sentence or even less”, according to “The Telegraph”.
Philomena McCann was even invited to a debate about the case, on the program “Larry King Live”, and said, on the phone: If Kate “just said that she accidentally killed Madeleine (…) she would be given a sentence, you know, very reduced, like two years or even less, if, something that she's never going to say because there's no truth in it whatsoever”, she said.
The “statement” of Philomena McCann was “confirmed” by Robert Moore, the ITN correspondent in Portugal, during the same debate: “I'm hearing the same from my sources here, essentially, it is extraordinary how the Portuguese investigators have handled Kate McCann, in particular. They simply said to her if you confess to killing Madeleine, we can guarantee that you'll have two or three years in prison. They even suggested that she'd be out free again after a year, she'd be able to see her twins grow up”, he said.
Meanwhile, Philomena McCann continued her relentless campaign of “disinformation”, talking to several Media organizations. She told Sky News “that the Portuguese police were suggesting that her sister-in-law accidentally killed Madeleine, hid the body and then disposed of it (…) I've never heard anything so ludicrous in my life," she said. Philomena McCann told also to ITV News that the Portuguese police offered Kate McCann a plea deal through her lawyer. The “Daily Mail” went into more details, quoting the book “Vanished”, written by Kate McCann: “The plea-bargain offer was put to the McCann’s by their lawyer, Carlos Pinto de Abreu. He told them Mrs. McCann could get ‘only two years’ if she admitted Madeleine had died in an accident in the apartment, and confessed to hiding and later disposing of her body.” Mrs. McCann, 43, wrote, according to the newspaper quote: ‘Pardon? I wasn’t sure I could possibly have heard him correctly. Did they really expect me to confess to a crime they had made up, to falsely claim to the whole world that my daughter was dead, when the result would be that the whole world stopped looking for her?’ (*)
The only problem is that “plea bargain”, a system widely used in the United States, simply does not exist in the Portuguese legal system. Police has no power or authority to propose, negotiate or suggest prison sentences, in exchange of whatever it could be. Only on a trial court, the judges have the power to decide the sentence to be applied. And, of course, they take in consideration all details of the case. The “disinformation campaign” about the alleged “plea bargain” was “killed” by the own Portuguese lawyer of the McCann, Pinto de Abreu.
Perhaps tired and a little bit ashamed (as a lawyer…) to see his name involved in such kind of campaign, he talked to the Media, and made it clear, as “The Guardian” referred, on its edition of September 17, 2007:
“Police were still questioning Gerry McCann when, already, his sister Philomena was telling Sky they had offered Kate McCann a reduced two-year sentence if she admitted to killing her daughter accidentally, hiding the body and then secretly disposing of it weeks later (…) On this occasion the police officers were right to be angry. Like many things said about the McCann affair over the past days and months, the story was wrong. There was no offer of a plea bargain. It had all been "a misunderstanding", the McCann lawyer, Carlos Pinto de Abreu, explained the following day.”, “The Guardian” wrote.
(*) Edited at 00:47, May 25 2018 - This is a detail I missed, when I wrote this post. The book "Vanished” was published in 2011. Kate McCann ignored completely the public denial of her own lawyer, who told the Media there was no “plea bargain” proposal. She wrote about the fabricated story of the “plea bargain” as if it was truth and not just another disinformation campaign of the McCann.