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The British secret files (I & II)

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The British secret files (I & II)

Post  Guest on Fri 8 Aug - 7:08

On July 21, 2008, following the letter sent by the Association of Chief Police Officers (ACPO), the Public Prosecutor from Portimão, gave orders to delay the notification of the McCann and Murat lawyers until the Judge from the Criminal Court (CC) decided what part of the investigation files could be accessed, taking into account the arguments advanced in the ACPO letter. This was the reason why lawyers of the three "arguidos" knew about the decision to shelve the case through the Media, after the head of Public Prosecutor's Office issued the statement with the final decision.

Judge Pedro Frias replied asking to the Public Prosecutor to define, exactly, what could be considered as not suitable to be given access, according to legal rules – privacy protection and specific requests from the Portuguese Penal Code Rules about what kind of documents must be part of the investigation files.

On July 23, the Public Prosecutor sent a detailed information, with the page numbers, concerning the information that either was related with personal data of people that was investigated and had no connection with the case, or information sent by Crimestoppers. A few hundred pages were referred as having information that should not be available for consultation.

Also five volumes with intelligence about sexual crimes and other kind of crimes, from several sources, including British police, were considered to violate privacy rights and lack connection with the case.

Final decison

The Public Prosecutor proposed to the Criminal Court judge that those pages and the five volumes should be taken out from the investigation files and remained secret. The same day, Judge Pedro Frias received the formal request from the Portuguese Lawyers hired by the Association of Chief Police Officers (ACPO), the Chief Constable of Leicestershire, the Serious Organised Crime Agency (SOCA), Crimestoppers and several British police forces and judicial bodies – a request that he dismissed, as he considered that none of those institutions, associations and police forces had the legal right to make it. With some irony, he added a comment, referring that it seemed those organizations and police forces wanted to act as if they were the Portuguese Public Prosecutor's Office.

However, the Criminal Court judge accepted the proposal from the Public Prosecutor and decided to keep secret a few hundred pages mentioned as having personal data that could violate privacy rights and were not considered related with the case. He also accepted the request to keep confidential all information – five volumes - made available by Crimestoppers.

Duarte Levy and Paulo Reis
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Re: The British secret files (I & II)

Post  Guest on Fri 8 Aug - 7:09

On July 17, 2008, the head of the Association of Chief Police Officers (ACPO) sent a letter to the Public Prosecutor Melchior Gomes, after a meeting with him, complaining about the intention of Portuguese authorities to give access to third parties to informations sent by British police to PJ, because, among other reasons, a large part of the intelligence reports from British police had unsubstantiated information related with identifiable persons. The letter was reviewed by William Hughes, head of Serious Organized Crime Agency (SOCA) and is signed by Ken Jones, chairman of ACPO. The arguments on this letter are exactly the same that were used, latter, by Portuguese lawyers, hired to present a formal request to Portuguese authorities, asking for those informations to remain confidential, according to the investigation files.

The Association of Chief Police Officers (ACPO), the Chief Constable of Leicestershire, the Serious Organised Crime Agency (SOCA), Crimestoppers and several British police forces and judicial bodies presented a formal request to the Portuguese Public Prosecutor's Office to keep secret almost all the information made available by those organizations to PJ.

One of the most prestigious Portuguese legal offices – “Morais Leitão, Galvão Teles, Soares da Silva and Associates” - was hired to present the request with those demands, after the Public Prosecutor's Office issued the statement declaring the case shelved, on July 21, 2008.

Privacy rights in danger

They justified the request, presented on July 23, 2008, because most of the information was sent to PJ by informal channels, not following the formal procedures of “Letters of Request”, and argued that making public such information as personal data could collide with privacy rights.

There was also the risk of jeopardizing future British police investigations, because some information was related with techniques and strategies used by British police. Advise from National Policing Improvement Agency (NPIA) was quoted as an example. Also, shared intelligence reports should not be made public, for obvious reasons, said the lawyers representing those organizations.

The request pointed also to large amount of data sent by Crimestoppers. As the protection of the identity of sources of information is basic, for the work of Crimestoppers, the lawyers argued that not keeping it secret would be a breach of the rules of cooperation defined between authorities and those sources.

Future cooperation at risk

The formal request emphasized that not respecting these limits, when access to files was given, could seriously undermine all future cooperation with Portuguese Judicial bodies. It's even argued that the referred British institutions and police forces would never have sent that information to PJ, if they had any doubts about the commitment of Portuguese authorities to keep it confidential.

Resuming the request, the lawyers asked for all information sent without a “Letter of Request” to be kept secret or, if Portuguese authorities didn't accept this demand, to reduce it just to personal data concerning suspected and registered sexual offenders and all information sent by Crimestoppers. They also requested a CD copy of all investigation files, in order to evaluate the specific information sent by the British police forces, judicial bodies and other institutions. A final demand was to suspend all access to the investigation files, until the request was decided.

Duarte Levy and Paulo Reis
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Re: The British secret files (I & II)

Post  Guest on Fri 8 Aug - 7:12

Morning Jacqui, I expect your off to bed soon, I am just having a read, this sad case gets weirder evryday and I am having trouble keeping up with all this new, we now have this stam woman claiming it was maddie she saw, too much whacky backy springs to mind with her and maybe a financial reward..its a load of cods.
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