‘Missing’ cellphone of murdered Portimão teen “found in stepfather’s bedroom in Brazil”

It’s the first chink of light that follows news that Brazilian authorities are investigating the case of murdered Portimão schoolboy Rodrigo Lapa (click here).

Rodrigo’s ‘missing’ cellphone has been found in the bedroom of ‘principal suspect’, stepfather Joaquim Lara Pinto who fled Portugal for his hometown in Brazil before authorities could talk to him.

Brazil’s online newspaper Olhar Direto says the information has been confirmed by Portuguese defence lawyer Pedro Proença who took up this case for Rodrigo’s father Sérgio and has been pushing for Lara Pinto to be put on trial in Brazil ever since (A trial is impossible in Portugal as there is no mechanism in place to extradite Brazilian nationals to face justice here).

Says the paper, Proença only this week received access to the original PJ case files sent to Brazil.

In them, it is stated that during a search conducted by PJ inspectors in the company of Brazilian federal agents, Rodrigo Lapa’s cellphone was discovered “in the room of the accused”.

Explains Proença, biological and physical evidence “unquestionably indicate” that Lara Pinto is “the perpetrator of the murder”.

Lara Pinto’s lawyers have been “confronted with evidence obtained by the PJ of Portimão that point without any doubt to Joaquim Lara being the murderer”, he stressed – adding that latex gloves discovered nest to Rodrigo’s body were analysed for DNA which again flagged “the presence” of Lara Pinto.

There is even more, writes Olhar Direto, which the Federal Mato Grosso prosecutor’s office “cannot pass to the press”.

So what stands in the way of closure in this terrible case that shocked so many people in 2016 (click here)?

Pedro Proença is to petition the Attorney General’s Office, in Brazil, requesting “urgent intervention” to finally see Lara Pinto taken before a judge.

Proença will also ask for a special representative to accompany the case and keep authorities in Portugal up to speed.

“This is the only way we can assure justice that has taken so long for the young Portuguese victim of a brutal crime”, he told Olhar Direto, which reminds its readers that Lara Pinto’s lawyer’s argument, back in September of 2017, was to claim that his client had “no discernment”.

A psychiatric report was produced to suggest Lara Pinto was incapable of giving a testimony.

This stance however followed the lawyer’s first statement to the effect that Lara Pinto was “keen to talk and demonstrate his innocence”.

In other words, at some point, Lara Pinto must have been capable of discernment.

Pedro Proença has always accepted that this is an incredibly difficult case to get to trial for the simple fact that Portugal and Brazil don’t usually cooperate with each other over judicial cases.

But it hasn’t meant that he has given up trying.

Reaction to Olhar Direto’s ‘exclusive’ in Brazil yesterday has seen a flurry of support over social media with comments congratulating Proença on all his efforts.

Rodrigo Lapa was a teenager who had many friends in Portimão who were all devastated as the terrible story became apparent (click here).

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