Sentencing due today on Algarve kidnap dad helped covertly by Portuguese authorities

Sentencing is due today on Filipe Silva – the Vilamoura businessman who kidnapped his British daughter ‘Ellie’ for seven months, with all kinds of collusion from the Portuguese authorities.

As Ellie’s distraught mother Candice ran Facebook appeals and a high-profile campaign for her daughter’s recovery, Ellie was being kept from her in the full knowledge of a court magistrate and her father’s lawyer (click here).

No action was taken against the magistrate, though an official complaint against the lawyer is currently being considered by the Porto law association.

Also complicit in the cover-up was a television station that aired a report in Silva’s favour hours before Ellie was due to be reunited with her mother.

It was just a quirk of fate that saw the child run into the arms of her stepfather before the documentary was aired.

Philip Gannon told us at the time, “if we hadn’t got out when we did, I wouldn’t have rated our chances” (click here).

Ahead of Faro criminal court’s decision today, Gannon and his wife issued a statement..

Comparing the treatment of Silva to that of another Algarve kidnap dad Paulo Guiomar, they stressed the favourable terms so far afforded Silva.

In Guiomar’s case, the former maritime police agent was “remanded in custody when captured and given three years in prison when sentenced”.

But “when Silva was captured he was given full visitation rights and a trial for full custody by the Faro Family court.”

Figures recently released by Dr. Patricia Cipriano of the Portuguese Missing Children’s charity APCD ( http://www.ap-cd.pt ) show that parental kidnapping in Portugal is at an all time high. “Often with tragic results”, say the couple.

“We are aware of numerous cases of parental kidnaping in Portugal that are not being because the crime of ‘Child Abduction’ is not considered seriousness enough”, they add, stressing that article 249 of the Criminal Code of Portugal punishes child abduction by imprisonment of just two years, or a fine of up to 240 days, even when the child is abducted “by violent or coercive means”.

“Maybe tomorrow’s decision will make a difference to all those parents that have had their children taken off them in direct breach of court decisions on custody”, they say, with the inference clear that very possibly it won’t.

“It should not have been so difficult to apply the rule of law in Portugal”, they conclude.

Thanking newspapers for the support given to their side of this long-running case, the couple stress Ellie is now a “very happy child” doing well at school with lots of friends.

Despite ‘full visitation rights’, Silva has not travelled over to Ireland to see his daughter since she was returned to her mother (click here).

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