ALTHOUGH CONSTRAINED by the Portuguese secrecy of justice code on the release of information during a crime investigation, Polícia Judiciária did appoint an official spokesman for the Madeleine case.
Initially, Chief-inspector Olegário Sousa held the role and represented the more communicative period of the investigation about Madeleine’s disappearance.
For several months he was the public face of the investigation, briefing and giving interviews to representatives from the local,
national and overseas media.
On September 17, however, he was called to return to his Lisbon team as the investigation entered a new phase, with the Portimão public prosecutor assuming control of the case.
The chief inspector, who always criticised the information leaks affecting the investigation, particularly to the Portuguese-language press, returned to normal police duties, leading a team of investigators in a department at the Lisbon PJ office dedicated to art robberies and connected crimes.
On October 8 another person who would become famous in connection with the Madeleine McCann investigation was appointed. Paulo Rebelo, a top investigator and a man close to and trusted by Alípio Ribeiro, the national director of the Polícia Judiciária, was asked to replace Gonçalo Amaral, head of the Portimão PJ department.
Gonçalo Amaral led the investigation for several months under severe criticism from the media and public opinion.
After very polemic statements to a Portuguese newspaper, accusing the British police of only following tips put forward by Gerry and Kate McCann, Amaral was ordered to step down from the case and from the regional office by the PJ’s national director.
With a professional look that aims to better illustrate the new generation of criminal investigators, Paulo Rebelo was described to the media as experienced in criminal investigation and a very diplomatic and prudent investigator, although with “a strong attitude”.
Since he took office, leaks about the Madeleine case are more controlled and different lines of the investigation are being re-confirmed.
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