Leonor Cipriano was convicted with her brother Joao Cipriano, of murdering Leonor's daughter and then disposing her body in the most macabre, spine chilling of ways. Leonor's lawyer was Dr Joao Grade dos Santos. Dr Grade received no financial recompense for representing Leonor and her brother, although legal aid was granted in their case. In Portugal if you are granted legal aid and need a lawyer to be paid out of that grant, the court actually appoints a lawyer, the defendant cannot choose a lawyer of their choice. Dr Marcos Aragao Correia, Leonor's present lawyer, also receives no financial recompense, he is expected to represent Leonor Cipriano for nothing. Leonor cannot pay him, she is very poor and has no money.
Leonor Cipriano Arriving At Court For Last Year's Trial
So weak, she Had to Be Helped Along By Two Prison Guards
With so many miscarriages of justices occurring in Portugal, with the same story of people not being adequately represented, this is probably the reason why!
Dr Grade seemed to be doing a reasonable job of representing Leonor and then all of a sudden that changed, here we will attempt to understand the reasons why that suddenly changed.
In 2005, Leonor Cipriano, along with her brother, Joao, were found guilty of murdering eight-year old Joana Cipriano after she was reported missing in September 2004.
They were found guilty by a court of three judges and four jurors, they received prison sentences of 20 and 19 years respectively, since their sentences have been reduced on appeal to 16 years each.
In April 2008 Joao Grade was arrested as he prepared to visit two prisoners in Beja prison, after drugs were detected in two bags he maintains he was carrying in for the two inmates. Amphetamines equivalent to approximately 45 doses street value and also a quantity of ecstasy tablets.
On March 26th 2008, one month before Joao Grade was found to be carrying drugs in his possession, Goncalo Amaral along with four of his lower ranking colleagues PJ inspectors Paulo Pereira Cristovao, Leonel Marques, Paulo Marques Bom and Antonio Cardoso, were committed to jury trial by Joaquim da Cruz, an investigating judge. In May 2009, Goncalo Amaral was found guilty of falso testimunho (perjury) and given an 18 month suspended prison sentence.
Strangely in a country where they beat you up for traffic violations, Dr Grade made a plea to the court that he did not know the drugs were in his possession and the court accepted his plea, what a pity they did not extend the same kind of understanding towards Leonor Cipriano, where on no evidence at all, and nowhere near proved beyond a shadow of a doubt, that woman was convicted of the most heinous of crimes.
Where is the justice?
Where was her "lawyer" Dr Joao Grade?
Why did he not bring to the court's attention the many inconsistencies in the "alleged confession" obtained under torture, aided and abetted by disgraced former detective Goncalo Amaral?
Dr Grade, also said he was confident that he would be able to clear his clients once their appeal was heard, as he believed their guilt had not been proven beyond a reasonable doubt.
Since the guilty verdict was announced, a number of Portugal's leading lawyers and judges have spoken out against the decision. One judge at Leonor's trial insisted on going on record as stating that he thinks Leonor Cipriano is innocent.
After a complaint to the DA was made by the Director of the Prison of Odemira, Dr Ana Maria Calado. Then soon after, Dr Marinho Pinto, who was at the time a journalist and now President of the Bar, made a front page report about Leonor’s torture in the newspaper "Expresso", which forced the investigation to go deeper.
With all of this to go on and the indictment of Amaral
Dr Grade still could not piece together a robust defense for his client, Leonor Cipriano, it was almost as if he was trying to defend Leonor with his hands tied behind his back.
It was alleged by Dr Ana maria Calado, that having been questioned for 48 hours, Leonor confessed only as the result of a serious and vicious assault.
Leonor Cipriano's Injuries After She Had been viciously and Brutally Beaten During her Torture in Police Custody.
The Torture Has Since Been Proved In court
This is the woman that Dr Joao grade was supposed to be representing in court.
Is this the same Dr Joao Grade dos Santos, that now holds Goncalo Amaral, an officer he helped to convict in high esteem? So high, that he has now become the disgraced former PJ coordinators advocate and plans to train the convicted criminal to be a lawyer?
Is this the same Dr Joao Grade dos Santos, that has now pledged to testify in favour of Goncalo Amaral at his forthcoming trial, where he will stand trial once again accused of torture, this time the torture of Leandro Silva, Leonor Cipriano's partner?
Is this the same Dr Joao Grade dos Santos, who attended the 50th birthday party of Goncalo Amaral and who dined with another member of the five former PJ inspectors he helped send for trial, Pierre Paulo Cristovoa? The simple answer to those questions is yes!
How can Dr Grade in all honesty testify in favour of Amaral at his trial where he stands accused of torturing another member of the family, he represented and helped to convict by getting them indicted?
How did Dr Joao Grade dos Santos manage to get off of the charge of drug smuggling in a country where they arrest you, take you into a room for questioning and then beat you to within an inch of your life, for even minor misdemeanors?
Strange business this lawyer thing, very strange!
Could it be that Dr Joao Grade dos Santos is in fear of his life and that of the safety of his family?
Until 1974 Portugal was a dictatorship, this was the climate in which the PJ was created and their methods were notoriously brutal.
In a country where brutal treatment of suspects was routine. The mother of one expatriate British woman had been arrested in the late 1980's on suspicion of a petty crime and she was savagely beaten while in custody, she was found to have extensive and deep bruising all over her body. Of course, the police said they hadn't done anything, and they were never called to account.
Leonor Cipriano dispensed the services of Dr Grade and employed the services of Dr Marcos Aragao Correia. Dr Correia has subsequently ran a successful trial in getting Goncalo Amaral convicted and having Goncalo Amaral charged with the torture of Leonor's partner, Leandro Silva.
Against this backdrop in Portugal, perhaps we should not be too surprised that the Lawyer that just successfully had five ex Portuguese detectives accused and charged with various serious crimes, ranging with torture and perjury, in the March of 2008, was himself "apparently" caught in possession of drugs as he "apparently" tried to smuggle them into a prison, just one month later in April 2008. Coincidence? Even the birthday party of Goncalo Amaral could not pass without incident!
Leonor's present lawyer and the former "friend" of Amaral and her husband, were aggressed in the street as they stood watching Amaral's firework party! (This is the party that Dr Joao Grade dos Santos also attended as a guest of Amaral's)
Dr Aragao Correia was pulled through his open car window and threatened, while the husband of Amaral's former "friend" was punched repeatedly in the face by people that came from the party, allegedly sent by Goncalo Amaral. The police were called and the incident reported and the three who were attacked, were given incident report numbers, also the Portimao attorney general was informed.
Yet Dr Grade is to testify in favour of Goncalo Amaral?
Strange? You bet!