The case involving Vilamoura businessman Filipe Silva, who kidnapped his daughter Ellie in 2012 after a period of parental access, is over.
Silva today received a 2½ year suspended sentence and has been ordered to pay compensation of €7,000 to Ellie's mother, Candice Gannon, and €9,000 to his own daughter for the distress caused by his actions.
Silva's abduction of his daughter Ellie sparked a nationwide police search which led finally to an apartment in Oporto and Silva's arrest on charges of kidnap.
The leniency of today's judgement has left Ellie’s mother, Candice Gannon, disgusted with the Portuguese justice system when it comes to child kidnapping and appalled at the insulting level of compensation for the substantial pain, suffering and distress Filipe Silva has caused her and her family.
Silva faced up to ten years in jail, but has run rings around the court and legal system while endeavouring to present himself as the aggrieved party.
The level of collusion within the Portuguese legal system to help Silva has been shocking.
Not only was a court official feeding Silva information about the kidnap hunt after Ellie had been abducted in 2012, Silva’s lawyer was fully aware of Ellie’s whereabouts but did nothing to alert the authorities despite a desperate nationwide search being underway.
Filipe Silva, a well-off Vilamoura businessman, failed to pay a cent in child support and in court a witness claimed Silva had abducted his own daughter ‘out of desperation’ as he did not want Ellie to move to Ireland.
Ellie’s mother, Candice Gannon, has custody of her daughter. Her family life is in Ireland so it seems sensible that her daughter lives there too and there was never any suggestion that Silva's parental access would be denied.
Silva ended up receiving legal aid with the taxpayer paying his legal fees.
Ellie’s mother said by video-link from Ireland during Silva’s trial that her daughter was "deeply marked by the period in which she was held by her natural father in Oporto, was undergoing daily therapy and has been suffering from anxiety with troubled sleep and low self-confidence.”
Candice Gannon today hit out, “This sentence comes as no surprise to me. I have learned to expect very little justice from Faro courts”
“Thankfully Ellie is safe and well and very happy living in a country that believes in enforcing the law.”
Another father in a high-profile Algarve kidnapping is Paulo Guiomar, who received a sentence of three years in prison having been remanded in custody due to the seriousness of the charges. Filipe Silva was at liberty before his trial and remains so.
Ellie’s mother today commented further, "I am disgusted by the leniency of this sentence. The Algarve is well known for not taking child kidnapping too seriously”
“Despite the disgraceful decision to suspend this sentence, we are very pleased that this ordeal is finally over and we are looking forward to going back to enjoying our family life in Ireland where child protection is taken somewhat more seriously.”
“Needless to say we are raging with the leniency of this sentence, but we sort of knew all along that they would let him away with it.”
Filipe Silva failed to show up in court to hear his sentence. Instead, he sent in a sick note.