Algarve businessman Filipe Silva was due to be sentenced in Faro’s Court for Minors and Family last Friday, for unlawfully withholding his then seven-year-old daughter Giselle – widely referred to in the media as Ellie – from her British-Irish mother, Candice Gannon, for six months spanning September 2012 to February 2013.
However the sentencing was again postponed to allow for the new witnesses – two people, according to Lusa News Agency – to be heard later this month.
Sentencing was originally due to have taken place on 20 May but was postponed until June reportedly to allow Faro court time to “analyse facts that could change the original position”, Lusa reported.
On 20 May Faro court said it was “relevant to understand what happened after the separation” of Filipe Silva and Candice Gannon.
According to Lusa, the judge in charge of the case sent the defence and the prosecution a 27-page file containing 46 facts that indicated changes to how the case had been perceived thus far, and giving them until last Friday to analyse those facts.
As a result the defence asked for new witnesses to be heard, which the court accepted, with the new hearing being set for 24 June.
The case dates back to 2012, when Silva kept his daughter from her mother, who then lived on the Portuguese island of Madeira, and disobeyed a court order to hand her back.
In the several months of her absence the child is believed to have lived with her father in Porto, and he allegedly limited contact between Ellie and her mother.
Ellie was eventually returned to Candice in February 2013 by her paternal grandmother after Filipe Silva was detained by PJ police.
Candice Gannon currently lives in Ireland with husband Philip and their three young children.
Silva’s defence argues the businessman acted out of desperation, alleging he feared his daughter was going to be taken to Ireland to live and the child had said she did not want to go.
Speaking to The Portugal News, Candice Gannon was critical of the Portuguese legal system, claiming that this trial “is becoming one of the longest trials in Faro court history.”
If found guilty of kidnapping, Silva faces up to ten years in jail.