21 Feb 2009

New Goncalo interview refers to sex offending/ Freedom of the Press? Law for Journalists by the Attorney General

Gerry McCann, getting down to the level of what he enjoys?

Goncalo, pictured above in contemplative mood gives ones of his frankest and best ever interviews and yet somehow a lot of what he says is ambiguous and could be interpreted in different ways. There was a lengthy argument on 3 As tonight, did he mean the British or Portuguese labs destroyed hair samples when conducting various tests on them, but does it matter, if the tests were inconclusive and the hair is no more, there could not have been very much hair to test. Do we want a continuing debate about who has shelved this case, given the clear indications the case is not of course shelved for the McCanns in UK where they can most certainly be brought to justice for their crimes. Almost like he wants to provoke continuing discussions and keep people wondering. He now alludes to the possibility of sex offending, which I have been alluding to for the last 12 months, refers to other options besides death in the apt, confirms PJ has read the texts messages but then goes on to say..later on when they became less interesting, so I am left wondering did he read the vital ones or just the less interesting ones? What is very clear he states he suspected the McCanns from the very first hour. Well indeed, just who were they trying to kid!

I can understand his point about the text messages, they happened the day before the apparent crime, when I would say it was still at its preparatory stage. This is not an issue of the judge needing to backdate consent for a tap at all. It is about him authorising the gathering of vital evidence. The PJ could hardly have applied to incercept Gerry McCanns text messages a full day before the crime was even reported to them. But I believe the answser to the Judge's obstruction here is that he knew British Police would have no difficulty accessing phone records and no difficulty in getting a British court to agree that evidence is admissible evidence against Gerry McCann when it comes to any criminal proceedings. Not once in this interview does Goncalo touch upon the issue of the case being dealt with in UK but in his book he confirms Portugal does not have jurisdiction to deal with the issue of fraud. Whether the McCanns were involved in her kidnapping, sexual abuse, fraud, or whether they were involved in her homicide and fraud, the fraud is a constant and means Portugal could not deal with this case. The simplest of reasons for that, is the fraud originated in the UK! The whole crime initiated in the UK. It is abundantly clear Gerry took four postcard sized pictures of Madeleine of two different images to ortugal with him and when the GNR requested passports and any photos those were handed over. Yet another fatal error from one who likes to think he is very clever. Not clever enough Mr McCann. The only problem both Portuguese and British Police have constantly faced is what, precisely, did you do with your little girl after your carried her down to the beach, where did she go, was she alive, was she sexually abused, was she dead? Those questions have to be answered. The Police can move no further until they do, and if Maddie is still alive, they will be using all means and yes probably including SAS etc to try and recover her. Then they will be charged. Gerry McCann has recently said he wants to co-operate with authorities. I honestly believe he would rather the Portuguese dealt with him and Kate because in certain respects there will be less admissible evidence against them. Is this why he needs to keep seeing his Portuguese lawyers and is this what Goncalo gently alludes to? Gerry McCann is one desperate man, but there is no escape for him, his wife, David Payne, Russell O'Brien and others. Jane Tanner you should remember what happened to Maxine Carr, she was a long way away when Huntley murdered but for lying and covering up, she got four years, think about it Jane, just think about it...you tell the truth and you may be a lot safer!



23 February 2009
Exclusive Interview with Former PJ Coordinator Gonçalo Amaral

"The political will does not exist; there is no political will to reopen at the moment, because if there was a political will it would mean that there was a political will before the process was closed, in order to continue the investigation. And when a process of this type is archived, with so many diligences to take care of, with so many facts that needed clarification, that’s because there was no will to continue the investigation and that was clear when we left the investigation on the 2nd of October [2007]." Gonçalo Amaral in Vigo, October 2008


video to follow

A collaborative interview by Duarte Levy, Joana Morais, Astro and Mercedes

All Rights Reserved © Joana Morais 2009

Transcript & Translation

Duarte Levy: You have now seen that the Constitutional Court has authorised the use of phone taps in the [football corruption] “Golden Whistle” case. Do you think it would be possible to see the same happening in the McCann case, taking into account that the judge didn’t authorise access to the registers and taps that were carried out at that time?

Gonçalo Amaral: The issue is not the permission to access the phone taps. He didn’t authorize the access to information concerning the text messages. That is related to a bureaucratic matter. When those text messages took place, there was no phone surveillance. The understanding of that judge… to access that information, that data, there would have to be a duly authorised phone tap first, it’s a procedural matter. Some think it’s not like that, others have a different understanding, the Public Ministry did not appeal the decision of the Appeals Court, and therefore the case was tried and closed.

DL: Did the PJ ever read the contents of those text messages?

GA: Yes it did. Later on, when it was not very interesting anymore. What was at stake was the situation of the national service providers.

DL: During the first phase of the inquiry, after the disappearance of Madeleine, the PJ offered the McCanns a mobile phone with a Portuguese chip that the McCanns never used. On the other hand, they used two phone numbers that were supplied to them by Portuguese friends. Were those phones under surveillance?

GA: That phone that was offered to them, was the one that was tapped, right? That phone was for them to receive calls, this was during those diligences that were related with possible extortions, from the Dutch and the Spanish and it was to find out, for them to give that number when necessary, when they were asked for a contact number and a way to listen into the conversation with the possible abductor asking for money. It’s a perfectly normal procedure. As for the other phones that they may have used, I do not know about that.

DL: In the case, during the first weeks, in some reports, in some cases similar to this one, with the same resemblances, often the parents are advised not to publicise the case, based on the principle that this publicity can place the child’s life at risk. Were the two first press conferences that were held by the McCanns carried out with the agreement, the authorization from the PJ?

GA: No. The same happened in this case. They were advised not to publicise and to be careful with the press. And the person who did that right away wasn’t even from the PJ, but a member of the English social services, who had been working in that area for 25 years, working with endangered children, with abuse situations, who was on vacation in the area, in Praia da Luz, who on the very morning of the 4th [of May] contacts the couple and alerts them to that. But she is thrown out of the house, we can say.

DL: At which point in time did you consider the McCanns to be suspects?

GA: Let’s see: In terms of suspicion, from the very first hour. The procedures in this type of case are to find out who the persons are, who the missing person is, in this case the missing child, and to find out all the antecedents. And now the first question that is asked from the English authorities, from the British police forces, is that one. Who were the parents, that group of people, and who was the child, was she the target of abuse, was she not. Then, it evolves, it’s a formal procedure, its general for all cases and when the first statements are made, that’s the day when we start to suspect that something is wrong. Things evolved, they were suspects until we reached the work of the English dogs and then the suspicions ultimately became indicia [evidence].

DL: During that whole phase, and until you were removed from the field, the English policemen that were in Praia da Luz, how was the cooperation with them? Was there actually cooperation?

GA: Yes. The cooperation was very tight, very intense; there are no doubts about that.

DL: So which part of the English authorities originated that blockade?

GA: That is certainly, and it was, coming from the top of the English hierarchy.

DL: The English policemen were invited to sign a confidentiality document. At the PJ, is that a normal procedure?

GA: No. And it’s not normal with the English police, either. It is normal in cases with the secret services, and that document is signed right at the beginning. Now with normal police, doing criminal investigation, that doesn’t happen.

DL: Concerning participations from outside of this case, it is normal for the ambassador, this has happened before in the Algarve, unfortunately, other cases involving British citizens. Is it normal for the ambassador to travel there?

GA: No. Neither in British cases nor non-British cases, they don’t have that responsibility. What is normal is for the information to be relayed by the consulate, that is what happens and only then the ambassador may come. And now we think that the ambassador came right away because of those initial suspicions and the first requests that were made which indicated that we suspected the couple, and he intervened in a manner that is not normal. He should have stayed in Lisbon, at the police’s National Directory, speaking with the National Director and not on location. And him leaving Portimão then led to a communiqué that the PJ somehow was “committed” to the abduction theory.

DL: Concerning other individuals that were connected with this case, the appearance of Brian Kennedy, namely during the meeting that he held with Murat, did the PJ ever find out about the purpose of that meeting?

GA: I was not in the investigation anymore during that phase, I had already left, but I know that this gentleman has gone as far as meeting people from the PJ after I left, which is not correct. Even more so because that gentleman brought certain Spanish detectives with him. That behaviour from the PJ’s senior officials in not the most acceptable one.

DL: Concerning not only this case, or other cases, how seriously could the events of the Madeleine case affect future cases?

GA: Well, in this case, like in all other cases, they affect the future [cases]. We have to learn from our mistakes and from the difficulties that we experienced. For example, in an earlier case, from 2004, the so-called “Joana case”, a disappearance as well, us investigators requested for the National Directory of the Police to intervene in a manner that would produce new regulations, new procedures for this type of inspection, to treat these disappearances. For example, there’s a very important issue. The disappearance in itself, when you go to a police station, or to the GNR or to the PJ, for missing persons, there is no specific competence for missing persons. There is no process for that. We have to investigate everything. The disappearance may or may not be related to a criminal situation and the issue may be whose competence is this? This has to be defined very quickly, we have been talking about that for a long time, over many cases and so far, nothing has been done about that. To define the competence from the outset. In all cases, the competence should be, at least in children’s cases, the PJ’s. Because many times what is at really the issue is that the disappearance has the parents’ intervention, in situations of divorce and there is a need and they take the children abroad, because it is the PJ that has the competence and the contacts on an international level, namely with Interpol, so the PJ dominates those channels for international cooperation, and from there, right away these cases should be the PJ’s competence, but that has not been defined. This leads to an initial intervention by the criminal police force that is informed of the disappearance. It’s always an intervention, almost always a disastrous intervention, because the more time goes by, the more pieces of evidence, opportunities to collect evidence are lost and only at a much later moment in time the PJ appears. When one thinks it’s an abduction, normally that’s what happens, it’s an abduction, it’s the PJ’s competence, nobody mentions a homicide or a voluntary disappearance, what is mentioned is abduction then it’s the PJ, and when we intervene it’s at a latter moment.

What happened in this case of Madeleine, we were called almost when the disappearance took place, only a few hours later, but still things went wrong. Why did they go wrong? Because there is a lack of said procedures concerning these situations. And this sensibility that many investigators have, to understand that an abduction is actually the theft of a person, but it cannot be handled like any theft. For example, all possibilities must be kept open, from a voluntary disappearance to, effectively, abduction, or homicide, or the death of the child. Therefore, it is necessary for the PJ to create this very quickly, I think they are doing that, I don’t think actually, I certain of it, there is already a commission that has been nominated to do that, to define those rules and those procedures for us to act. In my book I even mention it would be enough to follow the English, what the British authorities have concerning these situations. They have much more cases in situations of this type, don’t they? With the number of times that this happens in Portugal, maybe it doesn’t lead to, it hasn’t been that essential element that would lead the Police’s National Directory, or the Ministry of Justice to care for it, to feel the need for these new procedures. That’s where, that’s the manner in which it so often interferes. When there is a likelihood, the PJ acts. The PJ cannot be measured by one case. A PJ is measured through its entire history which is vast and includes many success cases, it is in fact one of the most successful police forces, on an international level, and also in this area of missing children, a very high success rate.

DL: In the Madeleine McCann case, who made the decision to send the analyses to Birmingham, to the FSS? In Portugal there is the National Institute [Forensic Medicine].

GA: This is the question. At that point in time, we were already feeling the pressure of the British media, we felt incompetent, that was what they said, and anything that we might do, would be questioned. It was a political decision by the PJ, but which was understandable at that point in time and it is still understandable now because it was a way of compromising, an attempt to compromise a British institution with the results that were to be found. If you ask me now if I would do the same today, I don’t think I would. Maybe there would be another laboratory, or at least, I wouldn’t have sent all the samples to that laboratory. But I can also tell you that at the IML, the Institute for Forensics Medicine, there was not the full capacity to carry out all of these tests, namely the low copy number analyses. Only in England, at this laboratory or at other laboratories outside of the country. We could have chosen another laboratory, but we opted for this one. It was a disaster. The decision was not disastrous; it was the tests that were disastrous to say the least.

DL: But do those samples still exist?

GA: No. They have all been destroyed. From the hair samples, it’s all been destroyed. There is a situation that is reported that is the following: there are several hairs, lots of hair is found in the car boot, in the car that was rented 23 days later, a comparison is made in terms of colour and colouration where they say yes indeed, these could be from the little girl, but then the laboratory says that they don’t manage, it doesn’t have any roots, they cannot define the DNA, they cannot define whether it’s from a living or a dead person, and when a team of Portuguese investigators go to the lab, accompanied by a Portuguese scientist, Dr. Francisco Corte Real, they ask for that hair, they went as far as holding that hair in their hands. And they had that hair, duly stored, that package with the hair, but then a report from the FSS appears in which they realize that they’d better keep them, and that later on they destroyed them in an attempt to define the DNA, or to discover whether it was from a living person or not, and they destroyed all of that hair. It’s a bit hard to understand how in order to define the DNA, or to carry out another test, such a quantity of hair has to be used, like there existed in Portugal as well, and then it wasn’t possible to perform analyses of other types, namely the possibility of sedatives that the little girl might have ingested or was forced to ingest.

DL: Among the English officers that participated in this case, there’s Stuart Prior, to what extent can we today, after you left the case, with everything that the press has already published from part of the Public Ministry’s process, to what extent can we say today that Stuart Prior cooperated in this case, or not?

GA: Stuart Prior initially appears, he appears as number 2 or number 3 of the British police. The senior officer…, who had a meeting with us, and the first person to come to Portugal on a personal level is him, he always had lots of contacts and interest in the investigation. Stuart Prior appears during a phase, later in Portugal, first it was in England. I particularly wouldn’t like to be in his shoes, with the options that he made in terms of the investigation, and not only that, in his political knowledge. He is a good policeman, he cooperated vastly with us, but it was him who said that he had arrested people in England with much less. So he probably knew the value of these indicia that already existed, but as to whether he made good options, only he can answer those questions.

DL: Last question, at this moment in time, in order to reopen the process, what elements are needed, or what could reopen the process and to what extent do you think that there is a political will in Portugal to do it?

GA: Now a process of this kind that is archived like this and remains waiting for better evidence, it needs just that: new elements of evidence, which means, new data. There are situations in the process which in our opinion have not been taken into account, which have not even been read or became known to those who had the duty to know it. Namely that statement from the couple of English doctors who mention a vacation in Mallorca, those situations where there were gestures and words indicating the existence of a child molester within that group of people who were on vacation and not even that was taken into account, because they didn’t read it, they had no knowledge. I cannot believe that they read such statements and passed over them.

If eventually those persons would make a new statement, again, with other details, certainly there are details that they didn’t remember, the process might be reopened. But also other data, other situations that might lead to the reopening of the process, namely someone from within the group may come to talk about something, for example, the invention of the surveillance scheme; it would have to be reopened. There are situations, like the FSS’s work, if some report appears, which might exist, that in fact there were not only 15 alleles but more than 15 alleles from the little girl’s DNA profile, situations of this type have to lead to the reopening of the process.

The political will does not exist; there is no political will to reopen at the moment, because if there was a political will it would mean that there was a political will before the process was closed, in order to continue the investigation. And when a process of this type is archived, with so many diligences to take care of, with so many facts that needed clarification, that’s because there was no will to continue the investigation and that was clear when we left the investigation on the 2nd of October [2007]. That will was lacking, what was necessary was to archive the process, there was a strong will to archive the process. Now, it will be very difficult for the process to be reopened but every citizen has a word to say and there are ways to intervene with the Attorney General in a manner that the process is reopened



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by Joana Morais









Law for Journalists Conference

Keynote address by the Attorney General

I thank the organisers of this conference for the invitation to speak to you today.

I am very pleased to have been able to accept because it gives me an opportunity to talk to you about my functions in relation to contempt of court and the responsibilities of the press in relation to the administration of justice. I know that for at least some in the media world my activities in this field have not been welcomed. I hope that what I say today will enable me to dispel some of the ideas I have seen suggested and for you to understand the concerns I have from time to time.

On the principles that apply in this field I doubt there will be much between us. The area of contempt brings together three very powerful and important rights: the freedom of the press; the defendant’s right to a fair trial and the right of the public to be informed and to have an effective and fair system of justice. But it is the application of these principles, the interaction between them, and the need to strike an appropriate balance, that makes this area so difficult. I am bound to say as well that how that balance is struck in the press does on occasion cause me a good deal of concern. I believe that I am not alone in that – some lawyers are concerned for example that these days we may see reporting about the background of the suspect at the time of the arrest that in previous years was usually only seen after a conviction. I hope to explain why it is important to continue to exercise a degree of restraint in the practice of responsible journalism which I know is the objective of all here today. .

Let me start by saying a little about each of the three rights I mentioned.

Freedom of the press

Lord Windlesham once said that periodic rows between governments and broadcasters were the genuine marks of a free society. I agree wholeheartedly. No-one wants to live in a country where the press meekly repeat the words put into their mouths by the government of the day. It is right that journalists take Ministers, and others in positions of power and leadership, to task about what they’ve done, and what they said they would do. This is vital. The press, on behalf of the public, have a key role in scrutinising government actions and inaction. They are able to place information and analysis before the public; assisting them in acquiring and sifting the information necessary for the public to hold the government to account in the ballot box. A democracy worthy of the name needs an informed electorate. You will take all these as truisms. A free and active media therefore is essential to democracy. We have a media of high quality; envied across the world for its professionalism and independence.

And the media make a positive contribution to the administration of justice. They do this by the fair reporting of the trial process, and by disseminating to the public information and critical analysis about the operation of the criminal justice system. And the press also provide valuable assistance in connection with investigations by prompting witnesses to come forward or, in the case of a “man-hunt” situation, helping the police to apprehend a suspect.

Court reporting gives practical effect to the legal principle that, in the determination of his civil rights and obligations or of a criminal charge against him, an individual is entitled to a public hearing. In this sense the media are, in the words of the then Master of the Rolls, Sir John Donaldson, in 1988 “the eyes and ears of the public”. Or as more graphically put by Bentham “In the darkness of secrecy, sinister interest and evil shape have full swing….Publicity is the very soul of justice. It is the keenest spur to exertion and the surest of all guards against improbity. It keeps the judge himself while trying under trial.” [1]

So the media have an important role, in the public interest, in relation to the administration of justice.

The value of this is recognised by the right to freedom of speech. Of course this exists for the benefit of all and can be exercised by all. But it has a particular resonance for the work of journalists.

This right is enshrined, as you don’t need me to tell you, in article 10 of the European Convention on Human Rights. This has been accorded particular importance by the Strasbourg court. And the right is of course recognised by the common law.

But freedom of speech - while of vital importance - is not always paramount. It is not a trump card. Like other freedoms, it may be subject to certain legitimate restrictions. There will be occasions when it must yield to competing public interests of various kinds – among them national security, the maintenance of public order, the restriction of obscene or offensive material, or the protection of the rights of others. Even in a democracy the boundaries of the right to free speech are often tested in relation to journalistic freedom.

The right to a fair trial

The second right I mentioned was the defendant’s right to a fair trial. Again you are all well aware of the centrality of this right to our system of justice. It is difficult to overstate its importance. It is the bedrock on which our system stands. It has long been a fundamental principle of our criminal law that “the court is under a duty to ensure the accused a fair trial”[2]. This common law principle is mirrored in the provisions of article 6 of the Convention.

This right goes to the heart of the judicial process and the chief object of the courts. That is, to secure that justice is done in the case before them. To secure that on occasions it will be necessary to curtail the rights of others to be present in court or to be informed of the proceedings.

Right of society

That leads me to the third right I mentioned. The right of society to be both informed of court proceedings and to have an effective system of justice; to have crimes punished properly and fairly.

I have already referred to the role of journalists in relation to ensuring the necessary publicity and openness of court proceedings. But the corollary of that is the responsibility of journalists to ensure that their reporting of investigations or cases does not frustrate the public’s equal right to have crimes punished; to have the guilty brought to justice as well as the innocent acquitted. Cases where a journalist goes out to report a crime or investigation with this intent are rare. But unfortunately cases where this is the effect do occur. In those cases, the public is denied the right to an effective system of justice – something which in any decent society they are entitled to expect. It also denies the rights of the victims of crime to justice. Paradoxically, often it is the victims of crime on whose behalf journalists claim to be speaking when these problems arise.

It is crucial that a balance be struck between these rights. It is the law of contempt of court, including the Contempt of Court Act 1981, by which our legal system principally seeks to hold the ring between these rights. This is not the only mechanism of course. The Press Complaints Commission’s Code also has a role to play.

I don’t pretend that striking the correct balance is easy. And I am aware of the commercial context in which you are operating. We now live in a world of 24 hour media; with multiple competing outlets. Thanks to the web, news stories can travel the globe with the click of a button. And, fed by the huge media industry, the public’s desire to know as much as possible, as soon as possible has grown – including where there is any suggestion that criminal offences have been committed by a celebrity. The commercial pressure to secure the story rather than let a competitor do so must be intense.

But these difficulties and pressures notwithstanding it is vital that the balance is struck correctly. The law on contempt of court is not a mere technicality dreamt up by lawyers with no relevance to the real world. Where prejudicial reporting causes a judge to delay a trial this affects victims, witnesses, defendants and professionals in the criminal justice system and the court system itself, both in terms of delay and cost to the public purse. There is also a real human cost to witnesses such as victims of serious sexual or physical abuse including children when they are asked to give evidence for a second time caused by the need to move a trial or wait for a re-trial. In the worst instances a judge may conclude the publicity has been so prejudicial that no fair trial is possible. In such cases justice is denied to victims and the public.

Role of Attorney General

Let me turn to my role. As Attorney General my function in this area is to act in the public interest to ensure the fair administration of justice. Before looking at how I exercise this function it is important to be clear on a number of points.

First, when exercising this function I am not acting as a member of the Government. I am not taking a Government decision nor acting for it. I remain accountable to Parliament for the exercise of these functions. But my role in relation to contempt is not about the Government taking action against the media. It is vital that in exercising this function the Law Officers act, and are seen to be acting, with absolute adherence to the principle of independence and of fairness. Nothing could be more damaging to public confidence in the administration of justice than a suspicion that my powers in relation to it were exercised on political grounds. So what I do in this field is entirely a matter for me in the exercise of my public interest responsibilities. I do not discuss with ministerial colleagues whether a particular publication causes concern; nor whether to take any, and if so, what action. They bear no responsibility for what I do in this field. So I reject any suggestion, for example, that when I do take action it is the Government acting to suppress the media.

Second, my role is not to act as a censor, nor as an arbiter of taste and decency. My personal views on such matters are irrelevant to the matters I must consider.

Third, it is no part of my function to consider whether to take action to protect the reputation or privacy of individuals, however famous. My actions recently in seeking to prevent the publication of the identities of the Premiership footballers accused of rape in a London hotel were not taken to protect their reputations. They were taken because identity was, as I was advised by the police and the prosecutors, an issue in the case. It was highly likely that an identification procedure would be necessary since the alleged victim did not know the identities of any of the men but might recognise them again. An identification procedure was held only recently. Were the alleged victim to have seen photographs of the men allegedly involved before the identification procedure had been held, the reliability of any identification she may have made at the procedure could have been seriously affected, if not fatally undermined. But now that the identification procedure had been completed I have been able to confirm that I have no continuing objection to the identification of the suspects.

I interject that the Government has recently commented on the policy issue of the anonymity of defendants in rape cases. This came up in the Sexual Offences Bill. The Government was not convinced that legislating now was the right course. But on Third Reading the Home Secretary made it clear that he hoped that the steps announced by others, including the Association of Chief Police Officers stiffening of their guidance, will make a difference. If it doesn’t, he was clear that the attitude of Parliament was such that legislative steps would be taken.

So, having said what my role does not entail, let me say what is does involve. In taking any decision in relation to the instigation of proceedings for contempt, I am acting to ensure that justice takes it proper course. My task is to identify where the public interest lies. This may mean doing what is necessary to prevent distortion of the trial process in criminal cases, by preventing publication of material that might prejudice a fair trial or commencing proceedings where the prejudicial publication has already occurred.

Let me give you a feel for the volume of cases I am talking about. This year over 70 new matters sufficiently serious to justify my office investigating them further have been referred to me. And this is not 70 reports or articles, some of these matters will concern more than one report, more than one outlet. I consider that a disturbingly high number. These come from all quarters – from the judge hearing the case, from the defence or CPS or other party to the action, from 3rd parties directly affected or from members of the public.

What kind of reporting can prejudice a trial?

What I would like to do is to give you some indication of what it is that causes me concern in relation to these reports. It’s not my intention to provide an exhaustive list of all situations in which reports may amount to a contempt. Apart from anything else, no such exhaustive list could be compiled. What is more in setting out these issues I am giving instances of what I believe the law is concerned about. It will, it is a truism to say, always be in the final analysis for the Courts to say what is contempt and what is not, even though I would expect them to have regard, at the least, to my views.

First, reporting that asserts or assumes, expressly or implicitly, the guilt of the defendant. This might be read in no more than a single headline or alternatively in a lengthy, detailed rehearsal of the evidence followed by prejudicial or biased commentary before or during the trial. Courts have warned that no matter how obvious the facts or how inexplicable the conduct of the defendant may appear, no assumptions can be made as to the course a trial may take or the defences that may be advanced. As has been noted, the law books are full of cases which appeared at one time open and shut but turned out to be anything but.

Second, reporting that asserts or assumes, expressly or implicitly, the outcome of a preliminary issue in the criminal proceedings to be determined by the jury, such as the fitness of a defendant to stand trial.

Both of these issues are of great concern to me in the trial of Ian Huntley and Maxine Carr. I do not want to say too much about this trial as it still on-going and I am still actively monitoring the reporting of it. At times some of the reporting of the investigation and trial has been quite frankly unacceptable. I am sure it is right to remind ourselves that the consequences of prejudicial reporting may not only be to the process of justice or to the legitimate interests of the defendants in a criminal trial but of the victims of crime too.

To return to examples of reports which are a cause of concern, I would identify thirdly those that contain information which may hamper or prejudice the police investigation, for example with regard to the gathering of evidence, or prejudice subsequent proceedings, such as the publication of a photograph, drawing or likeness of a suspect or defendant before it has become absolutely clear that identification is not and will not be an issue in the proceedings.

For example, if a suspect's photograph is published he might justifiably refuse to stand on an identification parade, which in turn may prejudice the police investigation and may weaken the prosecution case. Alternatively, even if the defendant does stand on a parade, there might still be a defence application that the identification evidence should be ruled inadmissible as the court could not be sure if the witness identified the defendant from a memory of the incident or a recollection of the photograph, article or television report. I have already mentioned my action in relation to the Premiership footballers’ rape allegation.

Another example would be information and/or images published as part of an appeal issued by the police, which are repeated after arrest and/or charge, where they can no longer be said to be of use in finding a wanted suspect. The repeated printing or showing of such images once the need for assistance has passed could lead to a risk of prejudice.

Fourth, reports which contain a detailed account of the circumstances leading to the criminal charge(s) in question. These may amount to a rehearsal of the evidence, the defence(s) that the Defendant may raise and the issues which the jury may have to decide. Juries should decide the guilt or innocence of a defendant on the evidence they see and hear in court and not on the basis of what they might have seen or read in the media.

Fifth, statements and comments presented as or based upon assertions of fact in advance of the evidence and any legal submissions to be presented by Counsel for the parties to the proceedings. A statement in an article could have that effect.

Six, material which would be likely to be inadmissible in a criminal case but which may be retained in the memory of a potential jury member, such as the fact that a suspect or a person arrested and/or charged has a previous conviction. Often this is can give rise to the most serious prejudice. This category would include reports of the previous criminal activities of such a person, alleged or proven, especially if they have similarities with the charge in question.

The contempt action following the collapse of the first trial of the Leeds footballers is a good example of the very real harm that can be caused to the trial process by this sort of comment in the press. As you may recall after the jury had retired to consider its verdict, after hearing all the evidence, the Sunday Mirror published an interview with the victim’s father which included information and comments not considered by the jury. The article ultimately led to the collapse of the first trial. The re-trial was held several months later, thereby increasing the traumatic effect on the victim, his family, witnesses and defendants. The court ordered MGN Ltd to pay a £75,000 fine and costs.

Seven, reports containing details of other proceedings in which a defendant or witness is or has been involved. This can influence a juror’s view of the evidence on key issues in a trial as well as his view as to the credibility of the defendant or witness.

An example of this arose in the course of a rape trial in October 2001. The defendant was charged with two separate charges of rape, one of which went to trial that October. The jury had retired on Friday, but could not reach a verdict by the end of the day. The members were sent home until Monday.

Over the weekend, a local radio station broadcast a very short item indicating that the jury would shortly return its verdict in the case, and went on to indicate that the defendant had also been charged with a second rape, after a incident two years earlier. What the broadcaster did not make clear was that there were separate trials. Up until this point, the jury would have thought the defendant was only facing one allegation. They would not have been told during the course of the trial that the defendant faced a similar but completely separate allegation and there was every chance that this information could prejudice their view of the defendant’s character.

When the matter was brought to the judge’s attention on the Monday morning, he asked the jury whether members had heard any broadcasts about the case. One juror had, and when she was further questioned it was clear she believed the defendant had committed a rape before. Given the obvious prejudice, she was discharged from the jury. The judge allowed the case to continue and eventually the remaining jury members reached a 10-1 guilty verdict.

This is a good example of how a short, local broadcast could have had quite serious consequences. As it happens, after investigation I was satisfied that the radio station had made an inadvertent mistake and had not foreseen the possible consequences. As a result of strong assurances from the radio station concerned that they had taken positive steps to ensure this sort of mistake did not happen again, I decided that it was not in the public interest to commence contempt proceedings.

Eighth, reports containing comment or information about witnesses, which may undermine their integrity and the credibility of their evidence. The assessment of witnesses is an important the function of the jury and should be left to them.

And finally, I would like to mention reports which straightforwardly breach an order restricting what may be published. I consider such breaches occur too frequently. Over the past year, I have received a dozen complaints involving breaches or alleged breaches of reporting restriction orders.

Of course, the statutory restrictions which apply in relation to the anonymity of victims of particular types of offence are there not only to protect the privacy of individuals who have been victims, but also to reassure other victims that they can come forward safe in the knowledge that their identity will remain secret.

Let me tell you of a graphic example of a breach of a restriction of this sort. A man was watching television at home, with his wife, when a reporter on a BBC regional television programme broadcast, in clear breach of the law, the name and age of a victim in an historic sex abuse case, details of his complaint and details of the evidence he had given. Specific reference was made to the fact that it had been suggested to the victim in cross-examination that he had made up the allegations in order to get compensation. The man watching the broadcast was the victim. He had never told his wife of what had happened to him many years before and she did not know that he was giving evidence in any such trial. The broadcast had a devastating effect on his life, revealing to his wife and children the secrets he had until then kept to himself. It not only put intolerable strains on his marriage but also threatened the completion of the trial as he hesitated over returning to complete in court his evidence now that his promised anonymity had been taken away. The BBC pleaded guilty and in December 2001 was fined £25,000. The journalist responsible was also fined.

Put simply, this was a case of human error. Despite her experience and training, the journalist forgot that a victim in this type of case is entitled to life-long anonymity. In addition, the broadcast was not checked by either the programme editor or producer and internal systems broke down.

That is an example. There are others. I can accept that breach can be without any deliberate intent to do so and that it is simply a mistake. I can also accept that steps are taken to “legal” such reporting. If the methods of checking whether court orders have been made is not working well, no doubt some discussion on that issue might be helpful. But at the end of the day I believe that the onus is on the media to be sure that no relevant order is in place, rather than for the courts. I would urge greater vigilance in this area.

In extreme cases, restrictions on what may be reported concerning court cases are necessary in order to protect an offender whose life would be at risk were his identity and whereabouts known. That was the case in the action against the publishers of the Manchester Evening News, for breach of the High Court injunction prohibiting the publication of information relating to the whereabouts of Robert Thompson and Jon Venables. Dame Elizabeth Butler-Sloss accepted that the breach was a “sad blunder” but said the consequences could have been serious.

Before turning to what I as Attorney General and you as journalists can do to ensure that the administration of justice is not prejudiced, I want to deal with three particular issues: first, what is called the “fade factor”; second, the time at which prejudicial material appears and thirdly, the issue of payments to witnesses.

Fade factor

The closer to the trial reports appear, the higher the risk of serious prejudice arising. Common sense tells us reports close to the trial date are more likely to stick in the mind of jurors. It would be unrealistic not to recognise that there has been an important shift of emphasis by the court in this field. Now the court will recognise, rather more than I believe it did some years ago, that the passage of time may dent the recollection of otherwise prejudicial reporting to the point where it no longer puts in jeopardy the fairness of the trial especially when combined with appropriate directions to the jury.

But recognition that there is a “fade factor” should not be taken to be a green light for publication of prejudicial reporting when the trial date is still some way off. There can be no hard and fast rules. Bear in mind that the risk of prejudice will depend on the nature and weight of the publication, the identity of the accused and the facts of the case. Sensational reporting of high profile cases, or of offences alleged against celebrities is likely to stay in the mind of potential jurors for much longer than more mundane events.

The time of the report

This leads to the second point I wanted to make. That is that simply because a report will appear before a person has been arrested or charged with the offence does not mean there can be no risk of prejudice. The Contempt of Court Act only provides for strict liability from that point. But prejudice can arise from publications before then. Responsible journalists and editors should have regard to the risk of prejudice and to the matters I have mentioned whenever reporting on criminal investigations, in particular high profile cases involving celebrities or sport stars where the interest, even at an early stage, is likely to be high and the risk of prejudice self-evident.

Payments to witnesses

Finally, I wanted to mention the issue of payment to witnesses. It is widely accepted that this particular practice is deeply damaging to the criminal process. This has been a problem in a number of high profile cases over recent years. In the Rosemary West trial 19 witnesses are believed to have received money for, or signed contracts with, the media. It was a major issue in the prosecution of Paul Gadd (Gary Glitter) in 1999. An individual, whose allegations formed the basis of that prosecution, was paid for stories in 1987, 1993 and 1997. The stories included allegations of sexual abuse. The newspaper then contacted the police and put them in touch with the individual. This led to the prosecution. Mr Gadd was acquitted. The judge said that the payment of money had been “highly reprehensible”. It was a significant factor, although not the only one, in the collapse of the recent prosecution relating to the supposed plot to kidnap the Beckham’s. Even the offer of payments can have a corrosive effect on the credibility of witnesses, as we saw in the case of witness Bromely in the Damilola Taylor trial.

As you know, the Government decided not to legislate for the time being on this issue in light of the strengthening of the PCC Code. I welcome that strengthening. This now bans such payments once proceedings are active and only allows them before that point when in the public interest. It is too early to form a view on the effectiveness of that Code. But I do want to make it clear that I consider any payment to witnesses in a criminal case a serious matter, at whatever stage it arises. It undermines the credibility of witnesses. It has the potential to lead to the acquittal of the guilty as well as the conviction of the innocent. I for one will be watching closely to see if the new Code delivers the strengthening we need.

Concluding Remarks

My comments should not be taken to be an exhaustive list of all instances where publication may amount to a contempt. But I hope what I have said will be of assistance to you in considering whether a publication is likely to be prejudicial and will given you an insight into the issues which are of concern to me as guardian of the public interest.

At the end of the day the responsibility is that of the media to comply with the law. That is so whatever guidance I do or do not seek to offer. I will continue to draw the media’s attention to potential pitfalls in particular cases by means of the continued use of Attorney General’s “Guidance to Editors” or where I think a warning is desirable. I have adopted this course in a number of cases, including some I mentioned today.

I seek to be open and accessible. The same goes for the departments I oversee. I urge the Crown Prosecution Service, for which I have Ministerial responsibility, to engage in two-way dialogue with the media. Often it is the CPS lawyer on the ground who is best placed to advise on how to protect the course of justice and to advise on what can be properly reported before a trial.

I am aware that there are practical issues faced by responsible journalists in seeking to report criminal cases without being in contempt – how is a journalist to know if a particular order has been made in a case? How is he to know if an issue (say identification) is still in issue or not? In part I seek to meet these concerns in the ways I have outlined. But I recognise in some cases more may be needed. I would welcome a constructive dialogue with journalists and newspapers as to how we can together best address these and other practical problems.

The Responsibilities of Journalists

Let me conclude. As I said earlier, journalists have a vital function in the administration of justice. This is supported by the right to freedom of speech. But with this function – and the power and influence it brings – come responsibilities. Journalists must bear in mind that the consequences of a prejudicial report can be high. These consequences are not dry abstractions only for lawyers to worry about. The consequences are felt by individuals, often those who are particularly vulnerable, such as victims, witnesses and defendants. And it is in the public interest that we have a fair, decent and effective system of justice.

Responsible journalism requires self-restraint. It requires vigilance to ensure the traps I have outlined are not walked-into. It requires proactive consideration of the risk of prejudice, including making contact with the court to ask if any relevant orders have been made and speaking to the CPS. It requires the journalist to have in mind the 1981 Act, but not to treat it as the be all and end all. They must think beyond its terms and consider the consequences of their reports. I’m not suggesting that these considerations are not in the forefront of your minds. I am prepared to work constructively with journalists in dealing with practical issues; in providing what guidance I can to assist editors in relation to particular cases and by taking what action I can to clarify and of course where appropriate enforce the law. But the press is ultimately responsible for what it prints. I call on you and your colleagues to embrace that responsibility, without in any way compromising the professionalism and independence of which you are rightly proud.



[1] Quoted by Lord Shaw of Dunferminline in Scott v Scott [1913] AC 417 at 477.

[2] R v Sang [1980] AC 402.

57 comments:

nancy said...

Hi Viv -


Thanks for printing the Attorney General's report on journalism - I read most of it, but I'm afraid not every word.

I think he has made a very fair assessment and agree that compared to many countries we get a pretty good press coverage in this country.

There are always the exceptions though - newspapers that you wouldn't even want to wrap your fish and chips in, but by and large, considering many people buy a paper merely because it has lurid headlines, we can't complain too much.

I notice he didn't mention the McCann's supposedly unfair treatment and payout by the Express, but then, from what I read, he only dealt with cases that had been through the Courts, which the Maddie case hasn't - yet!

I have a feeling it will in the fullness of time though!


Nx

nancy said...

So we are being watched by media monitors according to Mr Pinky.

Well, that wouldn't surprise me, considering we are the most surveillanced society in the western world - could that be even more than in Russia?

Bring it on CM - you won't stop us trying to get Justice for Madeleine!

hope4truth said...

Well if we are all being watched by media monitors they should know if anyone is on the payroll...

There for should also realise that people are not bloody stupid and it is obvious something very dark is going on and where children are concerned people are not just going to shut up and listen to spin (especaily very badly put together spin)...

I dont think the McCanns or their cronies thought we would all be reading their interviews which confirm IMHO something very evil is going on to protect parents when in reality Madeleine is the only one who needs protecting. God knows her parents did not give a damn about crying and unhappy children they just buggered off to the Bar again...

viv said...

Hiya Nancy

I would not expect people to read every word, but just thought it was really helpful for people to understand that the Attorney General watches the press and the law does not allow them to give graphic details about an ongoing criminal investigation or make adverse comments about suspects for fear of preventing a fair trial. I think it is a pretty old article prior to our current AG Baroness Scotland because he says he is currently watching press coverage in the case of Huntley.

It is useful to understand why Jon Clements will not say any more than he does about the Mc case!

People have wanted our press to simply rip into the Mcs and proclaim them guilty, but that is just not going to happen because if they did those newspapers would be in serious trouble and as the AG explains that would prevent the victim from getting justice by allowing the Mcs in this case to say we cannot get a fair trial now.

xx

viv said...

Hiya again Nancy, it is certainly true we are one of the most regulated and controlled nations in the world and under a great deal of surveillance, for criminals that means they have a lot to fear.

Personally I do not have a problem in knowing that every time I walk into an urban area I will repeatedly be caught on CCTV camera, because I cannot be caught doing anything. But I know from my former work that many who have beaten people senseless, sometimes even murdered them are frequently caught because of those cameras. So for me they do a great job. I can remember years ago, thugs would just put shop windows through in towns, just for the hell of it, that does not happen very often now, does it! With increased security home burglaries, a devastating crime, has also dramatically fallen. We are a nation with a high degree of crime and unfortunately need to take steps to catch and convict those criminals.

The sad thing is that serious abuse of children goes on behind closed doors where there are no cameras but we must have all spotted abusive parents who even do it in public. Kate and Gerry did not seem to have an issue in telling all and sundry just how they were leaving their tiny children alone every night, for a reason, I would say.

I would also say, just like I have always said, there is no way British authorities or Portuguese for that matter have any intention of letting these thugs get away with it.

viv said...

Hiya Hope

Well I don't know whether Rosie and Co are media monitors, family members or just complete nutcases but there can be no doubt that whether I am commenting on here or the 3 As they are watching every word, from about 8 am until about midnight, day in day out. If they think that is going to stop me they must have realised by now, it does just the opposite!

There is something very dark going on and when we discuss certain issues, they very predictably write more posts and become yet more abusive, if that were possible. They are not fooling anyone and what is it they personally have to hide? Why do they make the most absurd suggestion, all parents are innocent?? Guilty conscience that is what it looks like to me. Who would want to be "parented" by people who behave as they do and excuse the most appalling child abuse?

I do not think the control freak Gerry McCann thought we would get so much information either, and it has made him go very quiet, not something that comes natural to him. In fact completely ruined all his sick money making schemes out of his own little girl. Justice! We are not going to shut up!

Justice for their little girl who they did not even think was worth a babysitter!

hope4truth said...
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hope4truth said...

Hi Viv

Someone I deal with through business is very intrested in what happend to Madeleine (and a few other people I deal with always ask what is going on) I have to be honest and say I know nothing for sure but have heard (and who does not hear rumours that get bigger and more fanciful as they go on)...?

But this Lady reads here the 3As McCann Files she would never want to post but finds the whole thing unreal (having never blogged before so do I)but the thing that convinces her more than anything you post or we say (or anyone on the 3As says) that the McCann's are hiding a huge dark secret is what their supporters say...

You sometimes print some of their comments here or she can read them first hand on the 3As and she say's it confirms to her that they cant take any negative posts especialy about the neglect when any one of us if we were so cruel and stupid would be berating ourselves for being so uncaring towards our childrens saftey....

Also she finds the pictures very damming especialy the snaps on Madeleines 4th Birthday oh and Gerry's blogs are beyond odd in her opinion and mine....

Whatever experts the McCann's used to manage their media campaign and sugested he should write a blog and if any of the family and friends are blogging for them dear god they have made them look 100 times worse than I would have ever belived possible... Without them I would have thought something was very wrong but with them on board not only am I even more convinced Madeleine is the last thing they are thinking of but belive they know exactly where she is dead or alive I dont know....

To have planned an abduction or whatever happend long before they went away is something I cant believe a Mother could go along with but since Karen Mathews maybe there is more evil around than I want to belive...

Read this on the 3As someone posted a comment from Logicman from the MF it is old but made me think....

Second comment in...

http://the3arguidos.net/forum/viewtopic.php?f=35&t=28878&st=0&sk=t&sd=a

If that works it is all thanks to Sina on Janz site !!!!!

Ok third attempt!!!! If this does not work I will speak to sina to find out why I am such an idiot!!!!! ahhh those pros hapless hope they think they know me so well... I guess they might be right about that one LOL

Damn had to change it as I added an extra / just copy the above into your browser I have people to do this for me at work!!!!!!!

nancy said...

Hi Viv, Hope, everyone,

Happy Sunday!

I agree entirely Viv, that unfortunately we need CCT surveillance in our crime ridden society. It's just a shame that we have let things get so bad that we need it at all, when the majority of us are honest hardworking citizens.

Obviously if you don't do anything wrong then you have nothing to fear, and anything that keeps our streets and homes safe must surely be a good thing.

I have visitors today, so won't be blogging, but I'll be back tomorrow.

Meantime, Justice for Maddie!

Nx

Wizard said...

Morning All,

Some very good points raised in posts today.

Viv – the insults from the pro-Mc lobby. I read recently on Anna Raccoon’s blog a piece about insults of this kind. I copy a quote from her on this.

“If you are taking the time to label and abuse your ‘enemy’ then you’re not talking about the evidence – you’re talking about your opponent.”

Very true!

hope4truth said...

Have a nice day Nancy xxx

hope4truth said...

Hey Wizard

Have you got a link to her site???

xxx

Wizard said...

What I forgot to mention in my 10.32 post is that individuals caught out on the wrong foot generally take this form of action.

Wizard said...

Good Morning Hope,

The Anna Racoon link I get from the Joana Morais blog. If you look down the left hand side of her home page you will find an assortment of links and AR’s is there.

hope4truth said...

Wizard

I will have a look.. Thanks enjoy your Sunday xxx

viv said...

Hope darling exactly! I have just been confronting one of them on the 3 As with hard facts about what the McCanns did and she just has no answer. What sort of people try to defend the indefensible, child abuse? It is horrific, there are so many of these "media monitors". What sort of people can be so racist and anti police?

"but the thing that convinces her more than anything you post or we say (or anyone on the 3As says) that the McCann's are hiding a huge dark secret is what their supporters say..."

It is the same with the McCanns themselves and mouthy Mitchell, maybe that is why they decided to finally shut up, but it is far too late, the British public have made their minds up, even though many are not as well informed as people like us, who read every word of the DVD on 3 As, they have heard enough. My mom does not read it all and she is not prepared to say exactly what they did either, she just says, I know there is something seriously wrong and I know they were involved. Who else employs a spokesman to lie for them?

xx

viv said...

Thanks for this Wiz, I have read that Anna, and she has a great way with words:-


“If you are taking the time to label and abuse your ‘enemy’ then you’re not talking about the evidence – you’re talking about your opponent.”


That has always been what we have noticed about these "Pro McCanns" as they labelled themselves, very little to say in defence of the McCanns but an awful lot of personal abuse and disruption. There is a blog as we know that openly admits it does not want to discuss the case, they know it is quite impossible to defend Kate and Gerry, we have the DVD and even prior to that we had the press reports, which were the truth! Way back then we were quite able to sift out the rubbish quotes from Clarence Mitchell, nothing changed!

Or the downright unpleasant quotes:

"if she is dead, she is dead, but not by their hand"

Clarence ought to do a bit of reflective thinking, then he would know why the public revile and ridicule him. After this case, he will still need to try and earn a living, where will he turn next?

As the Oxford Union point out, he has been to the BBC, he has been to the government and then there was Kate and Gerry McCann. Sounds like a very downhill career to me!

xx

viv said...

Gerry Denies Receiving Mystery Texts
Updated:09:02, Thursday May 29, 2008
Sky News

But the DVD proves that he did receive 14 texts on 2 May BEFORE Maddie went missing. I think this is one of the most damning pieces of evidence against him and why the Police know for a fact he planned her disappearance with others. Note the disingenuous remark of Clarence Mitchell, "he has no knowledge of these texts" because of course Clarence knows they exist, this is the best he can do to defend Gerry. So Gerry must have told him they exist, otherwise he would have outright denied their existence. It would be most unwise to actively deny the existence of something that can be proven to exist. Clarence is directly involving himself in a criminal conspiracy to pervert the course of justice IMO and the man is a real fool. One thing is for sure, nothing would stop British investigators from getting their hands on those texts if they are capable of recovery, at the very least they could try to ascertain their origins but it would seem these messages were coming from some rather odd phones..What were the four for after she had disappeared, mission accomplished! I am beginning to think the Portuguese Court refused this application because it was decided the British would take over this case due to the fact it predominantly involved British people, would be very expensive and would come within the jurisdiction ultimately of the British courts. We also have better rules on the admissibility of evidence that are less favourable to defendants and clearly the prosecution need any edge they can get with this lot! Clarence Mitchell welcomes investigation of abduction, I think not!

This has been the biggest piece of spin of all IMO, making the British public think this was a reference to stranger abduction, not involving the McCanns. Quite happy for us to carry on blogging about what they did not do, it would seem. What Gerry McCann tells us in large part is the truth, what many good stories are based on, the perfect crime in fact, but I do not think the police see it that way.

---------

Gerry McCann has denied he received a string of mystery texts the day before his daughter disappeared in the Algarve.

According to court documents issued by Portugal's supreme court, police applied to seize his phone records after learning of the alleged messages. Investigators claim 18 text messages were sent to Mr McCann from an unidentified number around the time Madeleine vanished in Praia da Luz on May 3 last year. It is alleged that 14 messages were texted on May 2 and four more on May 4.

But the McCanns' spokesman Clarence Mitchell said Gerry had no knowledge of the texts and received a handful of calls on his mobile in the days before his daughter disappeared. The documents reveal that public prosecutor Magalhaes e Meneses also sought access to text and phone messages from 10 mobile telephones thought to belong to the McCanns and seven of their friends.

He also asked for a full list of all the calls made between the group from when they arrived in Portugal on April 28 and when the McCanns left on September 9. But the supreme court issued a detailed ruling rejecting the application.

It also revealed that Kate and Gerry McCann could face charges of neglecting their daughter on the night she disappeared. The police inquiry also covers possible abduction, homicide and concealment of a corpse, the documents say.

But Mr Mitchell emphasised the court papers did not mean such a charge would materialise.
He said the couple vigorously denied neglecting Madeleine and welcomed the fact that abduction was also being considered by detectives.

He said: "This court document outlines the areas of the investigation and in no way suggests Kate and Gerry will be facing any such charges. Equally we have heard nothing officially to suggest any such area of investigation is being considered. However, we do note that abduction is apparently one of the parameters and we welcome that because that is what Kate and Gerry and their friends have said and that is what happened. If there is any suggestion of neglect charges being considered that will be vigorously denied because the legal advice that Kate and Gerry have received both in Portugal and Britain is that legally speaking everything they were doing that week was well within the bounds of responsible parenting."

A neglect charge carries a maximum penalty of 10 years. But it is understood for such a charge to stand up the prosecutors would have to show the McCanns intended to neglect Madeleine

viv said...

KATE AND GERRY PRETENDED TO CRY..

Processos

Volume 12

Page 226

Snippets from Statement made by José Maria Batista Roque, GNR Officer about the events of the night of the 3rd May.




During the search he did not find anything strange apart from the bedclothes on Madeleine’s bed, which were too tidy, it appeared that she had been picked up of had left the bed with great care. There was a mark on the sheet that appeared to be made by a child’s body.

After the search, he noticed a situation that seemed unusual to him, when at a determined moment, the girl’s parents kneeled down on the floor of their bedroom and placed their heads on the bed, crying. He did not notice any comments or expression from them, just crying. Upon leaving from the main reception the father also knelt down, placing his head on the floor and crying. He did not hear the father say anything.

He never heard the parents ask to see a priest.

He found the parents to be nervous and anxious, he did not see any tears from either of them although they produced noises identical to crying. He did not feel that this was an abduction, although this was the line indicated by the father.

Di said...

I just wanted to say a quick hello to you all.

I have not been around for a while, due to being under the weather. It looks like I have plenty of reading to catch up with.

I hope you are all well and thank you Viv for your kinds words.

Hopefully be back later.

nancy said...

Hi Viv,

What reason, if any, did the Portuguese Supreme Court give for not allowing disclosure of the phone messages on the ten mobile phones to the Public Prosecutor. It seems to me that could have shown vital evidence of what was going on during those last few days before Maggie's disappearance.

Did the Public Prosecutor not put in an appeal against that decision, and if not, why not, I wonder. If they were innocent calls there would be no reason to withhold disclosure.

I can imagine Gerry and Co breathed huge sighs of relief after that decision.

Poor Madeleine - she is the pawn in the game of all those who have an interest in not wanting the truth told.

JUSTICE FOR MADELEINE!

nancy said...

Hello Di,

Sorry you've been a bit under the weather. Hope you are feeling a lot better now and look forward to reading some more posts from you soon.


Nx

nancy said...

A new thread on 3A's - Exclusive Interview with Goncalo Amaral - Link 28950 -
--------------------------------
"The McCanns were advised not to publicise and to be careful with the press. The person who did that was not from the PJ's but a member of the English Social Services who had been working with abused children for 25 years and was on vacation in the area, PdeLuz, and who on the very morning of the 4th May called on the couple and alerted them to that, but she was thrown out of the house, we can say!"

Well, if that doesn't highlight the opinion of many that the McCanns were only interested in getting Maddie's disappearance world wide, I don't know what does. They were obviously not interested in taking some good advice but just wanted to head for the big money programme!

As soon as Maddie's eye went round the universe, her fate was surely sealed.

Di said...

Hi Nancy

Thanks for your good wishes.

Am I right was the social worker Yvonne Martin. What I can't remember is which tapas member told K & G not to speak to her.

nancy said...

A pertinent comment from Mary Poppins on the above thread regarding the mobile phones given them in Portugal.

"Jeez - I'm not sure I know quite what to say except that one hardly has to read far to learn that these so called responsible parents, who were given mobile phones to supposedly aid communication, were so concerned about hearing news of their daughter that they didn't even think to inform the PJ's that they even had the phones, never mind on what numbers they could be reached had there been any news of Maddie."

The more one learns of the McCanns the more one wonders why people actually believe a word they say!

Wizard said...

Hi Nancy,

“The more one learns of the McCanns the more one wonders why people actually believe a word they say!”

Just a brief comment – I was listening, just now, to someone commenting on advertising. They said.

“It’s difficult to know exactly when you are being influenced by advertising but you are”.

This is oh so true. With the Mc brigade peddling their innocence to the press and TV and being received as victims is really nothing more than advertising a theory. Lots of people are influenced by this without realising it. Most people do not follow this case like us so they believe what they are told.

viv said...

Di! It is great to see you back and I am glad you are feeling better, I really missed you!

x

viv said...

Hiya Nancy and great to see you as ever darling, you say:


What reason, if any, did the Portuguese Supreme Court give for not allowing disclosure of the phone messages on the ten mobile phones to the Public Prosecutor. It seems to me that could have shown vital evidence of what was going on during those last few days before Maggie's disappearance.

Did the Public Prosecutor not put in an appeal against that decision, and if not, why not, I wonder. If they were innocent calls there would be no reason to withhold disclosure.

I can imagine Gerry and Co breathed huge sighs of relief after that decision.


----

The reason that the Court gave was that the phone taps had been undertaken without prior authority from the Judge. The Prosecutor was seeking authority to use them anyway because as you say those calls and particularly texts would have yielded vital evidence against Gerry McCann. The other reason the court cited was that it would constitute an invasion of the McCanns right to privacy. I recall at the time there was adverse comment about this because the right to privacy derives from the European Convention on Human Rights which clearly states that it is a qualified right, it can be overriden by the state in order to investigate and prosecute crime.

The Prosecutor did appeal to the Supreme Court and the above opinion was upheld against the Prosecutor. So what it looked like at the time was we have the Portuguese Judiciary seriously trying to put a block on the McCanns being prosecuted in Portugal. At the time, I thought it was a question of having a go a Goncalo Amaral for political reasons. Somehow his face did not fit and even if it ruined this investigation they did not care about justice for Maddie, they cared about damaging him and preventing him from prosecuting this case.

Now I see things through a clearer lens. Goncalo Amaral himself says in his book that there was no way the McCanns could have been prosecuted for fraud in Portugal because the offence originated in the UK, and so clearly we would have to prosecute them. Even though I have a degree in law, understanding complex jurisdictional issues as in this case is not easy. But who would understand? Well yes, the Portuguese Judges. It is intensely complex, when you have a crime committed in Portugal but also partly committed in the UK. Where do the McCanns get brought to trial? I believe a decision was taken a long way back that the McCanns would have to be brought to trial in England but this decision has been kept confidential. They took Goncalo off the case because he would not accept that decision. Quite understandably really he wanted to just keep going for the McCanns and put them in a Portuguese Court/Prison. No one can blame him for that, but a decision had been taken way over his head that was not what was going to happen. I believe this case is primarily about serious fraud, and also quite possibly serious abuse of Maddie by certain British people. As such there was only one place this case could continue to be investigated and ultimately brought to court and that is UK. That is why we have failed to give the Portuguese certain details about the McCann financial affairs and about sex offenders etc because it was not going to be tried in Portugal.

viv said...

Wiz hiya!

I have a current thread up on 3 As where I am flagging up that the two newspapers the McCanns have sued are the ones who have broadcast details about their money making schemes. This is what strikes right at the heart of their criminality and why they just had to be shut up.

It was the Evening Standard, we learn, from a video with Mitchell mouthing off who somehow found out about the talks with IGM, the largest Entertainment Agency to make a blockbusting film. Mitchell went on to say and it was on the cover of our favourite paper the Daily Express the next morning too. Scores had to be settled. They do not give a damn about people saying they killed Maddie because I do not think they did, but they do care about people commenting on what they really did. I still believe Gerry handed Maddie over alive, but whether she still is, is another matter entirely. But I think that is what the police are desperately trying to do, find her. She could have been abused, we have heard all about the chats between Gerry and Payne or it could have just been a hoax, but I do not think they killed her.

viv said...

http://www.the3arguidos.net/forum/viewtopic.php?f=35&t=28946&sid=daa367955f615e5ae61d4c07a118bdfd

viv said...

Di, well this is going to come as a big surprise, it was David Payne who told Kate not to talk to the Social Worker Yvonne Martin. The same man who arranges all these group holidays, because he wants them all nice and close. We have heard what two doctors had to say about a villa holiday he arranged.

The other odd thing I noted, in his rog, he confirms to the police the week before that interview in around Apr 08 he had just moved hospital area to go and work in Derby. He used to work really closely with Gerry McCann on medical research, but just before the rogs he has moved away from Gerry. Just like he was wanting to move away from the one thing such people really do not like, Soc Workers who think they know them in a professional capacity. I do not think it is wrong to say there is something really bad about David Payne, not just Kate and Gerry!

xx

viv said...

Nancy, I just wanted to confirm that of course in an UK prosecution those text messages will be used in evidence against Gerry McCann!

xx

viv said...

(Published in today's edition of 24 Hours)

Research the disappearance of Maddie, besides its huge media worldwide, was marked by a large number of casualties among police and diplomats who attended or played in this case sensitive.
In Portugal, after the exit of Gonçalo Amaral, out of the case Maddie investigations at the request of British authorities, the Judicial Police (PJ) went further then the national director, Alípio Ribeiro, and several other investigators.
Guilhermino Encarnação, national deputy director, responsible for the directory from Faro at the disappearance of Madeleine McCann, could be the next confirmed low here. The man who became known in research have prevented by Gonçalo Amaral making the interrogation of Kate McCann at a time when this was, according to several inspectors on site, "ready to talk, is the prolonged low for health reasons and will not return to the more active.
Despite the health problems of former director, a source inside the PJ Algarve Guilhermino Encarnação moves that will only come from low after the declarations of a former Spanish private detective revealed the existence of a "mole" inside the PJ would have provided, for months, the agency information that Method 3 worked for McCann.
According to the old operating Method 3, also confirmed by a source from the PJ, the "mole" would not be the director of the PJ in Faro but his close and protected.
Also part of the British diplomats and police have dropped some, among them the ambassador and consul in Portugal, respectively, John Buck and Bill Henderson.
Ambassador John Buck was replaced on 10 September 2007, the day following the establishment of Kate and Gerry McCann as suspects. A month earlier, in August of that year, as the Consul in the Algarve, Bill Henderson, was completely removed leaving the diplomatic career. His replacement, Celia Edwards, would also not be for a long time in Portugal.
The Foreign Office also left Sheree Dodd and Clarence Mitchell, the first responsible for the communication of the English parliament and the second, official spokesman for the couple McCann, maintaining however, for some time, a "privileged relationship" with the British government.

viv said...

Well given what I just said above Nancy, this is interesting!


23 February 2009
Exclusive Interview with Former PJ Coordinator Gonçalo Amaral

"The political will does not exist; there is no political will to reopen at the moment, because if there was a political will it would mean that there was a political will before the process was closed, in order to continue the investigation. And when a process of this type is archived, with so many diligences to take care of, with so many facts that needed clarification, that’s because there was no will to continue the investigation and that was clear when we left the investigation on the 2nd of October [2007]." Gonçalo Amaral in Vigo, October 2008


video to follow

A collaborative interview by Duarte Levy, Joana Morais, Astro and Mercedes

All Rights Reserved © Joana Morais 2009

Transcript & Translation

Duarte Levy: You have now seen that the Constitutional Court has authorised the use of phone taps in the [football corruption] “Golden Whistle” case. Do you think it would be possible to see the same happening in the McCann case, taking into account that the judge didn’t authorise access to the registers and taps that were carried out at that time?

Gonçalo Amaral: The issue is not the permission to access the phone taps. He didn’t authorize the access to information concerning the text messages. That is related to a bureaucratic matter. When those text messages took place, there was no phone surveillance. The understanding of that judge… to access that information, that data, there would have to be a duly authorised phone tap first, it’s a procedural matter. Some think it’s not like that, others have a different understanding, the Public Ministry did not appeal the decision of the Appeals Court, and therefore the case was tried and closed.

DL: Did the PJ ever read the contents of those text messages?

GA: Yes it did. Later on, when it was not very interesting anymore. What was at stake was the situation of the national service providers.

DL: During the first phase of the inquiry, after the disappearance of Madeleine, the PJ offered the McCanns a mobile phone with a Portuguese chip that the McCanns never used. On the other hand, they used two phone numbers that were supplied to them by Portuguese friends. Were those phones under surveillance?

GA: That phone that was offered to them, was the one that was tapped, right? That phone was for them to receive calls, this was during those diligences that were related with possible extortions, from the Dutch and the Spanish and it was to find out, for them to give that number when necessary, when they were asked for a contact number and a way to listen into the conversation with the possible abductor asking for money. It’s a perfectly normal procedure. As for the other phones that they may have used, I do not know about that.

DL: In the case, during the first weeks, in some reports, in some cases similar to this one, with the same resemblances, often the parents are advised not to publicise the case, based on the principle that this publicity can place the child’s life at risk. Were the two first press conferences that were held by the McCanns carried out with the agreement, the authorization from the PJ?

GA: No. The same happened in this case. They were advised not to publicise and to be careful with the press. And the person who did that right away wasn’t even from the PJ, but a member of the English social services, who had been working in that area for 25 years, working with endangered children, with abuse situations, who was on vacation in the area, in Praia da Luz, who on the very morning of the 4th [of May] contacts the couple and alerts them to that. But she is thrown out of the house, we can say.

DL: At which point in time did you consider the McCanns to be suspects?

GA: Let’s see: In terms of suspicion, from the very first hour. The procedures in this type of case are to find out who the persons are, who the missing person is, in this case the missing child, and to find out all the antecedents. And now the first question that is asked from the English authorities, from the British police forces, is that one. Who were the parents, that group of people, and who was the child, was she the target of abuse, was she not. Then, it evolves, it’s a formal procedure, its general for all cases and when the first statements are made, that’s the day when we start to suspect that something is wrong. Things evolved, they were suspects until we reached the work of the English dogs and then the suspicions ultimately became indicia [evidence].

DL: During that whole phase, and until you were removed from the field, the English policemen that were in Praia da Luz, how was the cooperation with them? Was there actually cooperation?

GA: Yes. The cooperation was very tight, very intense; there are no doubts about that.

DL: So which part of the English authorities originated that blockade?

GA: That is certainly, and it was, coming from the top of the English hierarchy.

DL: The English policemen were invited to sign a confidentiality document. At the PJ, is that a normal procedure?

GA: No. And it’s not normal with the English police, either. It is normal in cases with the secret services, and that document is signed right at the beginning. Now with normal police, doing criminal investigation, that doesn’t happen.

DL: Concerning participations from outside of this case, it is normal for the ambassador, this has happened before in the Algarve, unfortunately, other cases involving British citizens. Is it normal for the ambassador to travel there?

GA: No. Neither in British cases nor non-British cases, they don’t have that responsibility. What is normal is for the information to be relayed by the consulate, that is what happens and only then the ambassador may come. And now we think that the ambassador came right away because of those initial suspicions and the first requests that were made which indicated that we suspected the couple, and he intervened in a manner that is not normal. He should have stayed in Lisbon, at the police’s National Directory, speaking with the National Director and not on location. And him leaving Portimão then led to a communiqué that the PJ somehow was “committed” to the abduction theory.

DL: Concerning other individuals that were connected with this case, the appearance of Brian Kennedy, namely during the meeting that he held with Murat, did the PJ ever find out about the purpose of that meeting?

GA: I was not in the investigation anymore during that phase, I had already left, but I know that this gentleman has gone as far as meeting people from the PJ after I left, which is not correct. Even more so because that gentleman brought certain Spanish detectives with him. That behaviour from the PJ’s senior officials in not the most acceptable one.

DL: Concerning not only this case, or other cases, how seriously could the events of the Madeleine case affect future cases?

GA: Well, in this case, like in all other cases, they affect the future [cases]. We have to learn from our mistakes and from the difficulties that we experienced. For example, in an earlier case, from 2004, the so-called “Joana case”, a disappearance as well, us investigators requested for the National Directory of the Police to intervene in a manner that would produce new regulations, new procedures for this type of inspection, to treat these disappearances. For example, there’s a very important issue. The disappearance in itself, when you go to a police station, or to the GNR or to the PJ, for missing persons, there is no specific competence for missing persons. There is no process for that. We have to investigate everything. The disappearance may or may not be related to a criminal situation and the issue may be whose competence is this? This has to be defined very quickly, we have been talking about that for a long time, over many cases and so far, nothing has been done about that. To define the competence from the outset. In all cases, the competence should be, at least in children’s cases, the PJ’s. Because many times what is at really the issue is that the disappearance has the parents’ intervention, in situations of divorce and there is a need and they take the children abroad, because it is the PJ that has the competence and the contacts on an international level, namely with Interpol, so the PJ dominates those channels for international cooperation, and from there, right away these cases should be the PJ’s competence, but that has not been defined. This leads to an initial intervention by the criminal police force that is informed of the disappearance. It’s always an intervention, almost always a disastrous intervention, because the more time goes by, the more pieces of evidence, opportunities to collect evidence are lost and only at a much later moment in time the PJ appears. When one thinks it’s an abduction, normally that’s what happens, it’s an abduction, it’s the PJ’s competence, nobody mentions a homicide or a voluntary disappearance, what is mentioned is abduction then it’s the PJ, and when we intervene it’s at a latter moment.

What happened in this case of Madeleine, we were called almost when the disappearance took place, only a few hours later, but still things went wrong. Why did they go wrong? Because there is a lack of said procedures concerning these situations. And this sensibility that many investigators have, to understand that an abduction is actually the theft of a person, but it cannot be handled like any theft. For example, all possibilities must be kept open, from a voluntary disappearance to, effectively, abduction, or homicide, or the death of the child. Therefore, it is necessary for the PJ to create this very quickly, I think they are doing that, I don’t think actually, I certain of it, there is already a commission that has been nominated to do that, to define those rules and those procedures for us to act. In my book I even mention it would be enough to follow the English, what the British authorities have concerning these situations. They have much more cases in situations of this type, don’t they? With the number of times that this happens in Portugal, maybe it doesn’t lead to, it hasn’t been that essential element that would lead the Police’s National Directory, or the Ministry of Justice to care for it, to feel the need for these new procedures. That’s where, that’s the manner in which it so often interferes. When there is a likelihood, the PJ acts. The PJ cannot be measured by one case. A PJ is measured through its entire history which is vast and includes many success cases, it is in fact one of the most successful police forces, on an international level, and also in this area of missing children, a very high success rate.

DL: In the Madeleine McCann case, who made the decision to send the analyses to Birmingham, to the FSS? In Portugal there is the National Institute [Forensic Medicine].

GA: This is the question. At that point in time, we were already feeling the pressure of the British media, we felt incompetent, that was what they said, and anything that we might do, would be questioned. It was a political decision by the PJ, but which was understandable at that point in time and it is still understandable now because it was a way of compromising, an attempt to compromise a British institution with the results that were to be found. If you ask me now if I would do the same today, I don’t think I would. Maybe there would be another laboratory, or at least, I wouldn’t have sent all the samples to that laboratory. But I can also tell you that at the IML, the Institute for Forensics Medicine, there was not the full capacity to carry out all of these tests, namely the low copy number analyses. Only in England, at this laboratory or at other laboratories outside of the country. We could have chosen another laboratory, but we opted for this one. It was a disaster. The decision was not disastrous; it was the tests that were disastrous to say the least.

DL: But do those samples still exist?

GA: No. They have all been destroyed. From the hair samples, it’s all been destroyed. There is a situation that is reported that is the following: there are several hairs, lots of hair is found in the car boot, in the car that was rented 23 days later, a comparison is made in terms of colour and colouration where they say yes indeed, these could be from the little girl, but then the laboratory says that they don’t manage, it doesn’t have any roots, they cannot define the DNA, they cannot define whether it’s from a living or a dead person, and when a team of Portuguese investigators go to the lab, accompanied by a Portuguese scientist, Dr. Francisco Corte Real, they ask for that hair, they went as far as holding that hair in their hands. And they had that hair, duly stored, that package with the hair, but then a report from the FSS appears in which they realize that they’d better keep them, and that later on they destroyed them in an attempt to define the DNA, or to discover whether it was from a living person or not, and they destroyed all of that hair. It’s a bit hard to understand how in order to define the DNA, or to carry out another test, such a quantity of hair has to be used, like there existed in Portugal as well, and then it wasn’t possible to perform analyses of other types, namely the possibility of sedatives that the little girl might have ingested or was forced to ingest.

DL: Among the English officers that participated in this case, there’s Stuart Prior, to what extent can we today, after you left the case, with everything that the press has already published from part of the Public Ministry’s process, to what extent can we say today that Stuart Prior cooperated in this case, or not?

GA: Stuart Prior initially appears, he appears as number 2 or number 3 of the British police. The senior officer…, who had a meeting with us, and the first person to come to Portugal on a personal level is him, he always had lots of contacts and interest in the investigation. Stuart Prior appears during a phase, later in Portugal, first it was in England. I particularly wouldn’t like to be in his shoes, with the options that he made in terms of the investigation, and not only that, in his political knowledge. He is a good policeman, he cooperated vastly with us, but it was him who said that he had arrested people in England with much less. So he probably knew the value of these indicia that already existed, but as to whether he made good options, only he can answer those questions.

DL: Last question, at this moment in time, in order to reopen the process, what elements are needed, or what could reopen the process and to what extent do you think that there is a political will in Portugal to do it?

GA: Now a process of this kind that is archived like this and remains waiting for better evidence, it needs just that: new elements of evidence, which means, new data. There are situations in the process which in our opinion have not been taken into account, which have not even been read or became known to those who had the duty to know it. Namely that statement from the couple of English doctors who mention a vacation in Mallorca, those situations where there were gestures and words indicating the existence of a child molester within that group of people who were on vacation and not even that was taken into account, because they didn’t read it, they had no knowledge. I cannot believe that they read such statements and passed over them.

If eventually those persons would make a new statement, again, with other details, certainly there are details that they didn’t remember, the process might be reopened. But also other data, other situations that might lead to the reopening of the process, namely someone from within the group may come to talk about something, for example, the invention of the surveillance scheme; it would have to be reopened. There are situations, like the FSS’s work, if some report appears, which might exist, that in fact there were not only 15 alleles but more than 15 alleles from the little girl’s DNA profile, situations of this type have to lead to the reopening of the process.

The political will does not exist; there is no political will to reopen at the moment, because if there was a political will it would mean that there was a political will before the process was closed, in order to continue the investigation. And when a process of this type is archived, with so many diligences to take care of, with so many facts that needed clarification, that’s because there was no will to continue the investigation and that was clear when we left the investigation on the 2nd of October [2007]. That will was lacking, what was necessary was to archive the process, there was a strong will to archive the process. Now, it will be very difficult for the process to be reopened but every citizen has a word to say and there are ways to intervene with the Attorney General in a manner that the process is reopened

viv said...

Good old Goncalo!!

So did he read those texts; yes he did and he suspected them from the very first hour, thank you Goncalo, just what I always thought!! I do not think the Mucks are going to like this much!!!

DL: At which point in time did you consider the McCanns to be suspects?

GA: Let’s see: In terms of suspicion, from the very first hour.

Wizard said...

Hi Viv and All,

I have been reading a lot recently on this blog and 3A’s and a number of things which on their own are quite inconsequential but they stick in my mind as oddities.

Firstly, Tanner’s sighting of bundleman. I don’t think this happened, or at least when she says it happened but it raised an interesting point. The way the child is alleged to have been carried we have all commented on it being a little odd. Almost as if the child was dead or unconscious – well may be. If this was a description of a stranger/ abductor he would have been wearing gloves hence no trace evidence found by forensics - this way of holding the child means he could still have been wearing the gloves but out of view of Tanner. Just speculating here but an abductor would not have rested the child on the floor outside the window while he took the gloves off then picked her up and legged it. So logically he would still have had the gloves on. This might be Tanner’s way of concealing the abductors hands by describing a rather odd way the child was being held. Just a thought as I’m not sure she’s that clever.

Secondly, in Diane Webster’s statement she says she remained at the Tapis Bar after the alarm was raised but shortly afterward went to apartment 5A. She looked at the windows in the children’s bedroom and they were closed she even went outside to see how they were tampered with. The interesting point is she returned to the Tapis bar to collect her bag, daughter’s child monitor and the McCanns camera all of which had been left behind. Now Clarence tells us the T9 wore no watches, didn’t have their mobiles with them but he doesn’t mention that the McCanns, at least, had a camera with them. This of course poses the question did they take any photos that evening? If whatever happened to Madeleine happened prior to the McCanns going to the Tapis bar what was the purpose of taking the camera with them? I can only speculate on this any thoughts?

nancy said...

Hi Viv,

Thanks for all the interesting information - every day I think brings us nearer to the truth.

Goncalo having read those phone texts, it's a shame he's not able to reveal what was in them other than it was the situation of the service providers that was at stake there. Does what he says mean there was vital evidence or not?

And, very importantly, the hair forensic tests - just why were they rendered unusable? That sounds a bit iffy to me.

Also why did the LP sign a confidentiality agreement with the PJ's when it was not the normal procedure.

And why did Brian Kennedy, on his visit to Murat (it was said to offer him a job), take Spanish detectives with him?

Goncalo definitely gives the impression that it's not the LP who are suspect here, in fact he goes out of his way to praise them, but someone further up the hierarchy (his words) - I wonder who that could be?

Nx

nancy said...

Di -

I don't recollect who the social worker was who the McCanns refused to talk to or discuss their situation, but Yvonne Martin rings a bell.

But just why the tapas friend told them not to talk to her is very odd indeed. Just why would they do that unless they had been told to keep silent in case they made some incriminating comment!

I hope you are feeling better today Di!


Nx

viv said...

Hiya Wiz

Personally, I feel pretty convinced Tanner did see Bundleman, but not at 9.15. The impression I get is that their child was not well and between them they were covering being there for her. At least that is what Tanner thought but I am not entirely convinced OB was always where he should have been. The really odd thing is that apparently by the time the alarm gets raised, she is back in the apt caring for the children but OB only arrives back at the table just immediately before Kate goes to make her grim discovery. Him sitting back down has always seemed like a signal to Kate, OK now! When I look at the rogs of OB and Payne I am afraid I just have to assume they are direct participants and I think you know what I mean by that but I am not clear Tanner would have known about their habits. I think she saw Gerry when she was going back to the apt after eating her own meal, probably around 9.40 to 9.50 as he started his journey with Maddie down to the beach but she did not know it was him. When she knew that Maddie had been taken, she just was going to tell the police about what she had seen and no one was going to shut her up. OB, Gerry and Payne were with her when she ultimately spoke to the police and I think she got deliberately confused as to the time when she saw Bundleman, thinking she was trying to help. The fact that she was very suggestible is confirmed by the fact that initially she did not say anything about childrens' PJs but by the Saturday, Fiona had been talking to Kate and then Fiona had been talking to Jane. So Jane now starts to say oh and I can describe the PJs she was wearing too. Over time she was clearly worked on still further to change the description of bundleman from a white male, 5'10 med build, brown hair short on top etc to some skinny, swarthy male, shorter, now heavy jacket instead of suit jacket and crucially with bizarre teeth and masses of hair to reflect the gran cooper sighting from this health worker who lives not too far from Gerry.

As to the carrying position, on Panorama, she says well yes with hindsight carrying up on the shoulder would be a more normal way of carrying a child. This implies to me she is influenced by what the entire Smith family have seen and is wanting to somehow cover people saying she is a fantasist and a liar which was clearly playing on her mind. But again I think she was probably telling the truth, because this was Maddie and she was either heavily sedated (my preferred option as you know) or dead. I do not think she was dead, I think she had been seriously abused and needed to be "removed" and I am quite certain from Gerry's reaction when questioned, what he says on Panorama, suggesting some predator had drugged the kids, his own mom saying it, that those children were all most definitely drugged that night to facilitate Maddie's removal without any complications of any of them waking up.

My own feelings about why Diane Webster just continued to sit there are that she was frozen in horror. It would be unusual for a mature and presumably reasonably intelligent woman to not have a clear inkling of what her own son in law is like and what is going on around her. I have read on 3 As a UK Police report to the PJ and their suspicions as to Payne and Fiona covering for him are abundantly clear, indeed they refer to "other knowledge" or something like that which of course we are not privy to, other than the statements of the doctors and the social worker who thinks she already knew him. He is an intelligent man but his rog is so confused it is almost unreadable, fear creeps out of the pages.

viv said...

Here we go Di/nancy

all the gen on Yvonne Martin and erm, er, David Payne who I just do not think for one minute is safe around children. The one who likes to book all these group holidays with his mates and of course their little children who get dumped and hid from, apart from when it suits him.


YVONNE WARREN MARTIN

Places Worked:
1. Gateshead, Tyne & Wear
2. Southshields, Tyne & Wear
3. Newcastle, Tyne & Wear
4. York, North Yorkshire
5. Hull, Kingston Upon Hull
6. North Tyneside, Tyne & Wear
7. Plymouth, Devon

WITNESS TESTIMONY
Date of Diligence: 2007/11/14
Time: 10H30
Locale: DIC Portimao
Entity that presides:
Functionary that executes:

Name: YVONNE WARREN MARTIN
Parent(s): Patricia Warren
Country: U.K.
Residence: E*************
Civil Status: Divorced
Profession: Social Services and Protection of Minors Manager

? Comes to the process as a witness
? Is accompanied by interpreter Filipa Maria da Conceicao Silva
? The deponent has already given a deposition to this police regarding the facts in question with said diligence realised 13-06-2007. The deponent confirms in the integrity of that deposition.
? The attached page (see above) was also added to this deposition. Said page describes the locales where the deponent has carried out her professional functions in relation to social services and the protection of minors. She confirms that this list is correct.
? States that in the discourse of her contact with Madeleine's parents, which she describes with detail in her previous declarations, Kate told her the child had been taken by a couple. She did not have the opportunity to probe this question nor any other.
? What she states in respect of the individual who was close to Madeleine's parents when she met with them, and who was later identified as David Payne, reaffirms that the same individual seems familiar, possibly as this same individual was involved in a situation related to a professional activity of the deponent. She clarifies that on that occasion, nor now that time has passed, could she remember concretely the locale or the situation in which she may have come to know David Payne. She continues to think that the same individual is known to her but cannot state the particular situation. She adds that she may have come to know him professionally through work, potentially having been colleagues at work but she cannot be certain where she would have known him.
? States that around two weeks after Madeleine's disappearance, at a time when the police asked people to come forward with information about a man, carrying a child, was seen in the Luz zone, and whose clothing was described, she wrote an anonymous letter to the British police, given them the following information: regarding the various details which I observed in contact with the McCann's? it is her opinion that they may be involved in the disappearance of Madeleine. She first found them aggressive. After she showed Madeleine's parents her credentials, they also seemed strange. After this she was informed that there were no signs of a break-in in the apartment. Knowing that they are doctors she found it absolutely normal that they left their children alone at home. Associating this with her professional experience, which tells her that in 99.99 percent of cases of children's disappearance, the parents or other family members are involved, she felt it her duty to inform the police of this. She did this anonymously because she did not want to be harassed by the media. But she also states that according to what she remembers, when she met with Madeleine's parents, David Payne, who was with them, wore a dark polo, blue or black in colour, cream coloured long trousers, of linen or cotton material, and dark shoes (sandal/slipper type with a back buckle/catch). In her opinion, this clothing fits perfectly with what the Police described the man (carrying the child) to be wearing at the time. All these coincidences made the deponent think that the parents and their friends could be involved in the disappearance of the child.
? She declares that one of her principal claims when she wrote the anonymous letter is that the British police checked paedophile registers or child abusers and if David Payne was on that list.
? And nothing more was said?.
SERVICE INFORMATION
Volume IX, pages 3422 to 3424
To: Mr. Coordinator of the Criminal Investigation, Dr. Goncalo Amaral
From: Jose Monteiro, Inspector

Re: Collection of Information

In the sequence of information transmitted to this Police, on this date, we went to the residence of Yvonne Warren Martin, holder of British passport no. 7*********, situated in E *************, no. **********, contactable via mobile no, *************to receive further clarification of the details following. The team was composed of the signator and Carlos Antunes.

? On May 04, 2007, around 07H00 she found out about the disappearance following a report on Sky News or BBC.
? She has practised her profession for 25 years, in the area of protection of minors, and felt it her duty to offer help to her compatriots and went to Praia da Luz.
? Around 09H00, she met the McCann couple next to the apartment from where the child disappeared, accompanied by a third person, of the masculine sex, who seemed very familiar to her.
? This third person of the group appeared to be an intimate of the family as he was the one who, when the media surrounded them, began talking and answering questions. Following this, she further confirmed his closeness to the family when she saw him taking care of the couple?s twins, also minors.
? She identified herself and presented her credentials and immediately began talking to the mother of the missing child as she was visibly upset with the situation.
? During the conversation the mother told her that she did not understand why a couple had abducted her daughter.
? However, the third element overheard this conversation and interrupted Ms. Martin and took the McCann couple away from her.
? This same element came, a small time afterwards to tell her that the couple did not want to talk to her any further and did not require her help?an action that appeared to her very strange.
? However, she heard commentaries next to the complex reception that the British Consul was coming to the locale and according to this person in order to offer his/her help.
? During this time, she again saw the third element two more times: the first time, he was accompanying an older woman and the McCann twins, demonstrating a confidence that the couple had entrusted in him the care of their two children. The second, he accompanied what appeared to her to be police elements.

--YVONNE describes the third element as follows:
--Around 35 years of age
--Being around 1,80 metres in height
--Of normal physical appearance
--Having dark, short hair
--Uses glasses of small dimensions and rectangular in length
--Has a round face
--Presents with a scar above his eyebrow and on his left cheek
--Speaks with a South England accent
--Was wearing light trousers, or colour cream or beige, and a dark polo

? At home after this event, and after watching television, she saw the same individual and this time, concluded that that face was familiar to her in her professional circles (protection of minors). She was not able to discern if he was a suspect/arguido or witness
? Clarifies that she is capable of identifying photographically the individual, also adding that with the identified photo one can also access the database of the British Police to ascertain if the same is related to any crimes against children

To bring this to your attention,

Signed

Jose Monteiro
Volume XIII, to 3425 to 3428
WITNESS TESTMONY
Date: 2007.06.14
Time: 12H00

Name: YVONNE WARREN MARTIN
Country: U.K.
Residence: E*********, no. *****. A********
Civil Status: ************
Profession: Social Services and Protection of Minors Manager

? Deponent is accompanied by an interpreter
? Has lived in Portugal for seven years, and works part-time. That said, she lives for some months in her home in S***** and for the rest of the year lives in England, where she works.
? In the past month of May or more precisely on the 04th of May 2007, the deponent was in Portugal, enjoying holidays, when at 07H00 turned on the television to an English news channel (BBC or SKY NEWS) and there viewed a an appeal for British citizens in the Algarve to offer all the help possible to a British couple who were holidaying in Praia da Luz and whose daughter, a minor, had gone missing since May 03, 2007.
? As she works directly with situation of children at risk, and as she found herself very close to Praia da Luz, she went to the location with the intent of offering her help and support to the couple. She got there around 09H30.
? Clarifies that she did not immediately head out to Praia da Luz as she still had some things to do at home but left around 09H00.
? Initially, she did not locate the exact site where the family was staying. At seeing a patrol car which passed by her, she asked those police if they could point her to the right location. She was accompanied by the patrol care until the apartment from where the child had disappeared and where the parents were located.
? At the locale, she found a group of three people, two of the masculine sex and one female.
? She went over to the group and identified herself.
? Two elements of that group, a male and the other female, identified themselves as the parents of the missing child?the couple McCann.
? The couple were visibly upset, and the mother was crying intensely.
? The third person never identified himself. The deponent asked who he was and the couple responded that he was a close friend of the family.
? She adds that this third person appeared familiar to her.
? Taking advantage of the facts she had heard of the disappearance via the news channel, she began questioning the couple how often they had checked on the children. The couple responded that people would go to see them every hour.
? As is normal and routine in her service, she questioned whether Gerry was the biological father of the missing child, and the response was yes.
? She clarifies that she asked this questions because in the course of her 25 years of service working with minors at risk, it is very normal that when a couple has children and where the father or the mother is not a biological parent, this person may have a tendency to come and get his/her child.
? After having obtained the verbal response from Gerry, the mother, Kate, questioned what was she doing asking such questions as these should be asked by the police, and who should have already been at the locale in large numbers looking for her daughter, who was taken by a couple.
? At this moment, the deponent began noting that the couple began questioning her and she immediately showed them her official documents and credentials issued by the British government to help calm them.
? Gerry took her documents and showed them to the third person and told him that they were authentic and had police certification.
? At this moment, the deponent wishes to clarify that, in England, whatever element who works with children, be it doctor, police, social worker, has to have a proper credential certified by the police and it was this document that she showed to the McCanns.
? She found it strange that Kate would have spoken to her of her daughter being taken by a couple. She tried to separate the couple so as to speak with greater privacy. She suggested to them to go inside the apartment. Kate aggressively rejected this idea and told her that they could speak on the street.
? The deponent then questioned is anyone from the Medical Centre had already contacted them as she was very agitated and needed some support. She responded that they had not.
? At this point, Kate told her that her daughter had already been missing for 13 hours. It was around 10 in the morning.
? Meanwhile a fourth individual came towards the group and identified himself as a journalist. The deponent alerted the couple to the type of declarations that they would transmit and that it would be better for them to maintain silence.
? At this moment, the third person, who was always near the couple and the deponent, told them in a whispering voice that the three had been talking for some time.
? After this, and leaving the couple behind him, he came next to the deponent and told her that the couple no longer were available to speak.
? As she noted earlier, this third person of the group is familiar to her, and thinks that she may have come across him in the course of her work as an arguido/suspect or as a witness.
? She describes him as a bit tallish, of about 1,80 m, about 35 years old, of normal physical complexion, short hair, dark in colour, with a round face and with a scar on the left side of his face which runs from part of the eyebrow to the check. He uses graduated glasses of small dimensions and with rectangular lenses. He spoke with a south England accent and was wearing cream coloured trouser and a dark polo.
? Questioned whether that it would be possible to identify him via a picture or in person, the deponent responds yes.
? She adds that, after having spoken to the McCann couple, she spoke with the resort manager, where after being identified, questioned him as to whether there had been a break-in in the apartment where the child stayed. He responded no but the door was open as were the blinds to the window, which, according to Kate, should have been closed but were found open.
? And nothing more was said.

nancy said...

Hi Wizard -

I've never given any credence to JT's bundleman. I think that was an afterthought to back up the McCann's story of a predator.

As you say, she may have wanted to put across the idea of his wearing gloves as there were no finger prints, besides Kate's, on the window frame or shutters,

As for getting in and out of the window - that would be the oddest way for anyone to try to escape with a four year old child, especially if there was a patio door left open. Also Diane Webster said she tried the window shutters and they were all in place.

As for the things they left behind at the tapas bar, it seems strange that DW went off without her handbag, especially as she was there on her own for a while before going back. I would say that their statements have been hugely edited to fall into place with each others.

CM's story of no mobiles or watches is an obvious cop out - maybe one or two people out of nine may not wear watches or have a mobile with them, but the whole 9of them would be far too much of a coincidence.

I must admit, I still go along with the idea that the children were given medication and Maddie had a fatal reaction to it. Kate continually checking on the twins that night to see if they were still breathing backs up that theory. And I do believe in the dogs - why would they only have picked up a scent in the McCann's apartment and hire car and nowhere else?

Obviously though it's only one theory amongst many others, but I do think someone will crack one of these days and the McCanns and their pals will head down that slippery slope they are desperately trying to avoid!

Off to read the latest thread on the 3A's now. BBL.

Nx

nancy said...

It sounds like Yvonne Martin is describing either Payne or Murat, but the description of his clothes definitely puts Payne in the picture. Does he have the scar on his face that she is referring to?

What is strange is Kate referring to a couple having taken Maddie. I hadn't heard that before. Why would she say that if she didn't know it was a couple?

I still maintain that the McCanns wouldn't have had the need for a spokesperson and world wide publicity, unless they knew that Maddie wouldn't be coming back.

This Social Worker's statement tells me that something sinister and very secretive was going on!

viv said...

Hiya Nancy

I recall the PJ conducted extensive tests on the window and found that it would have been impossible for anyone to have climbed through it, because there was no damage to the lichen on the frame which is slow growing, generally taking years to build up, but extremely fragile and easily rubbed off. Additionally small flakes of DNA material would have been left from both Maddie and the predator had they both struggled through this fairly small window. As you say the suggestion he would do this when wishing to escape very rapidly with a sleeping child is just ridiculous. He would have just gone through the door and most normal undrugged children would be starting to get rather fractious by this stage! Of course it is possible to take a child as we know from the man who took the child from the bath whilst mom was right there in the flat, but he must have put his hand over the child's mouth to stop her screaming, so this predator climbed through the window with Maddie, with his hand over her mouth, yea right!

viv said...

Hiya Nancy

I do not know whether Payne has the scar Yvonne Martin is referring to but when you read the memo LP sent to Portugal it is clear they are talking about Payne, not Murat.

I do think it is possible as you suggest Tanner just made the sighting up to finger Muraa because that was clearly the plan but struggle with this because her initial description is the same as the Smith family and Gerry obviously knew he got spotted so would hardly want Tanner to reinforce that, jmo!

xx

Wizard said...

Yvonne Martin’s involvement always seems a little strange to me. She is an English social worker with jurisdiction in England or am I wrong in this assumption? What I can’t understand, if I am right, is what was she doing questioning the McCanns in such detail and expecting a reply. She may have thought she could help of course but she was obviously running the risk of being considered a busy body. Does she have any official social work capacity in Portugal?

Wizard said...

An interesting comment by Anna Raccoon on internal censorship down at the Daily Mail. I copy below for information.

"Now you see it, now you don’t……
by Anna Raccoon on February 24, 2009
The early morning edition of The Daily Mail on-line carried an interesting story juxtaposing the the case of Stuart Lubbock with that of the disappearance of Madeleine McCann.
The obvious connection, that both cases are of deep concern to ex-solicitor Tony Bennett was studiously ignored.
Instead the connection was drawn by innuendo; first detailing the fact that key pieces of evidence had either disappeared from the scene or been fatally flawed by the undue faith that the first officers on the scene had placed on the version of events they had been ‘told’ rather than treating the scene as a crime scene where potentially any crime might have been committed, by any person; then pointing out that an apology was due since the police force had made ‘basic errors’ in their investigations; this was juxtaposed with a curious sentence that said (without stipulating ‘who’ had said)
Comparisons are now being made between Essex Police’s handling of the Lubbock case with the Portuguese police’s handling of the Madeleine McCann investigation.
Thus ensuring that any early morning reader of the paper would be led to believe that the same criticisms of the Portuguese handling of the McCann case could be made.
Presumably by 10,00 am the lawyers had arrived at work, or perhaps Clarence Mitchell had arisen from his slumbers, for at 10.22am a new version of the paper appeared on-line, identical in all but one respect - the sentence drawing comparison with the McCann case had now been removed - but not before several sharp eyed bloggers had spotted it and sent it on its merry way across cyberspace."

nancy said...

Hi Wizard,

Yes, I read that article by Anna Raccoon (lovely name!) and I just have to reiterate what someone said on the 3A's and that is just why did it take 8 years for the police to apologise to Mr Lubbock?

Let's hope we don't have a similar time to wait before Maddie receives a very public apology from those who are to blame for her disappearance, i.e. the parents!

The PJ and LP don't have the luxury of a body to help find clues as to what happened in Maddie's case of course!

Nx

nancy said...

Hi Viv -

I think that most of us, who haven't had the training and subsequent expertise that you must have gained while working as a Probation Officer, find it very difficult to come to terms with the idea that Maddie was sexually abused.

Having said that, I know it isn't beyond the realms of probability, bearing in mind that children who have suffered in this terrible way have come from all sorts of homes, poor, middle class and upper class. It is hard to discuss and even harder to prove unfortunately!

However, it would be interesting to find out if the spurious behaviour of both Gerry McCann and David Payne while on holiday in Majorca, is relevant.

Also highly coincidental is Yvonne Martin's recollection of having seen Payne before during her work in England.
===================================

Off to make the pancakes for tea!! A few more unwanted pounds!!


Nx

viv said...

Hiya both, Yvonne Martin clearly believes that Payne may have been the carrier, not Gerry as he was wearing those cream/beige trousers on the occasion she met him with Kate and Gerry. I have read that he sometimes wears contact lenses and if he was undertaking this task he would obviously have done so, because his specs would be such an identifying feature. Having always been adamant that Gerry was the character I think we have to acccept it may have been him. He also is about 5' 10 med build, brown hair short on top. There is a thread on the 3 As now running to about 1000 pages on David Payne, he clearly cannot be ignored as a major player in what happened to Maddie.

Wiz, I have to agree this social worker seemed to behave in a rather surprising and pushy way. Gerry apparently checked her credentials and was satisfied she had the right to speak to them. I am just wondering if she was sent to speak with them? I cannot quite get my head around this because it says she had been resident in Portugal for seven years but I suppose the possibility remains that she was acting on British authority. It is a bit weird, I just don't quite figure it at the moment. In their ordinary capacity with full authority they can be very forthright and pushy with parents but maybe she was forgetting she did not have that authority any longer? Perhaps that is the most likely explanation given the way she apparently approached the police but what credentials did she show Gerry? Presumably her credentials for acting in that capacity in Portugal and of course he would perhaps reason, well then she is acting in her official capacity and with Portuguese authority. Just running through some thoughts!

viv said...

Nancy, it is difficult to come to terms with the possibility of Maddie having been sexually abused, I know. But it is a common scenario, I am afraid and to me this case has always born so many hallmarks of that being a very clear possibility. In fact a pretty obvious explanation for her disappearance without trace and this so called pact of silence. Sex offenders may try to justify their behaviour but deep down they know it is entirely shocking and not something they want to admit.

xx

bath theory said...

So my next question is what relationship does Russell O'Brien have with David Payne?

bath theory said...

Are they friends, acquaintances or is a friendship there between the partners rather than them.

Di said...

Hi All

Thanks Nancy I am feeling much better.

I have so much housework to catch up with, I have not had much time to read today.

I find it unbelievable G & K were aggressive when Yvonne showed them her credentials, she also found them strange. Also Kate said a couple had abducted Maddie, how would Kate know this? No wonder DP stopped K & G talking to Yvonne. I am sure he was extremely worried about what Kate would say. Loose cannon springs to mind.

Viv

Was it not said that Yvonne was holidaying near PDL at the time, and that is why she went to offer her help, or have I got that wrong.

I really hope Maddie was not abused but realistically I know it is a possibility as it happens in all walks of life.

viv said...

Hiya BT - I confess I cannot clearly remembr the relationship now between OB and Payne but if I recall and I may have this wrong, they trained together and used to share digs in the Leics area, I think that was how Fiona met him?

Di, again, maybe I am not remembering things as well as I should, not sure if soc wkr was just holidaying there now! I though I read she had been living In Pt for 7 yrs and worked p/time.

Help I must be tired!

I am currently once again reading Payne, but it is really hard work and he just makes my flesh creep!

his bloody mindset!

"and I think, I suppose for my mindset, the main thing for me was that we were all, everyone was together as a group you know the locality of the, sort of the vicinity of the rooms was, was close enough to make everything as easy as possible, you know from, from all perspectives, whether it be during the day or, or during the evening.”

xxx

viv said...

I will put Payne's rog up on another thread for anyone who feels like a journey into what I believe is a pretty sick mind and of course all the erms ahs you knows..