Carter Ruck libel reform

John Witherow: on libel reform panel. Photograph: Vicki Couchman/The Times

Jason Deans and Stephen Brook, Wednesday 27 January 2010 15.35 GMT

The Sunday Times editor John Witherow and a partner from the law firm Carter-Ruck are among those who have been appointed to a government panel considering changes to the law on libel, the lord chancellor, Jack Straw, said today.

Straw said the group, made up of senior lawyers, newspaper executives and scientists, would look into concerns that the current law was having a "chilling effect" on freedom of expression.

Members of the group include Witherow, the long serving editor of the Sunday Times; Andrew Stephenson, a partner at Carter-Ruck and the libel specialist; and Desmond Browne QC, former chairman of the Bar Council; Robin Esser, the executive editor of the Daily Mail; Jo Glanville, the editor of Index on Censorship; Tony Jaffa, the head of the media team at solicitors Foot Anstey; and Marcus Partington, the chair of the Media Lawyers Association and the legal director, Mirror Group Newspapers.

Also on the panel are Jonathan Heawood, the director of English PEN; Gillian Phillips, the director of editorial legal services at the Guardian – part of the group that also publishes; the Medical Research Council chief executive, Sir Leszek Borysiewicz, and Sarah Jones, the BBC head of litigation and intellectual property.

The libel law review group will be chaired by Rowena Collins Rice, the Ministry of Justice's chief legal officer, and is expected to report in the middle of March.

Last month the ministry set formal terms of reference for the review: to "consider whether the law of libel, including the law relating to libel tourism, in England and Wales needs reform, and if so to make recommendations as to solutions".

The wide terms of reference will also allow the working party to look into whether the burden of proof should be shifted from defendant to plaintiff, as is the case in countries such as the US.

Other issues for examination include whether large and medium-sized corporations would have to prove malicious falsehood for a libel claim to succeed. It may also look at the implications of the internet for libel.

The working party would also address issues raised in a joint report prepared in November by Index on Censorship and English PEN, a charity that supports persecuted writers. John Kampfner, chief executive of Index, warned at the time that if the government did not reform the laws "we're at risk of becoming a global pariah".

The new panel will also look at considering the case for capping the level of damages that courts can award. The Index/PEN joint report recommended a libel damages cap of £10,000. The inquiry originally looked as if it would be confined to the issue of "libel tourism", but it seems officials believed it would not be possible to restrict the inquiry in this way.

The only issue that will be excluded are the costs of defamation proceedings because they are already the subject of a separate justice ministry consultation led by the court of appeal judge Lord Justice Jackson.

Earlier this month Jackson singled out media law as one of the areas where costs were highest in a 557-page report on the cost of all civil court proceedings.

Jackson said media organisations regularly paid four times the cost of damages in libel cases because of the success fees charged by lawyers and the insurance fees.

Straw subsequently published proposals last week to cut the fees lawyers who sue the media can charge by 90%.

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Source: Guardian

Kate and Gerry McCann: Exclusive photos from Kensington Roof Gardens

Exclusive to McCanns' Abuse of Power blog

Our photographer was there to record events as they unfolded outside Kensington Roof Gardens, 99 Kensington High Street, on Thursday 27 January, the 1,000th day since Madeleine McCann was reported missing by the McCanns on 3 May 2007.

Here, at 7.30pm, our photographer captures a nervous and gaunt-looking Kate Mccann. Clarence Mitchell, the McCanns' chief public relations spokesman, is nearby, organising the posse of 15 photographers, and looking young in his orange-dyed hair,

Gerry and Kate had come out of the celebrity fund-raising dinner to be photographed by the waiting papparazzi. To her right, as he nearly always is, Gerry McCann permits himself a hasty glance towards his wife. To Kate McCann's right, we see Mr Francis Herbert, Secretary General of Missing Children Europe, one of the groups to share the benefits from the fund-raising event.

Copyright: All Rights Reserved by Jill Havern. Do not reproduce without permission.

Other guests that evening included Gloria Hunniford, Jack Dee, Martin Houghton-Brown, Fern Brittan and Lord David Steel. Across Britain, 1000 lanterns were lit and sent into the air, one lantern for every day that Madeleine has not been found.

And so Gerry McCann's amazing prophecy was fulfulled once again. Just 55 days after he and his wife reported Madeleine missing, he said "I have no doubt we will be able to sustain a high profile for Madeleine’s disappearance in the long-term” (G McCann, 28 June 2007).

One little footnote. Amongst the photographers waiting to greet the McCanns was one Ian West, the Norfolk photographer whose name has been linked to various blogs and forums that comment on the McCann case.

How do we know? Well, Ian's not that tall. Sometimes he needs a 'leg-up' so he can take photos along with his taller comrades. He brought along with him his little yellow foldable stool. And if there were any doubt that it belonged to him, he had helpfully labelled it: 'Ian West'."

Also copyright: All Rights Reserved by Jill Havern. Do not reproduce without permission.

Look who said he was going away for a couple of days

Just a thought you know

Another exclusive photo can be seen on Little Morsals blog

McCanns' Star-studded Child Neglecters Ball

Fundraiser: (l-r) Gerry McCann, Martin Houghton-Brown, Chief Executive Missing People, Kate McCann and Francis Herbert, Secretary General, Missing Children Europe at a Madeleine McCann fundraiser held at the Kensington Roof Gardens

Gloria Hunniford and Fiona Phillips

Peter Bowles and Lord David Steele

Daily Mail and related articles

Maddie: 20 people attend mass in Praia da Luz, 27 January 2010

Maddie: 20 people attend mass in Praia da Luz TVI

27-01-2010 21: 18
Thanks to Astro for translation

Approximately 20 people attended a religious ceremony this Wednesday, at the Church of Praia da Luz, to mark the passage of 1000 days since the disappearance of Madeleine McCann, which happened in May 2007, in that Algarve village.

The initiative, which was organised by the FindMadeleine Fund, and celebrated by Anglican priest Haynes Hubbard, gathered mainly members of the English community that resides in Praia da Luz, near Lagos.

At the end of the prayer "to remember Maddie", which lasted for about half an hour, the participants set off some light lanterns into the sky, in a homage to the little missing girl.

"It's a symbolic gesture to mark the disappearance, with a request for Madeleine to return to her parents", Haynes Hubbard told the journalists.

"We want to help maintain the efforts to find Maddie", he observed.

In the United Kingdom, the FindMadeleine fund prepared similar initiatives, in order to mark 1000 days after Madeleine McCann's disappearance.

Madeleine McCann, then aged four, disappeared on the night of May 3, 2007, from a holiday apartment in Praia da Luz, while she was sleeping in her bedroom with two siblings and her parents dined in a nearby restaurant.

The parents, Kate and Kerry [sic] McCann, who always maintained the position that Maddie was abducted, were made arguidos in September 2007, but ended up being cleared in July 2008 due to a lack of evidence to sustain the hypothesis that had been put forward by the inquiry, of the little girl's accidental death.

The Public Ministry archived the process, that may be reopened at any time, if new data that is considered to be consistent, about the child's disappearance, appears.


Dr Gerry McCann: "We want a big event to raise awareness that she is still missing"

Posted by Paulo Reis on Madeleine McCann Disappearance

Al Pacino is a wonderful actor. His performance in “The Devil’s Advocate” is amazing. His final phrase, in the movie, as you can see in the video from YouTube, is fantastic: “Vanity… definitely, my favorite sin..” Let me be, for a while, the Devil’s Advocate, a job that still exists, today, in the Vatican, and ask just one question.

It seems that Clarence Mitchell, at last, said something that is not a complete lie. He said that the McCann never expected to be for a so long time without Madeleine. Why do I consider it only a half-truth? Because Gerry McCann, on June 3, 2007, said something that made me think that he was not expecting news of his daughter for, at least, one year.

Talking to Jason Groves, from the “Daily Express”, Gerry McCann, 38, said: “One of the ideas is maybe getting all the people who have publicly supported us to come together. I don’t just mean from the UK but from different parts of the world. We want a big event to raise awareness that she is still missing.

“We would look at high-profile people who have already pledged support. It will be some sort of focus around an anniversary, to tell people that Madeleine’s still missing. I think it would be later this year, once media attention has dropped, to bring it back up, hopefully, for a short period.

“It wouldn’t be a one-year anniversary; it will be sooner than that. What we’re doing at the minute has its role but doing that down the line in a few months won’t have anything like the same impact. We might have a sporting event, something arts, something music." (end of quote)

I don’t know what Kate McCann was thinking about that, in June 3, 2007. But I know (because Gerry McCann said that and it was printed in a newspaper and reproduced in thousands of sites in the Net) that he was not expecting to see Madeleine within, at least, one year. It’s one third of 1,000 days – 365 days.

Clarence Mitchell said something about Madeleine’s disappearance that it’s half-truth. Keep working hard and you will see that, one day, you will be able to say something about this case that is a complete truth.

But the question I want to ask to Mr. Gerry McCann is the following: you were planning events for a long period of time – more than one year – so you were why sure that Madeleine McCann would not be found within one year. Why?

Dr Gerry McCann's libel action

Posted on NHS exposed

A libel case has commenced between the McCanns and Goncalo Amaral. A summary of the disappearance of Madeleine McCann can be read here.

"A libel trial will start today of a former senior Portuguese detective who published a book alleging that Madeleine McCann died inside her parents' apartment"

A more interesting report is listed here. A further detailed report of the trial is listed by the Telegraph.

The issue of superinjunctions was addressed by Private Eye in this article.

It is probably always a bad idea to sue in Libel given a loss could be extremely damaging. The McCanns have accused Goncalo Amaral of "making money". Making money appears to be done bilaterally.

Many people have donated to the McCann cause.

"The News of the World and businessmen including Sir Richard Branson have jointly pledged £1.5m. Scottish tycoon Stephen Winyard has offered £1m".

Four newspapers paid damages for the McCanns. So all in all, a lot of money has been flying around. A blogger detailed the transcripts of a very interesting documentary called The Truth of the Lie. Various blogs dedicate themselves to the detectives investigation. here is one of them. The Truth of the Lie [ the website] is even more fascinating. It appears that everyone has something to say about the McCanns.

The Mirror states

"The McCanns are asking for £1million compensation which they plan to donate to the Find Madeleine fund."

Amaral is not taking this lying down and has amusingly issued a second book . Amaral yesterday released a second book which details the legal wrangles over the publication of the first". The English Gag was reported here. Amaral answers further questions here.

From our point of view, it is interesting that Amaral has not referred the matter to the General Medical Council for investigation. If he is so convinced of his theories, he should test them under the GMC's Good Medical Practice. After all, the case law as it stands makes it clear that a dropped police investigation or cleared court case does not mean the GMC cannot investigate the medical obligations of a doctor. If he is alleging the McCanns did something wrong, he should test his evidence.

We discussed this aspect of dropped police investigations and court hearings here. The case law is crystal clear. A dropped police investigation does not ban the GMC from investigating professional misconduct.

These days misconduct by the GMC's own definition is "anything" that can be "capable of being so". This is an argument provided by Mark Shaw QC in the case R v General Medical Council Ex Parte Pal. and accepted by Collins J. Afterall, a police investigation dropped in the case of GMC v Gopakumar was taken up by the General Medical Council. Dr Gopakumar was struck off. The General Medical Council admitted themselves that they did not require a complaint to strike up an investigation.

The above is the law as it stands. It is now up to the General Medical Council to uphold the law. At some point Mr Amaral ought to ask the General Medical Council why they opted not to conduct an investigation into the evidence he has presented in the public domain.

Of course, it isn't that I have no sympathy for the McCanns, I am simply pointing out the law of the land as delivered and executed by the General Medical Council. We are not responsible for the law. The GMC and the judiciary are responsible.

We are just interested in the discriminatory way in which it is applied. While the McCanns are able to diss the Portuguese Police force, by their own admission, the Portuguese Police are not entitled to defend themselves publicly. Similarly, while legions of doctors stand at the GMC with lesser allegations than that laid against the McCanns, it appears no GMC investigation will be conducted into them. We then ask the question why?

The McCanns have gagged many people who have simply had the temerity to question their story. Is this correct in a democratic society?

Faked Abduction: SECOND vile book accuses the McCanns of lying about Madeleine's disappearance


Published: Today

MADELEINE McCann's parents will today mark a THOUSAND days since she vanished - with a vow NEVER to give up searching for her.

Doctors Kate and Gerry are to host a fundraising dinner as a thousand lanterns are poignantly released into the sky around the world.

Anguished Kate, 41, will tell guests in London how she struggles to even say the landmark number. Opening her heart, the mum, of Rothley, Leics, admits in her speech: "It's difficult sometimes to understand how we've been able to keep going and survive without Madeleine."

The event bears the poignant title: "Still Missing, Still Missed: An Evening for Madeleine". She was three when she vanished on a 2007 holiday in Praia da Luz, Portugal.

Vowing to "turn every stone" her mum will declare: "We will never give up on Madeleine." Poet Simon Armitage will unveil a specially-written sonnet entitled The Beacon. The grim anniversary comes as a SECOND vile book - Faked Abduction - accuses the McCanns of lying about Maddie's disappearance.

Brit Steve Marsden repeats claims in a book by ex-Portuguese cop Goncalo Amaral.

Family spokesman Clarence 'I have to wear a toupee now cos lying for the McCanns has made me tear my hair out' Mitchell said: "Everything Mr Marsden alleges is entirely untrue."

Source: The McSun
Maddie: The truth about the lie

Unasked questions about the Press Complaints Commission

Express apology to Kate and Gerry McCann – but should they have gone to the Press Complaints Commission instead?
Photograph: Martin Cleaver/AP

There may be concern about press regulation – but has the Media Standards Trust got to the nub of it?

Peter Preston The Observer, Sunday 24 January 2010

Consider one question. "Where there are signs of public concern, would you expect an independent press self-regulatory body to carry out an investigation into an article infringing the prime minister's privacy by recording a personal telephone call between the prime minister and a third party?" 73% say yes (definitely or probably) to Ipsos-Mori on that.

Or consider a slightly amended question: "When Jacqui Janes, the grieving mother of soldier killed in Afghanistan, talks on the phone to Gordon Brown, is she entitled to record that conversation, complain because he can't spell her name correctly, and pass the tape to a newspaper"?

I don't know the answer to that, because the pollsters (on contract to the reform-minded Media Standards Trust) didn't ask it. Nor did they exactly round out similar queries about an article "alleging that there are unexplained circumstances over the death of a pop star" or "accusations by a British newspaper that parents of a child were involved in the disappearance of their child".

Should the McCanns have gone to the Press Complaints Commission instead of winning £550,000 from the Express group in libel damages?

Adam Tudor: Lawyer of the Week

What was your most memorable experience as a lawyer?

"Naturally it would be pretty hard to top Mr and Mrs McCann’s victory against Express Group."

Cover up Britain: Dr David Kelly's post mortem to be kept secret for 70 years

David Kelly's post mortem to be kept secret for 70 years as doctors accuse Lord Hutton of concealing vital information

Vital evidence which could solve the mystery of the death of Government weapons inspector Dr David Kelly will be kept under wraps for up to 70 years.

In a draconian – and highly unusual – order, Lord Hutton, the peer who chaired the controversial inquiry into the Dr Kelly scandal, has secretly barred the release of all medical records, including the results of the post mortem, and unpublished evidence.

The move, which will stoke fresh speculation about the true circumstances of Dr Kelly’s death, comes just days before Tony Blair appears before the Chilcot Inquiry into the Iraq War.

It is also bound to revive claims of an establishment cover-up and fresh questions about the verdict that Dr Kelly killed himself.

Tonight, Dr Michael Powers QC, a doctor campaigning to overturn the Hutton findings, said: ‘What is it about David Kelly’s death which is so secret as to justify these reports being kept out of the public domain for 70 years?’

Campaigning Liberal Democrat MP Norman Baker, who has also questioned the verdict that Dr Kelly committed suicide, said: ‘It is astonishing this is the first we’ve known about this decision by Lord Hutton and even more astonishing he should have seen fit to hide this material away.’

The body of former United Nations weapons inspector Dr Kelly was found in July 2003 in woods close to his Oxfordshire home, shortly after he was exposed as the source of a BBC news report questioning the Government’s claims that Saddam Hussein had an arsenal of weapons of mass destruction, which could be deployed within 45 minutes.

Lord Hutton’s 2004 report, commissioned by Mr Blair, concluded that Dr Kelly killed himself by cutting his wrist with a blunt gardening knife.

It was dismissed by many experts as a whitewash for clearing the Government of any culpability, despite evidence that it had leaked Dr Kelly’s name in an attempt to smear him.

Full article in Daily Mail
Related: Clarence Mitchell: David Kelly/Hutton Enquiry
Clarence Mitchell's profile

Gerry McCann to speak at CEOP conference this week

Posted on mccannfiles

23 January 2010

Gerry McCann will speak at a one day conference, organised by the Child Exploitation and Online Protection Centre (CEOP), on Tuesday 26 January 2010, in London.

The conference is entitled: 'Taken: Sexually-motivated child abductions' and Gerry McCann will deliver the closing speech at 16:00, prior to a question and answer session for all speakers.

Full details can be viewed by clicking the image here.


An email response from CEOP

The following email was received in response to a query asking why Gerry McCann had been invited to speak at the conference:

RE: Taken conference
Tuesday, 19 January, 2010 11:45:18From: CEOP Training Add



Dear Mr xxxx

Thank you for your interest in the work of CEOP and your comments. We hope that the fact that you disagree with our choice of speaker at one of our conferences will not affect your interest in our work once you have read this message.

The courses and conferences which we run are mainly for the benefit of those working in law enforcement and public protection and, as a result, we invite a variety of speakers who have relevant knowledge or experience of the conference topic. The fact that we invite a speaker does not mean that we endorse their views. Our conferences allow people to exchange and challenge views. The current position regarding the McCanns is that they are the parents of a missing child who is presumed to have been abducted: that being the case anything that Gerry McCann has to say will be of interest to those who work in this area and will attend the conference.

I hope this clarifies our position in relation to Gerry McCann's presence at the conference.

CEOP Training


Aníbal Ferreira: The strange McCann case

From Joana Morais blog

by Aníbal Ferreira

Imagine you had been a police officer for 30 years and that you were investigating the disappearance of a little English girl named Maddie McCann.

Imagine that all the police officers, including you, concluded that the little girl had died and that the parents were suspects of being involved in concealing the body.

Imagine that the little girl’s parents were made official suspects and that the English press started to call you “bungling cop”, “amateur”, “corrupted”, “inept”, “incompetent” and “failure”.

Imagine that the English press started to announce on a daily basis that you had “manufactured the case”, “made stuff up”, “”ditched vital evidence”, “hampered the investigation”, that you were “biased”, “cruel” and “lying”.

Imagine that for month after month, the English press called you “fat”, “drunk”, “torturer”, “stupid”, “imbecile” and “infamous”, repeating 418 times that you were a “disgraced” man and that the mother of your children was a “prostitute”.

Imagine that the police’s political directory did not defend you and that, quite to the contrary, it took the case investigation away from you, allowing for the English press to print the headline “Sacked!” and to renew all previous attacks with increased violence.

Imagine that the Public Ministry declared that the process would wait for the production of better evidence and that said statement was understood in England as an “acquittal” of the little girl’s parents, prompting even more attacks from the press against the “bungling cop”, “amateur” and “corrupt”, who “manufactured the case”, “made stuff up” and “ditched vital evidence”.

Have you imagined all of this? Well, then answer this question: IF YOU COULD WRITE A BOOK TO DEFEND YOUR REPUTATION, WOULD YOU WRITE IT?

Now imagine that the book was taken off the market because it damaged the little girl’s parents’ reputation…

Maddie: The truth about the lie may be censored but you can read the english version here.

Dr. Katherina Gaspar's statement about Dr David Payne finds its way into the press

Section: British Press

McCanns defend their action against detective

Gerry McCann defended his legal action against a detective who led the investigation into his daughter's disappearence, saying his book had damaged the search for Madeleine. He spoke to reporters as he left a court in Lisbon on the second day of a hearing at which former police chief Gonçalo Amaral is attempting to overturn a ban on his book, which questions the McCanns' account of what happened to Madeleine.

Gerry flew home after the second day of the trial and Kate was joined by Fiona Payne, a member of the so-called Tapas seven group of friends.

However there have been worrying reports regarding her husband, David, who was also amongst the group. Dr. Katherina Zacharias Gaspar told Leicestershire Police on May, 16, 2007, [report was only sent to the PJ on 24 October 2007] that she and her husband were friends of the McCanns and went on holiday with them and the Paynes in September 2005. During this holiday an incident stuck in her mind.

"I was sitting between Gerry and David and I think both were talking about Madeleine (...). I remember David saying something to Gerry about "she", meaning Madeleine 'would do this'. While he mentioned the word 'this', David was doing the action of sucking one of his fingers, pushing it in and out of his mouth, while with his other hand he was doing a circle around his nipple (...). I remember being shocked by that." (Chapter 9 Maddie: The truth about the lie)

Gerry also told reporters outside the court that there is 'absolutely no evidence' that Maddie is dead, after the testimonies of three members of the Portuguese Police expressed their suspicions of her death during the hearing.

in Euro Weekly News, 21st to 27 January 2009, Costa Blanca - Edition 1281 (page 10)
Source: Joana Morais

Other statements worth a look can be found here

Clarence (soon to be a Conservative MP) Mitchell's quote of the day:

"Kate and Gerry both feel that they do very good work for missing children and adults and it is only right that they benefit."

Source: Leicester Mercury

Clarence Mitchell: A Promise

Coming soon to a letterbox near you


After Kate and Gerry McCann succeeded in Carter-Rucking Tony Bennett following distributing leaflets based on official police files, Team McCann have seen fit to do their own 'abduction propaganda' leaflet drop based on no evidence whatsoever.

I received this leaflet, along with a couple of other printed items in the post today.

But I guess it's ok if they do it.

A lawyer on the McCann's warpath

Posted by jailhouselaywer on the comments section on Joana Morais

And from the blog of jailhouselawyer:

"One phone call.
One email can end one family’s nightmare”.

Your wish is my command, but be careful what you wish for…

I have made one phone call to my solicitor’s. And, so far, sent one email to his address…

I remember a gangster once saying to me: “I could bust your head, break both your arms and legs and I would still have to keep looking over my shoulder because you don’t give up”.

I chuckled because he was showing me respect. The McCanns did not show Madeleine respect for her right to life. I have no respect for Gerry and Kate McCann, this is why I am bringing court actions.


It is not one action but a combination. However, as always the devil is in the detail.


Judgment of Mrs Justice Hogg at the High Court, Family Division, RCJ, London,
7th July 2008, in open court

Madeleine went missing on 3 May 2007 just a few days before her 4th birthday, while she was holidaying with her family in the Algarve in Portugal.

On 17 May 2007 Madeleine’s parents invoked the jurisdiction of this Court under the Inherent Jurisdiction of the Court, and The Child Abduction and Custody Act, and the Hague Convention. They sought various orders and directions aimed at ascertaining the whereabouts and recovery of Madeleine. I became involved with the proceedings shortly afterwards.

On 2 April 2008 Madeleine became a Ward of this Court, and since that date has remained a Ward.

At all times jurisdiction was assumed by the Court because, there being no evidence to the contrary, it is presumed Madeleine is alive”.

When I first heard that the McCanns intended to apply to make Madeleine a Ward of Court I suspected that what was behind it was trying to protect the McCanns copyright to profit from the sale of Madeleine wristbands etc. In any event, I wondered how a dead child could be made a Ward of Court. As you can see from Mrs Justice Hogg’s partial judgment above her reasoning is based upon an assumption. Having studied critical criminology, the aim being to knock down the assumptions of the positivist’s approach to criminology, I attack the assumption. Ironically, with another assumption.

“In law, death in absentia is the status of a person who has been declared presumed dead when the person disappears but no identifiable remains can be located or recovered”. As I understand it, we are talking about the civil standard of on the balance of probabilities as opposed to the criminal beyond all reasonable doubt.

Mrs Justice Hogg has erred in law. Neither the The Child Abduction and Custody Act 1985, nor the Hague Convention apply in this case.

The correct legal position, in my view, is that Madeleine can be declared dead and a death certificate issued. Therefore, I am applying for this. There are two ways the authorities can respond, simply issue the death certificate and be done with it, or order an inquest with a coroner and jury. Obviously, I would prefer the latter.

Kate McCann: Whatever could be the matter?

Why have you gone from looking so radiant and happy just days after Maddie went missing, allegedly taken by a gang of paedophiles... looking so forlorn nearly three years later?

Whatever could have upset you so?

Wouldn't have anything to do with Gonçalo vowing to fight you in the European Court of Human Rights would it?

Maddie: The Truth about the Lie

Vice President of NHS Patients Association, Sir Richard Branson, to host child neglecting Doctor McCann's fund raising party

By James Murray and Tracey Kandohla

Defiant Kate and Gerry McCann will mark the 1,000th day since their daughter disappeared with a celebrity packed £150-a-head fundraising dinner and auction at a top London venue.

Tycoon Sir Richard Branson (who owns Kensington Roof Gardens) and their businessman backer Brian Kennedy will join stars at Kensington Roof Gardens in west London on January 27 (which is also International Holocaust Remembrance Day).

Radio Five’s Nicky Campbell and children’s author JK Rowling have also been invited.

The event for 180 supporters comes in the middle of the couple’s tense court battle against their tormentor, former police chief Goncalo Amaral, in Lisbon and gives them a night of light relief after weeks of stress.

Kate, 41, said yesterday: “We will raise money for Madeleine’s Fund and the ongoing search for her.

“If our circumstances remain unchanged, this day will sadly mark 1,000 days since Madeleine was taken from us.”

Money will be raised through ticket sales and a charity auction. Half the profits, expected to exceed £100,000, will go to Madeleine’s Fund, which currently stands at about £400,000, with the other half split between two other charities.

Kate explained: “Madeleine’s Fund is not depleted but we are aware, given the uncertainty of our situation, that we need to plan ahead to continue the search to find her.”

Kate said: “Fifty per cent of the profits from the event will be split between two charities, Missing ­People and Missing Children Europe.

“These two charities are among many others who work incredibly hard despite limited funding to help missing and exploited children.”

A close friend of the McCanns, who live in Rothley, Leicestershire, said: “Kate and Gerry are hoping to raise as much money as possible to help them and two other charities.

“The guests are people who have pledged their support to help find Madeleine, including celebrities and wealthy business people.”

The friend added: “The event doesn’t indicate that the fund is in ­crisis but money does need to come in.” Madeleine vanished from her parents’ holiday flat in Praia da Luz, ­Portugal, in May 2007, just days before her fourth birthday.

The Portugese police have shelved the case, leaving the McCanns effectively on their own and needing a flow of cash to finance the hunt for leads into their daughter’s disappearance, though there is a certain amount of support from Leicestershire Police.


Support from Leicester police includes:

Failing to send Gaspar witness statements to Portuguese police so they could investigate allegations of paedophilia about Dr David Payne and Dr Gerry McCann:

"I was seated between Dave and Gerry who I believe were both speaking about Madeleine. I don’t remember the conversation in its entirety, but it seemed they were discussing a possible scenario. I remember Dave telling Gerry something like “her”, referring to Madeleine, “would do this”.. When he mentioned “this”, Dave was sucking on one of his fingers, pushing it inside and outside his mouth, while with the other hand he made a circle around his nipple, in a circulatory movement over his clothes. This was done in a provocative manner and carried an explicit insinuation in relation to what he was saying and doing. I remember that I was shocked at this, and looked at Gerry, and also at Dave, to see their reactions. I looked around as if saying “did anyone else hear this, or was it just me”. There was a nervous silence registered in all the conversations and afterwards, everyone began talking again."

Statement by Doctor Katherina Gaspar can be found here:

Linking to the McCann's fraudulent fund on the official police website, despite being prime suspects in the death and faked abduction of their own daughter.

I hope Richard Branson, JK Rowling, Nicky Campbell and all the other celebrities will spare a thought for the evidence of blood and death scent found in the McCann's apartment and hire car when they pay £150 per head to help raise more money for the McCann's Mortgage Fund.
Related: Let's hold a Madeleine Day for the whole world
Rent-a-Cop Dave Edgar: 'Maddie is alive, and well, and living in Portugal'
Well Look Who's Crawled Out From The Woodwork, Dave, I'm Such a Whore, Edgar

Grenville Green: McCann's Libel Trial in Lisbon

from Tony Bennett, Secretary, The Madeleine Foundation


Here’s some brief notes about Grenville Green’s 6 days in Portugal (11 to 16 January), based on what he told me on a 2-hour journey tonight from Gatwick Airport to Cambridgeshire, where tonight he’s reunited with his wife again. I’m sure he’ll have more to say in due course.

So far as he’s concerned, it was very much ‘mission accomplished’. He was able to demonstrate by his physical presence in Lisbon British support for Goncalo Amaral, he was in the court-room for the best part of all three days, he met up with some of Amaral’s supporters including of course the tireless Joana Morais, he was interviewed by British TV journalists and appeared on SKY and BBC News with his comments on free speech, and he made it to the fund-raising dinner in Lisbon for Amaral.

On the court case, as the proceedings were entirely in Portuguese, he could not follow the content, but instead chose to focus on the body-language of those in the court room.

Most noticeable, he said, was the strange body language of Dr Gerald McCann. Most of the time, he stared resolutely and fixedly ahead, at no-one in particular. His translator would whisper the English translation of what was being said to him and as the first day wore on he was showing more and more irritation at what was being said. This was evident from his shifting around on his bottom, rubbing and scratching his head and ear, mostly with is left arm, immediately after each segment of translation was whispered to him.

Grenville, who had not seen Dr Gerald McCann’s performance outside the court on day two, said that his impatience and annoyance seemed to reach a peak during that morning.

Dr Kate McCann sat next to her husband, also relatively impassive. Occasionally they would whisper to each other.

The lady judge was described by Grenville as ‘young and very attractive’. He said: “She seemed to be far too young to be a judge on such an important and complex matter”. He said she intervened relatively rarely in the proceedings. He was told by one of the Portuguese that she was not selected specially for this trial; according to the person he spoke to, there was a strict rota for judicial appointments for trials and she was selected only on that basis. He also learnt that she was the daughter of one of Portugal’s most senior prosecutors.

There were two to three dozen people sitting on the public benches on the first day; rather fewer on days two and three. Many of those he saw on day one were also at the dinner for Amaral.

As Amaral entered the court, Grenville shouted: “Good luck from England, Goncalo Amaral”. This led to a couple of British journalists taking an interest in him and interviewing him.

He also met Joana Morais who was very friendly to him. She spent time in the court surrounded by what appeared to be translators and supporters of Goncalo Amaral. Once inside the court, he was introduced to Amaral; the two men shook hands and Grenville gave him a Grenville-style bear hug.

The evidence of the police officers, Moite Flores and the publishers of the book all came across authoritatively and seemed to cause Dr Gerald McCann to squirm, wriggle and twitch as some of the proceedings were translated to him.

Grenville got tickets for the fund-raising event on day one from his hotel. As the event at the Marraparque (not sure if I’ve spelt that right) was some distance away from where he was staying, he had to get a taxi there. He booked a return taxi and wished he hadn’t as he and Stephen enjoyed the dinner so much he didn’t want to leave. There were 60-70 guests there.

During the main address by one of Amaral’s supporters, Grenville heard his name mentioned. This was followed by a round of enthusiastic applause from those present. A little later on there was a reference to the work of the Madeleine Foundation.

During the dinner Grenville asked if one of the Portuguese people would pass a gift from him to Amaral. The gift was of a fridge magnet showing a 1939 to 1945 war poster. The poster showed a child digging in the garden and his mother planting a seed against the slogan: ‘Dig for Victory’. When Grenville began to explain the link between the poster and Goncalo Amaral’s work, the Portuguese chap said: “Come and explain to Mr Amaral himself, I’ll translate for you”.

Grenville went over and explained that whilst the British child was digging to plant seeds, he had been digging for the truth. Grenville told him that he’d also bought one for his own fridge at home and said that every time he looked at it he would think of Mr Amaral. When Grenville had to go when his taxi arrived, he and Stephen tried to slip away quietly but were spotted by Mr Amaral who came over to shake hands and thank him warmly for coming. He also said through a translator: “I hope you can come to Portugal again; I want to tell you that if you do you will be made very welcome.

At the dinner Stephen was very well received, many people chatting to him. Grenville had a long chat to Duarte Levy. He also bought Amaral’s new book: ‘The English Gag’ which he hopes to get a Portuguese person to translate for him. Joana Morais was unable to attend the dinner as she needed to upload material for her blog about the trial. She told Grenville that keeping up the blog was almost a full-time job and at busy times meant working until the early hours of the morning.

That’s about it, I’m sure Grenville will add a few more tales when he has a moment.

Reporter to Gerry McCann: "Don't you feel that by going through this it forces people to talk about a thesis you wanted to shut up?"

'Jedward' arrives at the court for the start of the libel trial

Here's a few Newspaper headlines about the McCann's Libel Trial in Lisbon that was posted on the McCann Gallery:

BBC - Ex-Madeleine McCann detective seeks to lift book ban
Madeleine McCann's parents have faced an ex-detective across a courtroom in Lisbon, Portugal as he tried to overturn a ban on his book.

Belfast Telegraph - We believe Madeleine McCann died in family’s apartment, detective tells libel trial
Portuguese police believed Madeleine McCann died in her family's holiday flat and that her parents faked her abduction, a court has heard.

Sun - 'Maddie is dead and you hid her'
MADELEINE McCann's parents were yesterday accused of faking her kidnap and hiding her body.

Sun - Kate dreamt Maddie's body was on a hillside
KATE McCann had a dream in which she saw the body of missing daughter Madeleine on a hillside above their holiday resort, a court heard

Guardian - McCanns in court to fight book ban appeal
Madeleine died in family's flat, claims ex-detective as her parents seek €1.2m for defamation in second case

Herald Scotland - Report found Madeleine died in holiday apartment, court told
A report into the disappearance of Madeleine McCann, signed off by a Portugese police chief, said she had died in the family’s holiday apartment, a court heard yesterday.


Telegraph - Madeleine McCann's death 'covered up by parents who faked kidnap', court hears
Madeleine McCann died in an accident in her family's Algarve holiday apartment and her death was covered up by her parents who then concocted a tale of kidnap, a Portuguese court was told.

Mail - Court agony for McCanns: Couple listen in disbelief as Portuguese police say Maddie is dead and abduction was faked

TORMENTED Kate McCann had a nightmare that Madeleine had been murdered – and then told police where to look for the body.

Star (Paper Version) - 'Madeleine died inside apartment'

MADELEINE McCann died in her family’s holiday apartment as the result of a tragic accident and her parents concealed her body, a police chief told a court in Portugal yesterday.

Legal Brief Today - Madeleine McCann's death covered up by parents, court told

Sky News - McCanns Brace For More Cover-Up Claims
The parents of Madeleine McCann are preparing to face a second day in court listening to claims that they covered up their daughter's death.

Sky News - Madeleine McCann 'Died In Holiday Apartment'
A report into the disappearance of Madeleine McCann, signed by a police chief, said she had died in the family's holiday apartment, a court has been told.

Scotsman - Madeleine's death was covered up by McCanns, Portuguese court told
PORTUGUESE police believed Madeleine McCann died in her family's holiday flat and that her parents faked her abduction, a court has heard.

And a few from around the world (with translation where necessary courtesy of Google).

AFP (Agence France Press) - Parents of Madeleine McCann face accuser in court
LISBON — The parents of missing girl Madeleine McCann faced a former Portuguese police officer in a libel court on Tuesday over his claims that she is dead and that they were involved in her disappearance.

Herald Sun (Australia) - Missing British girl Madeleine McCann 'died in holiday apartment'
A REPORT into the Portugal disappearance of British child Madeleine McCann, signed by a police chief, said she died in her family's holiday apartment, a court has heard today.

Nu (Netherlands) - 'Madeleine McCann stierf in vakantiewoning' ("Madeleine McCann died in holiday home")
LONDEN - De verdwenen Britse peuter Madeleine McCann is al in de vakantiewoning van haar ouders in het Portugese Praia da Luz in mei 2007 om het leven gekomen. (LONDON - The British toddler Madeleine McCann disappeared has been in the apartment of her parents in Praia da Luz in Portugal in May 2007 killed.)

De Morgen (Belgium) - Hoofdinspecteur: "Maddie overleed in vakantiewoning" (Captain: "Maddie died in holiday apartment")

RTL Nieuws (Netherlands) - Madeleine McCann al in 2007 dood (Madeleine McCann in 2007 death)
Het verdwenen Britse meisje Madeleine McCann is al in de vakantiewoning van haar ouders in Portugal om het leven gekomen. (The missing British girl Madeleine McCann has been in the apartment of her parents in Portugal killed.)

Correio da Manhã (Portugal) - “Maddie morreu e pais ocultaram” (Maddie died and parents hid her)

VG Nett (Norway) - Politirapport: Madeleine døde i foreldrenes ferieleilighet (Police Report: Madeleine died in their parents' holiday apartment)
En rapport fra portugisisk politi viser at Madeleine McCann skal ha dødd i familiens ferieleilighet.(A report by Portuguese police show that Madeleine McCann must have died in the family's holiday apartment.)

Nettavisen (Norway) - Maddie døde i leiligheten (Maddie died in the apartment)
Rettssaken ekteparet McCann har reist i Lisboa er i gang. (The trial, the couple McCann traveled in Lisbon is under way.)

IOL (South Africa) - Parents hid Maddie's body, court told


You can follow the court case on Twitter here

Madeleine Foundation member to attend McCann v Amaral trial in Lisbon

Posted by Tony Bennett, The Madeleine Foundation

One of the most significant libel cases ever to take place in Europe is scheduled to start on Tuesday 12 January.

The libel action is being brought by Dr. Gerald McCann and Dr Kate McCann.

It is being brought against Dr Goncalo Amaral, the senior detective who was in charge of the investigation into the disappearance of Madeleine McCann until he was removed from the enquiry on 3 October 2009. Shortly before then, he had claimed off the record to a journalist that there was interference with his investigation by the British government.

His offence, in the eyes of the McCanns, was to publish a book: ‘The Truth About A Lie’, about his investigation. Controversially, but very much in line with a dossier compiled on 10 September 2007 by senior detective Tavares de Almeida, he concluded that the evidence in the case pointed to Madeleine McCann having died in her parents’ holiday apartment in Praia da Luz. The McCanns are also suing Dr Amaral’s publishers, Guerra e Paz.

The Madeleine Foundation will be represented at the opening of the trial

One of our members has booked a plane ticket and will be at the opening of this important civil trial, which will undoubtedly affect freedom of speech in Europe whatever the outcome.

The McCanns have referred to much of Dr Amaral’s book as ’lies’. When they attended the court on 11 December, when the trial was scheduled to start, they told the press: ‘Freedom of speech does not meet freedom to distort’. The case was adjourned because Goncalo Amaral’s lawyer was stricken with swine ’flu at the time.

By contrast Dr Amaral will argue that the material in his book is factual information from the investigation, backed up by the thousands of pages of documents that have been released to the public already by the Portuguese Police. He will further contend that his conclusions about the likely fate of Madeleine McCann are reasonable conclusions that he was entitled to reach, based on the available evidence.

Each side will bring 7 key witnesses to the Court. At present, a temporary injunction forbids Amaral’s book to be sold in Portugal and the profits from the sale of the book have been sequestrated.

The Madeleine Foundation’s 64-page booklet on the case: ‘What Really Happened to Madeleine McCann? - 60 Reasons which suggest she was not abducted’ is now banned from sale and further distribution following a High Court undertaking given by our Secretary and the book’s author, Tony Bennett. Similarly, we are no longer allowed to distribute our 4-page free leaflet: ’10 Key Reasons which suggest that Madeleine was not abducted’. These publications were based substantially on the information about the investigation in Dr Amaral’s book.

The outcome of the trial is therefore of great significance for us, given that one of our key aims as an organisation is to help find out the truth about what really happened to Madeleine McCann.

As soon as our member returns from Portugal, we aim to publish her report on our website.

Do you want to know more about Goncalo Amaral’s fight to be allowed to sell and promote his book?

You can…

· Visit his website:

· Or sign the petition in his support:

· Or donate to his fighting fund here:

From the Chairman of The Madeleine Foundation, 3 January 2010

The Mystery of Robert Murat: The 17 changes in his story

Robert Murat (R) speaks to reporters at the High Court on July 17, 2008 in London. Mr Murat, a suspect in the disappearance of Madeleine McCann, had accepted £600,000 in libel damages from 11 British newspapers.

(July 17, 2006 - Photo by Peter Macdiarmid/Getty Images Europe)

An examination of Robert Murat’s two sets of police interviews, first in May 2007, then in July 2007

by Tony Bennett

[IMPORTANT NOTE: “This article must not be taken as implying that Robert Murat had any connection with the disappearance of Madeleine McCann, either before she was reported missing, or afterwards. One of our roles in the Madeleine Foundation is to continue to search for the truth about what really happened to Madeleine McCann. We hope that this article will serve this purpose. We have striven for 100% accuracy in all that we say in this and other articles. We invite readers to suggest anything which needs to be corrected or added to our article, see our Contacts page for how to contact us”. - Statement by the Committee of the Madeleine Foundation, January 2009]

Article can be read in full here

"Did you know Robert Murat?"

"I'm not going to comment on that *cough*."

PeterMac's Free e-book: What really happened to Madeleine McCann?

Gonçalo Amaral's 'Maddie: Truth of the Lie

Richard D. Hall: 'When Madeleine Died?'

Richard D. Hall: 'When Madeleine Died?'
Please click on image to view all three Madeleine films

Prime Minister introduces Prime Suspect to Royalty

Prime Minister introduces Prime Suspect to Royalty

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