Monday

Maddie case: Scotland Yard joins forces with Portugal - or do they?

Dear Kate and Gerry - Yours, David (with photo...?)


Let me separate out for consideration the two reviews going on at the moment.

Take the Scotland Yard review first. Here are a few salient facts:

* The Leicestershire Police were on familiar terms with the McCanns and their friends

* They called the lead detective, Chief Superintendent Stuart Prior, 'Stu'

* Leicestershire Police gave Gerry McCann a personal tour of their incident room in the early weeks of the hunt for Madeleine

* Leicestershire Police did the McCanns' bidding. They jumped to their tune in preparing a front-page 'Exclusive' on the (alleged) 'sightings' of Monsterman/Cooperman in January 2008

* For the first time ever in world history, they linked their own website to the website of suspects who was asking the public to give THEM information and to give them MONEY

* The McCanns called for a Review

* They got a Review

* The Prime Minister of Great Britain announced he was providing £3.5 million funding for the Review on the very day (12 May 2011) that Kate McCann's book was published

* On the very same day, the Prime Minister's spokesman said that the Review was being undertaken 'to support the family'

* The SY Review Team has said that its remit is to treat THE ABDUCTION as if it happened in Britain, not Portugal.

There are no signs that I can see from the above that the Scotland Yard Review Team intends to do anything other than to maintain the abduction scenario. I would love to be proved wrong.

They say they have 37 detectives working on the case. If their average salary is say £40,000 a year (and I bet it's more), the Review would cost £1,480,000 = $2.35 million in one year, NOT including the cost of all their trips to Barcelona and Portugal etc. = air fares plus hotels plus meals.

Leicester police deliver flowers for the prime suspects


NOW, looking at developments in Portugal.


Grounds for optimism:

a) there is a new team in charge, in Oporto

b) the spokesman for that team appeared to say they began their review BEFORE the Scotland Yard Review Team were appointed

c) there are some signals that they may have re-opened a review because of fresh information, HOWEVER there was also a contradictory statement saying there was nothing new, and they were simply reviewing the old files

d) Amaral broke the news about 'new developments that are not going the McCanns' way, so he appears to be more in touch with what is happening than the McCanns.

Grounds for pessimism:

a) they are in touch with Scotland Yard. Are the two perhaps in collusion, to suppress the truth?

b) they say they have been working on the review for a year, but come up with nothing.

I don't see any real grounds for optimism from what I see.

But you never know.

Around £20 million (= $31 million) has been spent on this case so far, and do we have one usable piece of information about who the abductor might be? - NO...or where Madeleine might have been taken to? - NO.

-----
Further reading:

The cost of looking for Madeleine so far. £20 million?

Madeleine's Fund - Review & Investigation of Accounts

The Complete Mystery of Madeleine McCann forum



Note to David, British Prime Minister: This is Eddie, the British sniffer dog, alerting to death scent in the McCanns' hire car

Tuesday

Maddie McCann and the billion people who can buy Goncalo Amaral's book versus the 'free speech' nation which cannot

MADELEINE McCANN

The 1,100,000,000 people who can buy,

read and discuss ‘The Truth About A Lie’ -

and the ‘free speech’ nation which cannot


A discussion document issued by the Madeleine McCann Research Group, 14 February 2012

On 20 October 2010, the Portuguese Appeal Court made a historic decision in the long-running case of Dr Gerald McCann and Dr Kate McCann -v- Dr Goncalo Amaral.

After a lower Portuguese Court had banned his book for 13 months, the Appeal Court decided, having regard to the right to freedom of speech and expression, that it was not libellous for his book, once again, to be freely sold in Portugal (and other countries, such as Brazil), where Portuguese is spoken.

We reproduce relevant extracts of the judgement below.

Not only has Dr Amaral’s book on the disappearance of Madeleine McCann, ‘The Truth About A Lie’, been freely available in Portuguese-speaking countries for the past 16 months, it has also, since various dates from September 2008 onwards, been available in no fewer than eight different languages, and all the countries that speak those languages.

We’ve done a calculation as to which countries have Dr Amaral’s book on sale in their main language. Here they are, in alphabetical order:

Andorra

Argentina

Austria

Belgium

Bolivia

Chile

Cuba

Denmark

Ecuador

France

Germany

Guatemala

Holland

Honduras

Italy

Luxembourg

Mexico

Nicaragua

Norway

Paraguay

Peru

San Marino

Spain

Surinam

Sweden

Switzerland

Uruguay

Venezuela.

We estimate that around 1,100,000,000 people live in those countries: 1.1 billion, or nearly one-sixth of the world’s population.

Madeleine McCann was a British girl, born and bred in England, a land famed the world over for its freedoms, including the right of free speech. Yet Dr Amaral’s book cannot be published and sold in this country. Indeed, not only that, former Madeleine Foundation Secretary Tony Bennett currently faces a term of imprisonment for, amongst other things, referring to that book. In July 2010, for example, the Madeleine Foundation published a leaflet about Dr Goncalo Amaral, in which this statement appeared:

In ‘The Truth About A Lie’, Dr Amaral explains why he and his team had good grounds for believing Madeleine had died in her parents’ apartment and covered up her death”.

That was and is a true - 100% factual statement. Yet as The Madeleine Foundation reported last year, the McCanns believe that the British public should not even be able to read that sentence. Carter-Ruck told the Madeleine Foundation that that sentence in their leaflet was libellous.

The world has turned upside down. Over a billion people worldwide can read the account by the initial senior detective in the case of the history of, conclusions arrived at, in his investigation.

But the people in the land where Madeleine was born, so the McCanns say, should not be allowed to read it.

There are in fact translations of Dr Amaral’s book available on the internet. Such is the power of the McCanns’ lawyers, Carter-Ruck, however, that we are not sure if we can give you the links here. So we won’t.

But what we can and will do is reproduce those parts of the Portuguese Appeal Court’s judgement which explain just how widely in the world Dr Amaral’s book can be bought and read:


EXTRACTS FROM THE JUDGMENT OF THE COURT OF APPEAL

IN PORTUGAL - IN THE CASE OF McCANNS -v- AMARAL


On 24 July 2008, the defendant Dr Goncalo Amaral first published his book, through publishers Guerra e Paz.

In that book, Dr Amaral put forward the following hypothesis:

  • That the child Madeleine McCann died in the Ocean Club apartment G5A in Vila da Luz, on the evening of 3 May 2007

  • That the McCanns and their friends fabricated an abduction

  • That Dr Kate Healy and Dr Gerald McCann are suspected of involvement in the concealment of their daughter’s body

  • That the death may have been the outcome of a tragic accident

  • That there are indications of neglect of the care and safety of the children.

Dr Amaral’s book was published in four editions by the end of July, a further nine by the end of August, and another 12 by end of September. Each edition was of around 10,000 copies. [Thus, in all, around 250,000 copies were printed]. At the time of our decision, the book had been sold out at practically all points of sale.

When the book was published, Dr Amaral gave an interview to the newspaper Correia da Manha, published on 24 July 2008. In that interview, he explained his analysis of the case. He also gave interviews later to all other media that asked him for an interview, each time defending the book’s thesis.

At the beginning of May 2009, Dr Amaral published his book in France, this time under the title: ‘Maddie, L’Enquete interdite: Les revelations du commissaire portugais charge de l’enquete [The revelations of the Portuguese co-ordinator of the investigation].

Dr Amaral also gave countless interviews to several media in France, including the one that was published by Le Parisien newspaper in both its paper and online editions. In those interviews, Dr Amaral continued to promote his hypothesis on the case. The book’s French edition was, and continues to be, systematically and prolifically promoted on the internet, for example on the following websites: [a long list of websites follows] .

Between the date when the Portuguese edition was published [24 July 2008] and the date of the book’s French edition [May 2009], Televisao Independente (TVI) broadcast a TV programme produced by Valentim de Carvalho for the company Filmes, Audiovisuais, SA [FASA], who hold the copyright of the documentary.

The first transmission of that programme was on 13 April 2009, the second on 12 May 2009. This programme was essentially based on the contents of Dr Amaral’s book: ‘Maddie: The Truth About A Lie’. In that documentary, Dr Amaral appears and continues to advance his theory (a) that Madeleine is no longer alive (b) that her death occurred within their Ocean Club apartment, and (c) that her parents, the McCanns, concealed their daughter’s body.

At least 2,200,000 people viewed the first screening of this programme.

At the end of April 2009, a DVD of the programme was made, with the following title and subtitle: ‘Maddie - The Truth About A Lie: A powerful documentary based on the best-seller ‘The Truth About A Lie’ by Goncalo Amaral. Already, 75,000 copies of this DVD have been distributed for sale. The DVD is published on FASA’s website.

All the actions within the investigation that Dr Amaral reports in his book are documented within the investigation file. Not only that, but the investigation documents were also made available in electronic format, not only to the national media, but to international media. These media proceeded to divulge the contents of the reports and statements from the investigation file. This publication of the electronic reports naturally enabled knowledge of the facts of the investigation to be circulated. Public comments were made and soon there was universal discussion of the contents of the investigation file. Any individual in the world can have access to these facts and to the documents of the investigation which enabled the facts of the investigation to be verified. All of this was only a click on the mouse away.

The friends of the McCanns did not make themselves available in Portugal to attend a reconstruction [of the events of 3 May 2007]. This is all documented on pages 4,636 to 4,638 of Volume XII of the ‘Investigation Processos’ files, complied by the Prosecutor’s office.

Dr Amaral’s book was published, through other editors, in several countries, as well as in France, as we referred to above.

The publications occurred as follows:

  • In Spain, September 2008, titled ‘Maddie - La verdad de la mentira’

  • This was distributed in the Spanish/Castilian language in Spanish-speaking Latin American countries

  • In Denmark, in November 200, titled ‘Maddie - Sandheden on Lognem’.

  • This Danish edition was then published in the Nordic countries of Norway and Sweden

  • In Italy, December 2008, titled ‘Maddie - La Verita della Menzonga’.

  • That edition was distributed in Italian-speaking countries all over the world

  • In Holland, April 2009, titled ‘Maddie - De Waarheide Achter de Leugen’.

  • That was distributed in Dutch-speaking countries throughout the world

  • In Germany, in June 2009, with the tile: ‘Maddie - De Wahrheit uber die Luge’

  • This was also distributed in German-speaking countries, including Austria and Switzerland.

  • There is also an English version circulating on the internet, on the web site www.gerrymccannsblogs.co.uk/PJ/TRANSLATIONS.htm , where a Portuguese version can also be found.


Published by the Madeleine McCann Research Group, 14 February 2012

U.S. Criminal Profiler Pat Brown in Windsor to discuss the complete mystery of Maddie McCann with Tony Bennett, Madeleine Foundation Secretary - 7 Feb



Posted by Tony Bennett on our forum hereLink

7 February 2012

I was able to meet Pat Brown off her plane at 9.30am and we had till 1.00 to have a good exchange of information and ideas on various aspects of the disappearance of Madeleine McCann.

I was able to provide her with a detailed briefing on Phase 1 of the McCanns' private investigation, which included:

* the emergence of Brian Kennedy as both benefactor and director of the McCann Team's private investigations

* the emergence of Brian Kennedy's in-house lawyer as the McCanns' co-ordinating lawyer and Director of the 'Find Madeleine Fund'

* Brian Kennedy's purchase of a house in Knutsford as the long-term base for this investigation into Madeleine's disappearance

* Kennedy's choice of controversial Spanish detective agency Metodo 3 as their preferred organisation to search for Madeleine

* Brian Kennedy's meetings with Robert Murat and his lawyer on 13 November 2007 and his meeting earlier that day with Portuguese Police at Portimao Police Station and with boss of Metodo 3, Francisco Marco, and his No. 1 investigator, convicted criminal Antonio Gimenez Raso

* A biography of Antonio Gimenez Raso charting his decline and fall from...Head of the Anti-Drugs and Anti-Trafficking Unit of Catalonia Regional Police...to resigning from them at the end of 2004...to being appointed as a Metodo 3 private investigator in 2005...to being appointed as the leading Metodo 3 private detective investigating Madeleine's disappearance in 2007...to meetings with Brian Kennedy in Morocco...to meeting with strange Madeira lawyer Marcos Aragoa Correia at the Arade Dam on 10 December 2007...to his arrest on charges of corruption in public office and theft, together with a gang of drug-dealers, of £25 million of cocaine from a boat in Barcelona harbour in 2004...to his current 18-year jail sentence.

And I pointed out that after they lost the services of Antonio Gimenez Raso, they turned to the services of...Kevin Halligen!

Pat briefed me on her plans for Portugal. She was in good spirits.

-------

Follow Pat Brown on twitter as she travels to Portugal to search for Madeleine McCann: https://twitter.com/#!/ProfilerPatB



Pat Brown meets Gonçalo Amaral in Portugal

.

Monday

Kate and Gerry McCann versus Tony Bennett's committal to prison

MCCANNS v BENNETT - The committal to prison trial will take place for 1 or 2 days, sometime in April or later


By Tony Bennett, Secretary Madeleine Foundation

As a result of a letter from Carter-Ruck dated 13 January and received by me on Friday after I returned from a short holiday, I can now confirm that the ‘Committal Hearing’ where the McCanns are seeking to have me committed to prison, fined, or have my assets seized (and all three are possible in a serious contempt case) will not now take place on 8 February.

The McCanns asked for the date of 8 February to be used for a Directions/Procedure hearing called a ‘Case Management Hearing’, to which I agreed as I need a lot more time to prepare my defence.

Mr James Tipp, Deputy Court Manager and Court Co-ordinator, has agreed and in an e-mail to Carter-Ruck also dated 13 January, he wrote:

“The committal hearing on the 8th February 2012 will now be listed for a two hour directions hearing as requested [by Carter-Ruck]”.

THE DRAFT ORDER

Carter-Ruck have drafted the Order they would like the Court to grant. It provides as follows:


  • I must file my reply no later than 4pm on 22 February
  • The McCanns to have a chance to reply by 21 March
  • The McCanns’ committal-to-prison application be heard after 10 April
  • The trial to be fixed for either 1 or 2 days
  • ‘Costs in the case’.

I am likely to seek to change those proposed directions, if only to seek a great deal more time to prepare my defence. The McCanns on their own admission began together with Carter-Ruck to prepare their Committal application back in June. They served it to me, unannounced, six months later, by two men in a limousine on 1 December, in a box containing five thick Lever Arch files and 2,000 pages of argument and evidence.

LEGAL ADVICE AND COSTS

For the record, I have taken the advice of a local Solicitor who advised that the terms of the undertaking I was forced to give in November 2009 were unusually wide and there were good grounds for them at least to be varied.

He did advise that I should be legally represented if at all possible, but after making enquiries via solicitors and the Legal Services Commission who run the Legal Aid scheme, no Legal Aid is possible to anyone who has savings over £8,000, which I have. He then quoted me figures for advising and said that in view of the many complexities and unusual features of this case, he would need to seek a written Opinion from an experienced barrister. Because of the sheer amount of material which the McCanns have placed before the court, and the need for both the solicitor and barrister to read and consider all the documentation, plus look up and apply all relevant law and case precedent, the cost of being advised alone would run to a 5-figure sum.

My solicitor is not one of the very few solicitors who has what are called ‘rights of audience’ in the Royal Courts of Justice, which means that if I wish to be represented in court, this would mean I would again have to hire a barrister. Again, I have been advised that if you include court attendance on say 3 days of both barrister and solicitor and possibly solicitor’s clerk myself, and dealing with all the preparation of the case, correspondence with the court and Carter-Ruck, preparing Witness Statements, Skeleton Arguments of the case and so on and so forth, the whole bill for legal representation alone would cost potentially tens of thousands of pounds, money I just haven’t got.

I therefore have to struggle on, on my own and unaided, on what feels like a very unequal contest indeed.

The main bone of contention for the McCanns is the opinions I have given on this very forum and on the Madeleine Foundation website.

They accept that I have adhered strictly to the undertakings I gave (1) to close our former website, (2) not to sell or distribute the ‘60 Reasons’ booklet and (3) not to sell or distribute the ‘10 Reasons’ leaflet, the only exception to that being the sale of a book to a photojournalist, Mike Gunnill, who under the name of Michael Sangerte insisted that he needed a physical copy of the book ‘for the purposes of historical research’ - after I had initially refused to sell him a book.

THE HEARING ON 8 FEBRUARY - WILL I BE ENTIRELY ON MY OWN?

I have asked via a unit called the Masters Support Unit at the High Court if the hearing on 8 February will be in open court or in chambers, and have also asked if I could bring a relative or a friend to take notes at the hearing. I got a very short note back saying that all the answers are in a book called ‘Civil Court Practice’, otherwise known as the ‘White Book’, which I could buy from a legal bookshop. Even to get that answer took four e-mails dated 23 and 30 December and 5 and 20 January. I am still trying to find out if anyone is allowed to accompany me to the hearing.

CARTER-RUCK's COSTS

I have raised the question of costs with Carter-Ruck, given the following statement by Dr Kate McCann in her book, ‘madeleine’. On page 287 of that book, she wrote: “Adam Tudor and his colleague Isabel Hudson continue to do a vast amount of work for us, without payment, most of it quietly, behind the scenes”.

Not so in my case, it seems. By way of response, Carter-Ruck have clarified the position so far as claiming costs against me is concerned. This is what they have said:

“In relation to your queries about our clients’ costs, we entered into as fee-paying retainer with our clients in relation to this Contempt of Court application. As previously indicated ,our clients intend (as they are entitled) to seek an Order for the repayment of their costs by you in the event that their application is successful”.

I think I have previously indicated that the McCanns claim I have breached the undertaking I gave the High Court in November 2009 in 149 instances, once by selling a book to Mike Gunnill, and on 148 other occasions by words I have used in postings, articles and leaflets published between January 2010 and August 2011.

SURPRISING CLAIMS OF LIBEL

There are not a few surprising claims of alleged libel.

Alleged breach of undertaking number 148 is described as ‘The 48 Questions video recording created by and featuring the Defendant”. When this was brought to our attention by Carter-Ruck in August, we decided to voluntarily remove that video from YouTube, despite the fact that we could not see how a mere recital of those 48 questions could possibly constitute libel when they consist of a list of questions made public by the Portuguese Police, and are still available to read on the BBC website, and have been published in numerous British and Portuguese newspapers and elsewhere on the internet.

Alleged breach of undertaking number 2 is described as “The Madeleine McCann Case Files, Volume 1, booklet published by the Defendant”. Once again, seeing that this is merely a compilation of a selection of documents made public three years ago by the Portuguese Police, it is hard to see where the libel lies in reproducing them. Furthermore, Carter-Ruck do not specify what parts of that book are said to be libellous. For example, is it possible to view Inspector Tavares de Almedia’s interim report containing the police team’s assessment of what may have happened to Madeleine McCann as ‘libellous’?

I should add here that “The Madeleine McCann Case Files, Volume 1”, was first published by us in late January 2010. The McCanns have made no objection to the publication of this booklet during their occasional correspondence with me during 2010 and 2011 and I confess I was hugely surprised to find that they regarded this as libellous. In their recent letter of 13 January 2012, they say:

“You are continuing to publish some of the publications complained of in our clients’ application against you for Contempt of Court - most notably, by continuing to offer the booklet “The Madeleine McCann Case Files Volume 1’ for sale via your website”.

We honestly cannot see on what grounds the reproduction of e.g. the 48 questions, the interim report of Inspector Tavares de Almeida, the evidence of Martin Grime, the Gaspar statements and excerpts from the lengthy ramblings of Jane Tanner can constitute either libel or a breach of my undertaking.

Therefore our 108-page book remains for sale on our website, price £4 including postage; now may be your last chance to get a copy to give to your relatives, friends an acquaintances before it is banned, like 60 Reasons and 10 Reasons.

A BATTLE - PICKED

On page 290 of ‘madeleine’, Dr Kate McCann writes this:

“We have taken action against one or two websites, but it has proved almost impossible to get this stuff removed from some of them, particularly those hosted in the USA. Friends flag up some of the worst offenders for us, but in the end it comes down to picking your battles”.

Well, I have been well and truly ‘picked’.

I don’t mean this in any way unkindly, but for those of you who can type away your opinions on what really happened to Madeleine McCann without fear of inviting a libel action, think yourselves fortunate. It’s a freedom that might be curtailed later, if I lose this battle and if Lord Leveson has anything to do with changing press freedoms and internet law.

Finally, thanks so much to all of you who say kind things about my stand. They may not stop me going to prison, paying a heavy fine, or losing all my savings and my home, but I assure you they are a solace and a comfort at a time of stress, and I appreciate each and every one of them.

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