Chapter 6 of 'The English Gag' was commissioned for translation by Tony Bennett of the CMOMM forum:
Goncalo Amaral relates in ‘The English Gag’ how he found out that his book. 'The Truth About A Lie', had been secretly banned
Chapter 6 of A Mordaca Inglesa: ‘The English Gag’
Terrible news (translated by BJN)
I became aware that Gerry and Kate McCann had applied for an injunction against me, on behalf of themselves and their three children, at the Lisbon Civil Court. The defendants were me, Guerra e Paz SA, my publishers, Valentim de Carvalho Filmes, a film-producing company, the TV channel TV1 and the entire Portuguese population.
The aim of these proceedings was to censor of my hypothesis about the disappearance of Madeleine Beth McCann. Above all, it was intended to prevent the translation and publication of my book Maddie - A Verdade da Mentira, ‘The Truth of the Lie’, in the United Kingdom.
Quite frankly, I had not taken that source too seriously, thinking that, if this were true, it would almost certainly be doomed to failure, as a court would, surely, never make a ruling on what opinions could or could not be expressed in Portugal over the disappearance of Madeleine.
I thought it highly likely that the court’s reaction would be to proceed to punish the claimant for frivolous and vexatious litigation, that is, litigation in bad faith, since this legal action had been brought by people whose aim was to abuse the fundamental rights of third parties, by means of launching a claim that was manifestly unfounded.
On a quite modest esplanade, I was sitting waiting for lunch-time to arrive, in order to be able to read the day’s news in the newspapers.
I read one news article which said that ‘the majority’ of the population in the Figueira district of the province of Portimao, where around five years ago little Joana Cipriano was killed by her mother and uncle, believed that she had been ‘sold’.
What did they mean by ‘the majority’ of the population? On what possible basis was this worked out?.
My own reflections regarding this affair were about to be rudely interrupted. Domingos, the owner of the establishment, rushed towards me, looking very distressed, saying: ”Goncalo, Goncalo, they were just talking about you on the TV! I didn’t manage to get what they were saying, but it sounds bad!”.
I will go back a little in time to the summer of 2008, when the book Maddie - A Verdade da Mentira was published and in Portugal. At that time, the spokesman for the McCann couple, a professional spin doctor named Clarence Mitchell, had lost no time in announcing that legal action would be taken against me.
A long time had passed since then: fourteen months. Now, it was September 2009. There had been no news about the case during these fourteen months in question, except for fourteen months of hearing about the poor service being provided by the McCanns’ private detectives, fourteen months of explanations about their activities which, to say the least, were very odd, and could easily be challenged by any criminal investigator.
I finished drinking my coffee and mineral water and moved off towards the restaurant, where I was going to have lunch.
As I did so, Antonio and Jose Maria, members of staff and Benfica football supporters, approached me and told me what they had heard on the SIC television channel news.
They told me that a Portuguese court had secretly banned me from speaking about the Maddie case.
I said: “My friends, you are older than me, and like me, you remember what happened last year. This simply cannot be right!”
It was clear that something was happening and that some court or other had made a ruling that would impact on me in some way. But which court was it? I was only able to find that out later.
Apparently, the McCanns had applied for an ex parte injunction. Not only was I not allowed to attend. I wasn’t even told about the application. Later I was to learn that my book had been banned.
I had already been getting fed up with receiving notifications of such matters all the time via the press. Several months earlier, when I had left Oporto to go to Unhais da Serra, I travelled across the Viriathus countryside, following the launch of the book ‘Crime and Justice’, which I had helped to edit. As I was travelling, I heard something about me on the radio. It was Radio Renascena. They had announced on the radio that criminal charges had been brought against me by the Public Ministry.
This was, apparently, the result of legal proceedings following a formal complaint by little Joana’s stepfather in October 2008.
But a full six months earlier, in April 2008, I had initiated a complaint of defamation against the very same citizen himself, and against his peculiar lawyer, Marcos Aragao Correia. My complaint was filed at the Public Ministry, and has yet to be heard.