Libel trial McCann v
Gonçalo Amaral - Day 2 Witness No 2
The testimony as it happened...
(13.09.2013, 11:30 am) Angus McBride. A lawyer, he
first met the McCanns as an assistant advisor when they
came back from Portugal at the beginning of September
The Judge, Maria Emília de Melo e Castro, asks him what
kind of services he provided for the McCanns.
AM answers that he assisted the McCanns in the criminal investigation,
was a go-between with their Portuguese lawyers and
assisted them in their relationships with the media.
The Judge asks if his knowledge about the case is personal
or through the media and if, in the first case, there
are restrictions on what he can say, if there's a clause
AM answers that he can't repeat what occurred when he worked with the
McCanns, but can freely talk about the media.
The Judge reminds him that in Portugal the lawyers can't
talk about specifics as long as a process is ongoing and
that any information they acquired through their
professional activity must remain confidential.
says that in the UK it's not like that.
The judge asks if there's anything that prevents him from
says he is registered as a lawyer in the UK and the only applicable
secrecy law is related to this.
The judge asks if, in the perspective of the English law,
he thinks something prevents him from speaking.
AM answers that nothing prevents it, unless it relates to his counselling
activities. For instance his meetings with the media
aren't under any secrecy law.
The judge concludes by asking AM to inform the court if he
eventually can't answer any particular question, if it
violates a professional confidentiality. She adds
that she only mentions this matter because she wants him
to feel at ease and not pressurised to answer any of the
1) McCann family lawyer, Isabel Duarte, is the first to
question the witness.
ID – Did you advise the McCanns about the reaction to the
says no. He adds that he is a specialist in the criminal defence of
victims and management of the media.
ID – Are you aware of the impact the publication of the
(Amaral) book had in the UK?
AM says he is.
ID – Did the public treatment of the case (media, comments,
etc.) increase or decrease following the publication of
AM says it increased, the internet included.
ID – You were very attentive in the first months, what was
AM says some distance is needed. The people were compassionate in the UK.
The rumours generated media's errors. The comments on
the internet revealed the damages caused by the status
of arguido. The book appeared as the official
version of the rumours. It provoked an explosion of
comments on the internet. People thought that there had
been some judicial decision and this had a negative
effect on the search for Madeleine.
ID – Have you read the book in a translation on the
AM doesn't answer this question (note: later he will say he read the
book without specifying where) but says he heard
about the documentary and read a transcript of the
documentary. He adds he is not an expert in libel.
ID – In what other countries of the world did the book have
AM observes the impact was worse because of the profession of the author.
ID – Do you know the books of Paulo
Manuel Catarino and Hernâni Carvalho? (note: all of
them wrote a book on the case)
AM doesn't know them.
2) Defence lawyers.
The TVI lawyer is a substitute. He has no questions
a) Valentim de Carvalho (DVD production/distribution)
VC - Are you aware of the process?
AM says yes, but not officially.
VC – Is the information in the media different from that in
the Amaral book?
AM says yes, but they are more vague, they weren't said in the same way.
VC – Did the book confirm the rumours?
AM says yes, mainly the internet ones. People understood that these
rumours were coming from the PJ. The fact the book
repeated them increased that impact. He adds it is the
only book that makes these allegations.
c) Guerra & Paz's lawyer's questions
GP – Do you know that other authors spoke in the media?
says he is vaguely aware that other books exist. He
knows that the case was an important one in Portugal and
GP – Can you mention specifics about the effect of the book
in July 2008?
says he can't.
GP – When did you know that the book was on the internet?
doesn't know. He says he read the book some time after.
GP – Do you know other books by Gonçalo Amaral on this
GP – What were the repercussions in the media of the
says it was very damaging in the beginning but, as there
was not much information about, the media found it
increasingly difficult to pursue the issue.
GP – Between September 2007 and July 2008, was there an
impact on the media?
d) Santos Oliveira (GA lawyer) questions
SO I would like to know, in order to compare, about the
impact following the disappearance, the arguido
status and the book.
says he has no idea and doesn't have numbers.
The judge comments she wasn't expecting Mr McBride to pop
up with numbers in his pocket.
SO – So when you say that the book had a growing impact,
it's just your opinion?
SO – Therefore the impact on the search is also an opinion?
says it is his judgement. He thinks that it's common
SO – Do you know why they waited so much time before suing
The judge overrules: it has nothing to do with the
SO – Do you know who the Amaral book site on the internet
The judge again criticizes and overrules.
The judge (Maria
Melo e Castro) is now asking
MC – what was the reaction to the shelving of the process?
says the impact was very quickly overshadowed by the book.
MC – What did the people think of the shelving?
says that they respected the AG Report that says that there was no
evidence of anything.
MC - But the conclusions of the AG Report are two-fold. It
established there was no evidence determining the nature
of the crime, whilst indicating that there nothing more
that could be done to find Madeleine.
concludes saying that the publication of the book raised many comments.
End of Day 2.
(Tribunal failed to resume in the afternoon as the Judge