Libel trial McCann v Gonçalo Amaral - Day 8
Witness No 1
A request is made to the Judge to disclose
before the last session of the trial (27
November 2013), as to whether the plaintiffs
will, on that day, be permitted to take the
stand as plaintiffs (not as witnesses, therefore
they do not have to be notified). There were no
Another request is made and allowed by the
Judge to postpone the testimony of Dr Paulo
Sargento, whose absence today is justified.
Again, there were no objections.
Publishers Guerra & Paz (G&P) lawyer,
Dra Fatima Esteves, informs the Judge
that she will no longer be calling witness, Mr
The testimony as it happened...
(05.11.2013, 9:45 am) Mário Sena Lopes
greets the public when entering the court room
and will greet them again before leaving it. He
is the owner and manager of Publinédita, a
Literary Agency and Publishing Company, based in
Lisbon. From 2007 to 2009 he was Editorial
Director for the publisher Guerra & Paz and was
responsible for the Gonçalo Amaral book, The
Truth of the Lie. He remains as Gonçalo
Amaral’s literary agent.
The Judge asks the witness whether he has
knowledge of the trial. He replies that he is
unaware of specific details. He adds that,
following the publication of the Amaral book, he
is no longer involved with it.
1) The defence G&P's lawyer, Dra Fatima
Esteves, is the first to question the witness.
GP - Do you remember what the normal selling
price of the book was when it was launched?
SL thinks it was €13.30
GP - asks what was the price in Brazil.
SL G&P did not market the book in Brazil
nor made any approaches to have it published
there. Some of the publishers have head offices
in both Portugal and Brazil, but that is not the
case with Guerra & Paz.
GP - How was the book distributed?
SL says there are two methods but in this
case it was done through the Correio da Manha.
The books were delivered to the bookshops. The
unsold copies are sent back to the publisher who
must accept them without invoicing.
GP - asks what are the reasons for the
SL there are many, like the lack of
public response, too many copies, contrary
publicity in the media, unexpected social
GP - What about the defective copies?
SL there are always damaged copies. They
are destroyed either by the publisher or by the
distributor. They are of no benefit to the
GP - Other books were written about the
McCann case. Have you knowledge of them?
SL thinks there are quite a few, such as,
"A culpa dos McCann" (The Guilt of the McCanns)
and the Kate McCann book, "Madeleine".
2) The Plaintiff’s lawyer, Dra Isabel Duarte.
ID - alluding to the successive 12 editions
of the book which she lists, asks the witness if
he has an idea of the number of returns, either
because the copy was defective or had been
SL says that G&P, in terms of editions
and copies, takes good care to protect the
rights of the authors. He adds that at the
beginning there are more requests than copies
provided. This changes with the final edition.
ID - What about the books which were
controlled by the injunction?
SL there is always distributed books that
escape an injunction, but most of the copies
were delivered to the pursuers' lawyer, namely (Dra
Isabel Duarte). He says he couldn't guarantee
that all were delivered, but can guarantee that
no copy remained at the publisher or at the
ID - About the sale price, are you certain of
what you answered?
SL says he is.
ID - Wasn't the sale price lowered in the
case of this book?
SL says that for most books that doesn't
happen. It happens sometimes when the book has
no success or when there's a motive to promote
it. He doesn't think it is good practice.
ID - What likely happened in the case of this
SL nothing of this kind happened.
ID - Therefore the sale price was around €13.
What about the hypermarkets?
SL states the hypermarkets don’t normally
promote books to the public and adds that the
15,000 copies of the first edition were sold in
the same week. He adds that all editions are
referred to in the following ones.
The Judge asks whether the witness knows the
percentage of returns among the published books.
SL doesn't know.
Mário Sena Lopes was a witness in the matter
of the temporary Injunction granted in respect
of the McCanns v G Amaral & Others in relation
to the publication of the Amaral book, The Truth
of the Lie. The decision for which was delivered
on 18 February 2010.
Mário Rui da Silva Sena Lopes, editorial
manager for the publisher from July 2007 to
September 2009, clarified questions regarding
the choice of date to launch the book, foreign
editions and destruction of books; he stated
that negotiations for the book began in the
first trimester [quarter] of 2008.