trial McCann v Gonçalo Amaral - Day 4 Witness No1
20.09.2013 10am. The session starts with a
request from the defence concerning a plaintive
witness, the President of the Bar Association (bastonário
da ordem dos advogados) since 2008, António Marinho
Pinto (MP) who was supposed to give evidence this
MP was cited as a witness in the libel writ but in
January 2012 determined that he would submit a
written statement, which was his privilege as
bastonário. He was however obliged to inform the
Court of his intentions.
On the 20th January 2013, MP declared
his wish to waive his right to make a written
submission and declared that he would be present to
testify in the court room.
At the last minute, MP let the lawyer for the
plaintive, Isabel Duarte (ID), know that he had
changed his mind. He now wished to deposit a written
statement on the basis of his privilege. This change
would bring his written statement late to the
proceedings and would not afford the defence an
opportunity to properly consider his evidence or to
put questions to him regarding same.
The judge said MP should have revealed his intention
during the 10 legal days so lost his right because
he didn't do so. It now falls to the lawyer for the
plaintive to ensure that MP appears personally in
order to be examined in the final allegations
10:30pm The testimony as it happens...
first witness of the session is Michael Wright,
an administrator, whose wife is Kate McCann's
cousin. He has known Kate since she was ten years of
age and Gerald McCann since 2001. They used to have
went to PDL in May 2007 and many times during that
summer (10 weeks). Since the McCanns returned to the
UK, he visits them regularly. They spent the first
Christmas without Madeleine together. He tries to
give them some comfort and calls or e-mails or sends
sms messages at least once a week.
Judge asks how regularly he had contact with the
McCanns in the period from 2008-2009.
MW says he
saw them once a month. He adds he was monitoring
e-mails that came to the Madeleine site.
Judge asks whether he read the book of Gonçalo
he read a translation on the internet.
Judge asks "when".
shortly after the book was published.
Judge asks whether he watched the documentary on the
MW says he
did on the internet.
Judge asks whether he knows the author of the book.
"only by hearsay".
The Judge asks whether
his family relationships will influence his
Judge asks whether it will prevent him from telling
1) McCann family lawyer, Isabel Duarte, is the first
to question the witness.
- We are here to analyse the effect on the McCann's
family life of the publication of GA's book and the
documentary inspired by this book. Can you tell the
court what you know about this?
the lifting of the arguido status they (the
McCanns) were well, though no authority was
searching for Madeleine any more. It was very
important that people looked for her in Portugal.
According to the book they were somehow involved in
the disappearance of Madeleine. Therefore the book
hampered the search for her.
ID interrupts MW because she can't hear him (there's
a motor outside, perhaps cutting the grass). ID
makes known the lines of questioning she intends to
pursue but the Judge reminds her that witness
statements which are off topic will not be
- asks whether the investigation was hampered
because of GA's book and an article in the
Correio da Manhã (Portuguese Morning Post
it's what he understood.
- What happened when the files were released?
McCanns had to have them translated in order to
study them. They had to lead a campaign to motivate
the public to search for Madeleine.
- Do you know whether there was an end to the
MW It was
public knowledge that the investigation was stopped.
- Did this event occur because of the publication of
content of the book was conflicting with what was in
the files. He says he would be speculating if he
answered the question.
- Don't you have knowledge of this direct
The Judge interrupts and asks whether the book was
published before or after the archiving of the
MW says it
Judge – Then how could the book interfere with the
Judge repeats the question.
MW says it
didn't but it interfered with the following
investigations made by the private investigators
hired by Kate and Gerry.
The Judge overrules
ID who wanted to know how the book influenced the
ID starts asking if because of the.... but the Judge
overrules again arguing she reveals the answer in
the question. She adds that questions should be
asked in an appropriate way.
- In which circumstances did the McCanns learn about
the book and the documentary?
they knew before the shelving of the case, that a
book would be published. About the documentary, they
were told it had been broadcast on TV in April 2009.
- When did they read the book and watch the
MW – They
read the book when I sent them the translation that
was on the internet in August 2008. They heard about
the documentary in March/April 2009. There was a big
campaign in Praia da Luz, they needed people to
support them and the documentary had a negative
effect on that.
- When they learnt about it, how did they react? Was
it sadness or pain? Were they socially and
GA's lawyer, SO, interrupts asking the Judge to ask
the witness what is the paper he is reading.
that they are notes about feelings, etc. to
Judge asks what is actually in the notes.
that it is to help him remember feelings and special
SO dictates the court clerk a request for a copy of
the paper listing feelings is joined to the process
for appreciation by the court.
GP's lawyer completes quoting the Law that insist on
the importance of testimonies being spontaneous.
ID protests arguing the witness has the right to
have notes with dates and facts. She asks that only
the Court checks the paper.
The Judge concludes saying the witness himself says
the notes concern feelings and contacts with the
McCanns, which might cast doubt upon spontaneity,
moreover because the witness is part of the McCann
family. She concludes it's important to clarify
totally what these notes are in the interest of the
The Judge asks the court clerk to make photocopies
(note: it's an A4 page, with parts underlined in
- resumes her question about the feelings that the
book and the documentary provoked.
MW When the
book was launched, the McCanns were trying to launch
a campaign and their own proper investigation. The
contacts they had in Portugal said the publicity
about the book was huge and that there was also some
publicity in the UK. This provoked much distress in
The court clerk comes back with a lot of photocopies
and distributes them to all. ID asks for a recess in
order to read the document. Everybody reads.
ID observes the notes are on stationary paper. She
asks the witness where that paper comes from. The
witness answers that it's from the hotel where he
stays. He took notes to help his memory.
- When you speak of the stress and the anger, how
was this expressed in the behaviour of the McCanns?
MW When the
book came out, the reactions were of much anger.
Kate was upset and cried. She felt Madeleine was
ID - Why?
Because of the thesis of the book according to which
Madeleine was dead and her body had been concealed.
At the time they were very keen to re-establish a
normal family life, Gerry was working again full
time and they were starting a campaign. The stress
increased between the book and the documentary in
March/April 2009. They were preparing a new campaign
before the second anniversary. Anger and anxiety
overwhelmed them because of the documentary. He says
there always was activity on the internet
(e-mails...) but they became very subdued.
- What does "negative e-mail" mean?
MW says it
refers to all sorts of conspiracy theories that
appeared on various forums.
- asks if the witness can name some of these forums.
MW The 3
Arguidos and Madeleine Foundation. He says Tony
Bennett invited Gonçalo Amaral to do conferences in
the UK. These forums were full of speculation
focused on GA's conclusions. People said those
conclusions must be true because GA had been in
charge of the initial investigation.
Activity was increased and heavy in March/April
- Did the McCanns learn about these forums? How?
learned through me, the family members who monitored
the activity and their support group. I wondered
whether it was worse to let them know or not to. I
didn't want to add up to their pain, but a
significant change happened. There were several
instances of threats to kidnap the twins on the 3
Arguidos site. Then I couldn't but speak. There was
a chat where a poster suggested someone should
kidnap a twin to get to the truth.
- Is this dialogue on the forum? Can you get a copy?
MW says he
has a copy and can deliver it.
- asks if it's possible to put the paper copy on the
the 3A doesn't exist anymore. He says the McCanns
took action against this threat and against the
Madeleine Foundation. The main page of MF had the 5
asks whether he has a copy.
MW says he
has screen shots. He adds he had to tell his cousins
about the threats. They reported them to the UK
police (Leicestershire Police). He was visited by a
police officer on the matter.
- Was a process formally investigated?
MW had only
one contact with the police. He doesn't know what
- What consequence did this have on the McCanns
family life and in particular that relating to the
the time of the negative e-mails and threats, which
was when they tried to launch the campaign, we went
away for the second anniversary with Kate and Gerry
to a remote house in the countryside. Anniversaries
and Christmases were never very good. But in 2009 it
was horrible. When they arrived at the cottage, they
heard through friends they had in Praia da Luz that
the 10,000 posters they had distributed and put up
in the Algarve had been ripped and torn. Their
friends had called them on the phone to say it was
awful and that there were some people who were
saying that the child was dead.
The fact that people
in Praia da Luz believed the conclusions of the book
was terrible for them because they were already
depressed. It was a time of great anger and sadness.
During the week-end we talked about the effect of
- What did they say?
MW That was
the first time I ever heard Gerry say he couldn't
manage going on any more. I never heard him speak
that way before. It was an upsetting conversation.
MW He and
Kate are incredibly strong. They had been dealing
with it all for two years. There had been the media
backlash when they were made arguidos. But
they always left the rest of the family and the
helpers out of it. Now Gerry was saying that it was
too much to carry on. It was a great shock for me.
It was at the end of a night. The following day
Gerry said he had no choice. I wondered how much
more they could take.
- How did the revelations of that week-end evolve?
MW says he
had a similar conversation with Gerry about being
down because people believed Madeleine was dead.
- Did they feel deeply ashamed at being considered
responsible for her death and the concealment of her
body? Did they feel like cowards?
"no, because they knew the truth". However he saw
how Kate changed last week in Lisbon and how she
couldn't smile or properly relax. She couldn't have
come on her own because she feared people think they
are responsible. Her behaviour in Portugal is very
- In what way was the relationship between the
parents and the twins influenced?
threats made them more vigilant, in particular when
they started to use the internet at school or at
home. Amélie googled her name and told Kate and
Gerry she had found a site, Madeleine Foundation,
which was at the top. So they realized they had to
control the use of the internet.
- Did she find internet pages related to the book?
so, a page with the conclusions of the book. Ah but
he doesn't know whether she opened the page. He says
in the future they'll search and they'll find that
her parents killed (sic) Madeleine.
- Is that a daily pressure on the McCanns?
MW is not
sure he can answer that. He says that probably their
friends as the friends of his children comment on
this at school. It's inevitable they'll know the
(seems not to have understood) repeats – Is
it a daily pressure for the couple?
- Is Kate depressed?
The Judge overrules, saying this is a question for a
- Have you read the criminal investigation Report?
MW says he
didn't read it all, he read the conclusions
ID - Do the facts
reported by Gonçalo Amaral in his book and in the
documentary correspond to the facts of the
"no", in no way.
MW The PJ
Report made after Gonçalo Amaral was removed from
the inquiry and after the McCanns were made arguidos
concludes that there was no evidence that they were
- This means that the book doesn't correspond with
the investigation facts?
thesis that Madeleine died and the parents concealed
her body contradicts the AG Report which led to the
lifting of the arguido status. His
understanding is that the PJ files say that
Madeleine could be dead but there was no evidence
that the parents were involved. This is
contradictory with the conclusions of GA's book.
- Is it the same with the documentary?
- Was this documentary subtitled on the internet?
MW knows it
was published on the internet with subtitles in
- Do you have anything else you wish to tell the
Court within the questions that you have been asked?
that, in terms of impact on the family, he saw in
2009 an e-mail from a British broadcaster, Channel
5, which offered Gonçalo Amaral €80,000 for an
interview. He adds that Kate's reaction was that it
confirmed that all this had to do with money and not
ID wants to know more... but the Judge overrules
because it's not known whether such an interview
It is 12:30, the interpreter is tired, the Judge
suggests a 5 minutes recess, but the interpreter
wishes more time. The Judge then decides to bring
the proceedings to a close for lunch and resume the
session at 1.45pm.
Everybody is in the Court room by 1.50pm, the Judge
arrives at 2pm.
2) Defence lawyers.
a) TVI lawyers’ questions.
- Have you watched the documentary on TVI?
"no", he watched it on the internet.
- How do you know it is the TVI one?
he's sure as much as he can be
- Why? Did it have the TVI logo on it?
MW says he
- Before the publication of the book and the
broadcast of the documentary, were there opinions
and e-mails that weren't usual, normal, that were
says there were very scary
internet chats and e-mails that speculated, but not
only on the McCanns. He said that what changed is
that the e-mails became more specific.
- Is Gonçalo Amaral's theory widely known, is it
MW says it
- Does almost everybody know his theory?
MW says a
great number of people know it. Any person who knows
about the McCanns know the theory of Gonçalo Amaral.
- Just the people who are interested in the matter?
MW Yes, the
documentary and the book are very well known
everywhere in Portugal and in the UK.
- One of the main preoccupations of the family was
that, when the book was launched, they were
preparing a campaign...
The Judge overrules.
- They were collaborating in the realisation of
another documentary, theirs. This documentary wasn't
broadcast by TVI, in spite of the agreement between
TVI and Channel 4.
they decided it wasn't appropriate to broadcast
their documentary on the same channel that would
broadcast GA's documentary.
- Who are "they"?
MW asks in
what sense, then understands and says "Kate and
- Were these negotiations for the broadcasting of
the Channel 4 documentary before the Amaral
documentary was broadcast?
MW says he
Judge asks whether, before the book was published,
they were speculations on forums.
they were many strange, bizarre speculations on who
was involved, on the family, on supporters.
Judge asks whether there was speculation on the
cover up of death.
people, but very limited. Some e-mails would say
that Kate was this and Gerry was that, and so on.
Judge asks from where came the information that
fuelled this speculation.
that information was accepted because it's normal to
suspect the family in cases like this. People
e-mailed to (Madeleine's) website with this idea.
Judge asks did these rumours have something to do
with the arguido status?
He says that, as he was monitoring the e-mails, he
observed an increase in speculation. But when the
book was launched there was a huge increase of a
Judge – What did the people conclude from the
silent. Then he says there were e-mails saying it
confirmed what they suspected, but the e-mails with
specific threats only occurred after the book was
AG's lawyer now
criticises the translation offered by the
interpreter, he says the answers don't correspond
with the question.
Judge asks can you explain why the arguido
status didn't provoke many e-mails.
it's very common and normal that the parents are the
first suspects. He adds that being arguidos
wasn't a preoccupation for the McCanns.
Judge asks if he has any idea what led to them being
made arguidos. Was it because the parents are
the first suspects?
Judge asks wasn’t there something during the
investigation that led to their constitution as
particularly. He adds he wasn't involved in that
The Judge states that two facts were established:
1) The British police dogs detected the scent of
human blood and also that consistent with a cadaver
2) These dogs detected the smell of human blood in
the car rented by the McCanns.
Judge asks whether these facts are of general
knowledge in the UK.
they were, in 2007.
Judge asks whether it was only before the shelving.
there was speculation at the time, but analyses
after the release of the files showed there was no
conclusive evidence one way or another.
Judge agrees but asks whether it wasn't the dogs
that led people to speculate.
MW – Yes,
the media speculated a lot at that time because
there was a big coverage. But when the book was
published it was worse because the files form a very
great number of pages and the book doesn't. Then few
people read the files.
Judge asks whether the witness is aware the
investigation wasn't conclusive?
and then adds that anybody who reads the files is
aware of that, but those who read the files are few.
Judge observes that if nothing happened since then,
this shows that there's still no conclusion.
some conclusion had been made, wouldn't someone have
that the book was published immediately after the
release of the files and was written by a PJ
Inspector. Moreover he says GA's book can be read in
Judge asks if people believe more in the book than
in the PJ?
MW – Oh
yes, absolutely! There were more newspaper reports
on the book than on the files.
says that there were more documentaries than the GA
Judge asks if the Channel 4 documentary had
repercussions in the public opinion, in blogs, etc.?
always had people who supported us.
The Judge asks whether
this documentary changed the opinion of those who
were convinced by GA's theory.
"no". He says the Channel 4 documentary (Emma
Loach's one) wasn't just to say that Madeleine
should be looked for and she was alive. Channel 4
didn't conclude so. The point was to challenge the
thesis of the book.
b) Guerra & Paz's lawyer's questions
- Do the British know the official investigation was
MW says the
majority don't know.
Judge observes that the witness keeps on saying that
the conclusions of the Amaral book came on top of
the Attorney General's Report. She wonders whether
the people have knowledge that an official
investigation exists. Are people aware that "we
don't know what happened"?
MW – Some,
yes. But most people think that Gonçalo Amaral's
conclusions are true.
intervenes asking whether the witness has knowledge
of everything contained within the AG Final Report.
The Judge interrupts and reminds that the witness
had already indicated that he read the conclusions.
(Note: there seems to have been some
confusion between the PJ and the AG final Reports)
Judge – Did you read it all? Do you understand the
arguments which led to the discarding of the dogs'
MW says he
doesn't feel competent to answer. Why should he read
it all if he knows the McCanns are innocent?
Judge asks the witness if he remembers the reasons
that lead to the discarding of the dogs' results.
it had to do with Low Copy Number DNA. He says that
without forensic corroboration the findings of the
cadaver dog were only intelligence, they were not
evidence of anything.
- asks if the average citizen is aware of this in
MW says the
AG Final Report explains why the arguido
status was lifted.
The Judge states that the Final Report is evidence
in itself and obviously not a judgement.
- insists that the witness gives explanations.
Judge asks if the UK public know the content of the
technical descriptions that are in the Final Report.
that anyone who is interested will find out.
whether the Ch4 documentary was promoted by the
McCanns or was an initiative of Channel 4.
He doesn't know.
- Why, if things are like this –
if people base themselves only on the conclusions –,
a review in the UK...
Without waiting for a reaction, the lawyer says he
withdraws the question.
ID dictates that MW will deliver the documents he
has, relating to the internet threats.
VC criticises the selective choice of documents,
with biased criteria.
SO observes the documents must be elements of proof
in the remit defined for the process. He thinks they
have nothing to do with it. This forum 3A doesn't
exist anymore and what is the legitimacy of the
documents? He wonders also who were the authors of
The Judge concludes saying the documents can be
delivered to the plaintiffs, but are irrelevant for
the Court. She says the Court cannot bring to the
process documents given by the witness to
corroborate their own testimony. The plaintiffs can
have access to the documents and use them as
Therefore the Court doesn't have to notify the
witness to deliver the documents. The Court also
does not accept that a witness testifies with
assistance from a document (she refers to the
"memory help" paper on feelings).