The purpose of this site is for information and a record of Gerry McCann's Blog Archives. As most people will appreciate GM deleted all past blogs from the official website. Hopefully this Archive will be helpful to anyone who is interested in Justice for Madeleine Beth McCann. Many Thanks, Pamalam

Note: This site does not belong to the McCanns. It belongs to Pamalam. If you wish to contact the McCanns directly, please use the contact/email details campaign@findmadeleine.com    

The Madeleine Foundation - 'Goncalo Amaral Day'*

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Madeleine Foundation members outside 10 Downing Street

Madeleine Foundation members deliver letters 'calling for a full public enquiry into all aspects of the disappearance of Madeleine McCann' to the Prime Minister, the Portuguese Ambassador, Kenneth Clarke QC (MP - Minister for Justice) and Theresa May (Home Secretary) on 2nd October 2010

Madeleine Foundation statement, 02 October 2010
Madeleine Foundation statement

Dear members, supporters and followers,

Today was the day we designated 'Goncalo Amaral Day'.

We were able (by prior arrangement) to hand in a petition at 3pm this afternoon at 10 Downing Street, calling on Prime Minister David Cameron to set up, as soon as possible, a public enquiry into all aspects of the disappearance of Madeleine McCann.

A copy of the letter accompanying the petition will be sent to you later.

A similar letter was also hand delivered to the Home Office for Theresa May and at the Ministry of Justice for Kenneth Clarke.

Earlier in the day we visited the Portuguese Embassy where we handed in a letter to the Portuguese Ambassador, calling on the Portuguese government to hold an enquiry into the treatment Snr Goncalo Amaral has suffered since making the McCanns 'arguidos' on 7 September 2007. A photo of us wishing Snr Amaral Happy Birthday is also attached. It was of course also on 2 October 2007 that Snr Amaral was peremptorily removed from the Madeleine McCann enquiry. A copy of our letter to the Ambassador will follow.

The photos are not copyright but please acknowledge the Madeleine Foundation if using them – thank you.

We hope to put further pictures of the Day of Action on our website over the next few days.

Tony Bennett & Sharon Lawrence
The Madeleine Foundation
01279 635789  

The Madeleine Foundation deliver their letter to the Prime Minister, at 10 Downing Street, 02 October 2010

Madeleine Foundation members deliver their letter to 10 Downing Street

The Madeleine Foundation's letter to the Prime Minister, 02 October 2010
The Madeleine Foundation

Asking the questions about what really happened to Madeleine McCann

66 Chippingfield
HARLOW
Essex,
CM17 0DJ
Tel: 01279 635789
e-mail: ajsbennett@btinternet.com
website: www.madeleinefoundation.org.uk
---------------------------
 
Saturday 2 October 2010

Mr David Cameron
Prime Minister
10 Downing Street
LONDON
SW1A

BY HAND

Dear Prime Minister

re: The need for a full public enquiry into the disappearance of Madeleine McCann

We have come to 10 Downing Street today to petition you to hold an urgent and full public enquiry, with the power to summon witnesses, into the disappearance of Madeleine McCann.

To say that this case is controversial would be a serious understatement. To say that Madeleine McCann is the best-known missing girl in the world would be to state the obvious. A number of flat contradictions in the various witness statements given to the Portuguese Police by the McCanns and their ‘Tapas 9’ friends remain to be explained. To state that the disappearance of Madeleine McCann is ‘a complete mystery’ would be to repeat the actual words used in March this year by the McCanns’ principal public relations officer during the past three years, the man who until Madeleine disappeared was the Head of the government’s 40-strong Media Monitoring Unit, and the person you appointed as second-in-command to your Communications Director, Andy Coulson, in the run-up to the General Election – Clarence Mitchell.

We previously wrote about some of the matters below to your predecessor, Gordon Brown, and that letter is also enclosed for your attention. The current position appears to be that the Portuguese investigation appears to be suspended indefinitely, pending the receipt of any new evidence. The McCanns have never, so far as we are aware, asked the Portuguese Police to re-open their investigation. Operation Task at Leicestershire Police maintains a liaison role in relation to the Portuguese Police. Until July 2008, the investigation was described as a ‘joint Portuguese Police and Leicestershire Police investigation’.

You will be well aware that whilst many believe the McCanns’ version of events of what happened to Madeleine in Praia da Luz in May 2007, a great many do not. In the only opinion poll ever conducted on the issue, as many as 80% in a poll in September 2007 said they did not believe that the McCanns were telling the whole truth about what happened to Madeleine. The Portuguese senior detective, Goncalo Amaral, who wrote a book about the case, A Verdada da Mentira, The Truth About A Lie, and most of his team of detectives, considered that they had convincing evidence that Madeleine had died in Apartment 5A in the Ocean Club in Praia da Luz and that the parents knew this. They set out their conclusions in an interim report by Tavares de Almeida on 10 September 2007. But just 22 days later, Mr Amaral was removed from his post and played no further part in the investigation into Madeleine’s disappearance.

A. The squandering by the McCanns of publicly-donated funds

Not least of the concerns many members of the public have about the case is the huge amount of money raised by the public, and put into the hands of a private trust – not a charity – controlled by members of the McCann family. That should, of itself, be a matter for major concern and investigation, but that concern is multiplied many times now that news has emerged of how the McCanns and members of their Trust, Find Madeleine Fund, have squandered the public’s money. I will give some details of this below.

Most notably, and shockingly, is the money that was in effect stolen from the McCanns’ ‘Find Madeleine Fund’ by Mr Kevin Halligen, a man who has currently been in Belmarsh High Security Prison for a whole year awaiting extradition proceedings begun by the U.S. over an alleged $2 million fraud.

In April 2008, as we now know, as it has been admitted by the McCanns and Clarence Mitchell that the Trustees of the Find Madeleine Fund appointed Kevin Halligen, formerly of Red Defence International, to lead the McCanns’ team of private investigators. Halligen had previously founded a company called Oakley International – but only after Madeleine McCann disappeared. In two press reports dated 13 and 14 August 2008, Clarence Mitchell boasted about the ‘international status’ of Oakley International.

In the Daily Mail of 13 August, Clarence Mitchell described Oakley International as (quote) ‘a team of crack U.S. detectives’. Mitchell went on to describe them as ‘a truly international firm’, adding (quote) ‘These really are the big boys’ and ‘absolutely the best’. Mitchell stated, and this has been confirmed many times, that the Find Madeleine Fund signed a contract with Halligen and paid him £500,000. Mitchell went on to say that Oakley International ‘employs ex-FBI, CIA and U.S. special forces…the very best people in their field’.

In a further report in the Daily Star, the following day (14 August), the private detective organisation led by Halligen was described, once again in a direct quote from Clarence Mitchell, as ‘a global internationally-based operation with components in Britain, America, Europe and other countries, using dozens of retired FBI, CIA and even MI5 agents dedicated to solving the mystery of Madeleine’s disappearance’. Referring to Halligen’s contract, the report went on: ‘The top secret team has been given six months to solve the riddle [of her disappearance]’.

However, since an article by Mark Hollingsworth in the Evening Standard in August 2009 about Halligen, it has become clear that the McCanns, Clarence Mitchell and the Trustees of the Find Madeleine Fund were simply not telling the truth about Halligen. It emerged that he was wanted by the U.S. authorities for a fraud said to be worth over $2 million and which involved frauds against a London law firm. As you will know, he was arrested in October 2009 whilst living in a plush Oxford hotel which charges £700 a night. For the past year he has been resisting the extradition application against him whilst locked up in Belmarsh High Security Prison. Despite his track record as a fraudster and con-man – he is said to have defrauded and conned, inter alia, the FBI and Trafigura - he has been granted legal aid to fight the extradition, which is costing the taxpayer tens of thousands of pounds, if not more. A recent report in the Daily Mirror said that Halligen had ‘ripped off’ the Find Madeleine Fund. Many newspapers have reported on his high-living, hard-drinking lifestyle and it appears he delivered nothing of value with regard to Madeleine’s disappearance in exchange for half a million pounds of publicly-donated money.

In addition, the Mail on Sunday in November 2009 disclosed that “A paper trail which we have obtained shows that Halligen, a former director of a catering firm, launched an extraordinary spending spree on hotels, cigar bars, restaurants and luxury goods while he was in the pay of the Find Madeleine Fund…”

The funds of Find Madeleine Fund were very largely contributed by the generous British public. Children donated their weekly pocket money to find Madeleine. Pensioners donated their weekly pension. Many individuals and groups raised money and sent it to the McCanns. Clarence Mitchell on numerous occasions failed to point out that the Find Madeleine Fund was not a charity. He once called in a radio interview for money to be sent direct to ‘The McCanns, Rothley’, not a practice that most accountants would endorse in terms of maintaining the integrity of donations to a private trust, regulated by Companies House.

It is not only the choice of Kevin Halligen and Oakley International by the McCanns that is of concern, however. The choice of the Trustees of Find Madeleine Fund to pay the highly controversial Spanish detective agency Metodo 3 was also very questionable. You will recall that the head of this outfit, Francisco Marco, made extravagant, but worthless, boasts in the lead-up to Christmas 2007 that his agency knew precisely where Madeleine was, that they were ‘closing in’ on her, and that she would be ‘home by Christmas’.

A related and very serious concern is that the McCanns, through using the services of Metodo 3, may have colluded with Metodo 3 to finance what may be regarded as bogus searches for Madeleine’s body in the Arade Dam, Portugal. These searches were conducted in January and March 2009 in the full glare of well-organised publicity by Madeira-based Portguese lawyer, Marcos Aragao Correia. Mr Correia has also been the lawyer who has conducted various proceedings against the original senior detective in the case, Goncalo Amaral. In passing, we may note that this selfsame lawyer publicly claimed in November 2007 that underworld sources had told him that Madeleine had been abducted, raped, killed and her body thrown into a lake. Two months later, he publicly admitted that this was a deliberate lie, instead substituting a colourful account of how he had received a vision of a big man strangling Madeleine, hours after attending his first-ever Spiritualist Church meeting on Madeira. These two extraordinary statements are a matter of public record.

The significance of these matters is that Mr Correia has publicly admitted to being paid by Metodo 3 to carry out the searches of the Arade Dam. The amount of those payments has never been publicly disclosed. As Metodo 3 were being paid by the McCanns and the Find Madeleine Fund, inevitably serious questions arise as to whether the McCanns and their advisers knew and approved in advance of the search of the Arade Dam. Metodo 3 were using funds raised, as we have pointed out, by children donating their weekly pocket money and pensioners sending in their weekly pension. A further reason for holding a full public enquiry, with the power to summon witnesses, is to probe exactly how the public’s money was spent by outfits like Metodo 3 and Kevin Halligen’s bogus Oakley International.

Just as bad, not only was publicly-donated money squandered, but when the public made calls supplying information which they thought could lead to Madeleine being found, those calls were not followed up.

There was, for example, the further, shocking report by U.S. journalist Daniel Boffey, dated 20 November 2009, published in the Mail on Sunday, headlined: “Madeleine McCann investigator didn’t listen to ANY tip-offs given to hotline – and squandered £500,000”. In particular, Boffey reported that “…despite setting up a hotline for potential informants and witnesses, none of the hundreds of calls received by a call centre hired by Halligen, 48, was listened to by Oakley investigators”.

As the Mail on Sunday itself commented: “The revelations will dismay everyone who donated to the Find Madeleine Fund. But perhaps of most concern is the lack of attention paid to the hundreds of ’phone calls received by the Madeleine hotline. Halligen and Oakley International, based in Washington, failed to listen to a single call received on the hotline set up for potential informants by Kate and Gerry McCann last year. Johan Selle, the Director of Operations at iJet, the US firm that managed the Find Madeleine phone line, revealed that for a year nobody even asked his company if they could listen to any of the calls received. Mr Selle said his operators, in Annapolis, Virginia, had answered ‘hundreds of calls’, but the information seemed wasted – possibly squandering valuable leads. He said: ‘We delivered Oakley a report with a summary of the calls and said if they wanted to come back they could listen to the recording, but nobody did. We are not sure whether Halligen provided our report to the family or to the trust or to those working with them or to the teams working after him, because no-one came back to us. We sent the report to Oakley group and our assumption was that they were using it as a piece in the puzzle. But it appears that wasn’t the case”.

In addition, you may be aware that from around March 2009, the McCanns’ private investigation team appears to consist just of former Detective Inspector Dave Edgar and former Detective Sergeant Arthur Cowley. These are both ex-Cheshire Constabulary detectives. It appears likely that they were personally recruited by the man who has been the overall director of the McCanns’ private investigation operations for the past three years, Cheshire-based businessman Brian Kennedy (please see paragraph C4 below). These two men have frequently been referred in the media to being part of an ‘international investigations group’ known as ‘Alpha Investigations Group’. However, on investigation, the two McCann ex-detectives appear to belong to a similarly named one-man band company registered as ‘Alphaig’ only last year at Companies House. Its stated address is a residential property in the Flintshire countryside. Once again, there may have been a deception on the public, leading them to believe that this operation is much more than just two former detectives. This apparent deception should also be investigated by a public enquiry.

B. The activities of Leicestershire Constabulary

The highly controversial nature of the private detective agencies used by the McCanns and the Find Madeleine Fund, none of whom seems to have had any expertise whatsoever in tracing missing children, raises a further – and major – question about the continued linking by Leicestershire Constabulary to the McCanns’ fund-raising website. From a date in the autumn of 2007, Leicestershire Constabulary has continually linked its website, and prominently, to the McCanns’ website, Find Madeleine Fund.

The McCanns’ website had (and still has) two prime purposes. First, to raise as much money as possible. Second, to persuade people to contact their own private investigators rather than the Portuguese Police and Leicestershire Police, the two official agencies charged with the professional duty of investigating Madeleine’s disappearance.

At the time Leicestershire Police linked to the McCanns’ website, the McCanns were offical suspects over the disappearance of their daughter – and remained so until July 2008.

Whilst a report by the Head of the Portuguese Judiciary in that month [ http://arquivoexpresso.aeiou.pt/pdf/MaddieMcCann_PJ.pdf ] explained that there was insufficient evidence to charge any individual with any crime in relation to Madeleine’s disappearance, that same report also specifically retained, as an explanation for Madeleine’s disappearance, the possibility that she may have died in the McCanns’ apartment and that the parents knew what had happened to her.

The Times on 11 September 2007 reported: “Despite the insistence of Kate and Gerry McCann that they had no involvement in their daughter’s disappearance, Jose Cunha de Magalhaes e Meneses, an Algarve-based prosecutor, concluded that the evidence against them was strong enough to apply for a prosecution”.

Jose Cunha de Magalhaes e Meneses, a Regional Director of Prosecutions, gave evidence in court much more recently on the subject. He was a witness in the interlocutory hearing on 11 January 2010 of Goncalo Amaral’s appeal against an injunction temporarily banning his book ‘The Truth About A Lie’. Under headlines such as that on SKY NEWS on 12 January: “Madeleine McCann ‘Died In Holiday Apartment’, Mr Cunha de Magalhaes e Meneses repeated in the High Court in Lisbon his view that there was much evidence that Madeleine died in the McCanns’ apartment.

In addition, we need to bear in mind that despite her apparent desperation at Madeleine being missing, Dr Kate McCann refused to answer all 48 questions asked of her by the Portuguese Police at an interview under caution on 7 September 2007. Not only that, but the McCanns and all their ‘Tapas 9’ friends who were with them in Portugal refused to take part in a reconstruction of the events of the evening Madeleine disappeared, an event which would surely have shed much light on what really happened that evening.

As we said in our letter last year to Gordon Brown, this appears to be the first and only time in the hisotry of the world that a police force has directly encouraged the public to donate to suspects of a serious crime and to encourage the public to give information to that suspect’s agents and not to official police forces. We asked him to intervene and advise Leicestershire Constabulary that they should reconsider their position on this matter. He did not do so. We invite you to look again at this extraordinary situation.

C. Additional reasons why a public enquiry into Madeleine’s disappearance is necessary

We do not have space to develop all the arguments which suggest that a public enquiry into Madeleine McCann’s disappearance is necessary, but, in addition, we would mention some of these briefly below:

1) There has been no court case yet where witnesses to the events leading to Madeleine being reported missing can be heard. As is plain, what really happened to Madeleine is a very long way from being resolved. If a child had gone missing in similar circumstances in a British resort, an Inquest would surely have been held by now under the Coroners Act, under Coroners’ powers to deal with situations where persons are missing who may be presumed dead. This is a case with strong claims and couter-claims on all sides, with much disputed and contradictory evidence, and it is in the public interest that a neutral court hear the actual evidence and evaluate it. Such a public enquiry as we call for should have similar powers to those of a Coroner’s Court.

2) Why Leicestershire Constabulary delayed for 6 months – and only after Goncalo Amaral was removed from the investigation in October 2007 – passing to the Portuguese Police the statements of Drs Arul and Katarina Gaspar. They are two General Practitioners who had been together with the McCanns, and some of the McCanns’ friends, on a previous holiday abroad. They contacted Leicestershire Constabulary within days of Madeleine’s disappearance, because they had seen TV pictures of Dr David Payne in Praia da Luz. They both said that on that previous holiday they had seen and heard Dr David Payne making remarks and sexualised gestures which suggested that he could have paedophile tendencies. These statements were, we understand, not sent on by Leicestershire Constabulary to the Portuguese Police until the end of October 2007.

3) Why the government felt it necessary to send out to Praia da Luz the Head of its Media Monitoring Unit, Clarence Mitchell, and provide subsantial other direct help to the McCanns, not least the efforts of Gordon Brown to persuade the Portuguese Police, against their better judgment, to allow Dr Gerald McCann to release a description of a possible suspect based only on the claims of his friend and fellow-holidaymaker in Praia da Luz, Jane Tanner. Her claims now appear to be highly suspect given her changes of story over what she claims to have seen.

4) The revelation by Mark Hollingsworth in the Evening Standard, and not denied, that Brian Kennedy, who has played a direct role in managing the McCanns’ private investigation operation and in fact has run it from a house in Knutsford close to where he lives in Cheshire, interfered with and intimidated witnesses in the Madeleine McCann case to such an extent that they then refused to talk to the Portuguese Police. It is a matter of public record that Mr Kennedy personally interviewed potential witnesses to the case, such as Martin Smith and Gail Cooper. It is also known that on 12 November 2007 he flew out for a meeting he held the following day in Burgau in the Algarve at which he spoke directly to a suspect in the case, Robert Murat. The meeting was at the home of the Eveleighs, Murat’s aunt and uncle. Also present was Mr Kennedy’s in-house lawyer, Edward Smethurst, frequently described as ‘the McCanns’ co-ordnating lawyer’ and Francicso Pagarete, Murat’s lawyer. The public has a right to know why Kennedy was so heavily involved in this investigation, and why he interfered with potential witnesses and allegedly intimidated them, an offence known to British law, punishable by a maximum of 14 years in jail. There are also questions as to why, from what we know, Mr Kennedy has never been investigated in respect of these alleegd crimes. It may also be added that when questioned a second time by the Portuguese Police on 10 and 11 July 2007, Murat changed his answers to key questions in at least 17 different respects about his movements between 1 and 4 May, compared with the answers he gave the police on 14 May, when first questioned by them.

5) The role of the Home Office. Amongst other questions about the Home Office’s role in the investigation into the disappearance of Madeleine McCann are:

a) why former Home Secretary Jacqui Smith delayed for so long approving the ‘Rogatory Interviews’ of the McCanns and their ‘Tapas 9’ friends. These interviews eventually took place in April 2008 after much delay, and months after the Portuguese Police asked for permission to carry them out

b) why the Home Office, in conjunction with the Department of Health, allegedy refused permission for the Portuguese Police to have access to Madeleine McCann’s medical records

6) There are many further questions that Leicestershire Constabulary need to answer, and which perhaps could only be answered by a full public enquiry. These questions include:

a) how Leicestershire Constabulary can explain the unusually ‘matey’ relationship between their senior officer Stuart Prior and the McCanns and their ‘Tapas 9’ friends. The McCanns were sending him e-mails beginning ‘Hi Stu’

b) why were the interviews with the McCanns and the ‘Tapas 9’ at Enderby Police Station in April 2008 so tame, for example these witnesses being able to read their previous statements and even in some cases their partners’ statements before answering any questions

c) what was discussed between Gordon Brown, Home Secretary Jacqui Smith and senior police officrs at Leicestershore Police HQ, Enderby, at a hastily-arranged meeting on 13 September 2007, just six days after the McCanns were declared suspects and three days after they flew home to Britain?

d) why was there an entry against Dr Gerald McCann in the Child Abuse section of Leicestershire Police CATS system, and why is the entry now blank? CATS is the ‘Case Adminsitration and Tracking System’, developed in response to Recommendation 104 in Lord Laming’s report into the death of Victoria Climbie, which recommended a national child abuse database. It is now used by more than a dozen police forces. The following is an extract from a statement made by Detective Constable Hughes to the Portuguese Police on 16 May 2008. For some reason this was over a year after Madeleine was reported missing:

Leicestershire Police Force

From: DC443 J.N. HUGHES

To: SIO, Operation Task Department:

Main Criminal Unit

Date: 16th May 2008

Ref: Background Information – Kate McCann

Dear Sirs,

In response to your letter of request, I can provide the following information regarding the above-mentioned subject.

[PART OF REPORT SNIPPED]

Kate McCann was born on March 5, 1968 in Merseyside...

Searches made of the local section of child abuse investigation shows a registration number 19309 in CATS (system of action location). A consultation with DC Soand from the department in question confirms that this is just a file reference, but as a complement to Operation Task system for the purpose of reference, if any investigation should be necessary by the department. No work has been done on the basis of this file.

7) Whether the Madeleine McCann case has undermined the work carried out by police sniffer dogs, especially cadaver dogs and bloodhounds. One of the reasons the McCanns were taken in for questioning was because of the evidence provided by two dogs used by Martin Grime, recognised as one of the world’s top dog handlers. The cadaver dog Eddie was said by Mr Grime, on a video that has since been watched by millions, to have alerted to the scent of a corpse at 10 locations, four in the McCanns’ apartment, two in a car subsequently hired by the McCanns, and four times on clothes or other items belonging to the McCanns and one of their children. The McCanns have rebutted this evidence by claiming that the evidence of these dogs is (I quote) ‘notoriously unreliable’, yet despite that claim, Mr Grime’s dogs have been used successfully dozens of times to alert to the scent of places where corpses have lain for a period.

It might also be noted here that the McCanns, themselves and through their spokesman Clarence Mitchell, in an attempt to discredit the use of cadaver sniffer dogs, publicly referred to the case of Eugene Zapata as one where the evidence of cadaver dogs had, they said, been shown to be unreliable. However, less than six months after the McCanns made these comments, Zapata pleaded guilty to murdering of his wife.

It is in the public interest that, as part of any public enquiry into Madeleine’s disappearance, the enquiry examines the quality and reliability of dogs such as Martin Grime’s, which have been successfully deployed in a number of other countries besides the U.K. The McCann case appears to have significantly undermined confidence in the use of these police and other highly trained sniffer dogs.

8. Whether the Forensic Science Service (FSS) in Birmingham improperly destroyed blood, fluid and hair samples from the McCanns’ apartment and hired car – and whether any third party sought to influence the initial forensic indications. In relation to this aspect, it is understood that one of the major investors in the FSS, who, we are informed, did the analysis of the DNA and other evidence in the Madeleine McCann investigation, is a company called 3i. It is understood that 3i is a private equity company with strong links to both Brian Kennedy and Control Risks Group, a company brought in to Praia da Luz in the first days after Madeleine McCann was reported missing and whose role in the matter has been very obscure. We understand that the major shareholder in Control Risks Group is 3i Equity plc, and that the Chairman of 3i is Baroness Sarah Hogg, sister-in-law of Mrs Justice Hogg who of course was the judge who made Madeleine McCann a Ward of the High Court 19 days after she was reported missing. Any public enquiry would need to explore whether any outside influence was or could have been brought to bear on the highly controversial Madeleine McCann investigation. Any suspicion that the FSS had less than 100% integrity would have major implications for its work.

9) Whether funds raised for the explicit purpose of finding a missing child should ever be used for funding the parents’ mortgage payments, as they were, for part of 2007, in this case.

Finally, we wish to advise you that a public petition has been set up on the Care Petitions site; the up-to-date numbers who have signed it can be viewed by clicking on our home page at:

www.madeleinefoundation.org.uk

We trust we have made a strong case for a public enquiry to be established and we await hearing from you.

Yours sincerely

Anthony Benentt

Secretary

For the Committee and Members of the Madeleine Foundation

The Madeleine Foundation deliver their letter to the Portuguese Ambassador, at the Portuguese Embassy, 02 October 2010

Madeleine Foundation members deliver their letter to the Portuguese Embassy

The Madeleine Foundation's letter to the Portuguese Ambassador, 02 October 2010
The Madeleine Foundation

Asking the questions about what really happened to Madeleine McCann

66 Chippingfield
HARLOW
Essex,
CM17 0DJ
Tel: 01279 635789
e-mail: ajsbennett@btinternet.com
website: www.madeleinefoundation.org.uk
--------------
 
Tuesday 28 September 2010

His Excellency The Portuguese Ambassador
Portuguese Embassy
11 Belgrave Square,
LONDON,
SW1X 8PP.

Your Excellency

re: The need for a public enquiry in Portugal into the treatment of Snr Goncalo Amaral in the matter of the disappearance of Madeleine McCann

You may recall that we previously wrote to you about the Madeleine McCann case in December 2008, when we urged upon your government the desirability of holding a full public enquiry into the disappearance of Madeleine McCann, either in Portugal or in the U.K.

The focus of our letter on this occasion is the treatment suffered by Snr Goncalo Amaral since he became the head of the investigation into Madeleine McCann’s disappearance on 3 May 2007.

We would respectfully ask you to pass our request to the Prime Minister of Portugal, asking him to set up a public enquiry into the following matters that concern us and many other people in the United Kingdom:

1) The circumstances under which the Portuguese courts accepted for indictment the allegations of the murderess Leonor Cipriano, who together with her brother are now serving long prison sentences for murdering, respectively, their daughter and niece, Joana Cipriano. We are especially concerned that Leonor Cipriano’s testimony about her alleged beating changed many times.

2) The circumstances under which Snr Amaral was removed from the enquiry into the disappearance of Madeleine McCann on 2 October 2007. The following aspects about this concern us:

a) whether, as alleged, the British government put pressure on the Portuguese authorities to have Snr Amaral sacked?

b) whether, as alleged by Snr Amaral, the British Prime Minister, Gordon Brown, was notified of Snr Amaral’s dismissal before he was?

c) why Snr Amaral was sacked so soon after he had made the McCanns arguidos on 7 September 2007 and so soon after a damning report by Inspector Tavares de Almeida on 10 September 2010 who strongly suggested in his report that the evidence pointed towards Madeleine having died in Apartment 5A in the Ocean Club apartments in Praia da Luz and that the McCanns probably knew what had happened to her?

3) The role of the lawyer from Madeira, Marcos Aragao Correia, in pursuing Snr Amaral. Here, our concerns include the following:

a) The bizarre stories he promoted regarding Madeleine McCann. When he first spoke of his interest in the case (November 2007), he said that underworld [criminal] sources had told him that Madeleine had been kidnapped, then raped, then killed, and then her body thrown into a lake. Later, when he began the criminal case against Goncalo Amaral, taking over from another lawyer, he changed his story. He now said that in fact he had not heard that Madeleine had been abducted and killed. He admitted that he had lied. He said that he had been at his first-ever Spritualist Church meeting on Saturday 5 May 2007 in Madeira, after which he had had a vision of a big man strangling Madeleine. One is astonished that a practising lawyer could make such extraordinary comments.

b) The fact that he admitted to being paid by the Spanish detective agency, Metodo 3, for his highly-publicised search of the Arade Dam. Metodo 3 were paid by the McCanns. It is important to establish how much Snr Correia was paid by the McCanns and whether the McCanns knew in advance that Snr Correia would be carrying out this search.

c) His conduct of the proceedings against Snr Amaral, concluding with his famous comment ‘The target was hit’ when Snr Amaral was found guilty of filing a false report in May 2009.

4) The conduct of the criminal proceedings against Goncalo Amaral in the Portuguese courts. These proceedings began on 24 October 2008 and concluded on 22 May 2009 – eight months. There were five long adjournments. A criminal trial should not take this long and should not be adjourned so frequently. It can lead to injustice for the defendant. From the reports we have seen, the stories of Leonor Cipriano changed many times and there was evidence that the Director of Odemira Prison told her Prison Medical Officer to change her evidence. With defects like that in the evidence, there is an obvious suspicion that Snr Amaral was unjustly found guilty.

5) We are informed that Snr Amaral appealed against his conviction immediately after he was found guilty. It is now over 16 months and yet his appeal has not yet been heard. One reason given for this long delay was that the four members of the jury had not been paid, and we understand that an appeal agaisnt conviction may not be heard until the jury is paid. A highly respected judge once said: ‘Justice delayed is justice denied’. A delay of over a year in hearing an appeal is unjust. In most countries, an appeal against conviction is heard within a matter of weeks, or a few months at most. We suggest that a public enquiry in Portugal should investigate the reason for this serious delay. We also appeal to you to make representations to the judicial authorities in Portugal to hear Mr Amaral’s appeal without further delay.

6) We are concerned also about the serious delays in hearing the McCanns’ application for 1.2 million euros damages against Snr Amaral and his publishers. We are also concerned at Mr Amaral’s book being banned well before the final hearing of the case and at the seizure or sequestration of some of his assets in advance of the final hearing.

We are informed that the McCanns first issued a libel writ against Snr Amaral and his publishers, Guerra e Paz, in the Lisbon High Court in July 2009. It must be noted that by this time Snr Amaral’s book had been on sale for a whole year, and reputedly sold 200,000 copies in Portugal and a similar number in other European countries. A major question mark is why the McCanns waited a year before trying to injunct the book if it was considered to be so libellous.

The service of the writ was swiftly followed by an interlocutory hearing, just a few weeks later, when Mr Amaral’s book was banned and certain financial orders were made against him. In January and February there were four days of hearings when Mr Amaral failed to persuade the judges to allow his book to be sold pending the final hearing of the libel trial.

It is now September 2010, nearly 15 months after the libel writ was served, and even now no date has been set for the final libel hearing. A public enquiry should establish the reasons for this. Again we would urge you to intervene by asking the Portuguese judiciary to bring this case on for trial without further delay.

We have since learnt that an order has been made sequestrating Mr Amaral’s home. It seems to us here in Britain that all the decisions are being made adverse to Mr Amaral before the trial takes place. His book has been banned for a year. The books have been seized. Some of his assets have been seized. And his home has been sequestered. All of this has taken place before the trial. This does not seem like a fair way of conducting civil proceedings. We would also point out that there is a great demand for Mr Amaral’s book, not least here in Britain where hundreds of thousands of people would surely buy it if it ever went on sale here. We cannot undestand the draconian action taken against Mr Amaral.

7) We also understand that Snr Marcos Aragao Correia has begun other criminal proceedings against Snr Amaral, based, we are told, on the evidence of Leandro da Silva, the partner of Leonor Cipriano. Once again we question whether there is a prima facie case against Mr Amaral. This is now the second set of criminal proceedings he has faced regarding the murder of Joana Cipriano, a matter which he successfully prosecuted in the Portuguese courts on behalf of the Portuguese people. That taken together with the banning of his very popular book and the delay in the libel case seems an intolerable burden for a detective who did his best to probe the disappearance of a three-year-old British girl, Madeleine McCann.

We in Britain are grateful for Snr Amaral’s efforts to obtain the truth about the circumstances under which Madeleine was reported missing on 3 May 2007. We would urge you to pass our letter without delay to the relevant political and judicial authorities in Portugal so that there can be an urgent and thorough review into the way he has been treated since making the McCanns arguidos on 7 September 2007.

Many of us are very concerned indeed that when a team of detectives tries to find out the truth about a missing girl, they seem to be attacked at every turn.

Finally, we enclose a leaflet we have prepared about Snr Amaral which we are currently distributing in Britain.

Yours sincerely

Tony Bennett

For The Committee of The Madeleine Foundation

ENC: Leaflet: ‘Your Questions Answered About Goncalo Amaral’

Further pictures, 02 October 2010

Foundation members outside the Ministry of Justice

Foundation members outside the Ministry of Justice

Foundation members outside the Home Office

Photograph of envelopes delivered

Foundation members with birthday wishes to Goncalo Amaral

With thanks to Nigel at McCann Files

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