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The Madeleine Foundation - 'Inside Out' Programme*

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Tony Bennett appearing on 'Inside Out'

BROADCAST: Mon 22 Nov 2010, 19:30 - BBC One (East Midlands only)
 

Inside Out - The Madeleine Foundation, 22 November 2010
Inside Out - The Madeleine Foundation BBC East Midlands

Part 1 of 2

Part 2 of 2

Transcript

By Nigel Moore

Marie Ashby: [to camera] Hello. Tonight 'Inside Out' is at Rothley, in Leicestershire, to ask: 'Who are the Madeleine Foundation?'

[voice over] The missing three-year-old's parents say they just add to their anguish.

Kate McCann: [archive film] There's a certain group out there who... this is their job really; is to pick on a vulnerable family and I'm sure after us they'll move onto another family.

Marie Ashby: [voice over] And the villagers digging their own broadband network.

Male Villager: This village will be transformed from a location that has broadband that's not fit for purpose, in fact not available, to be literally the fastest village for broadband in the country.

Marie Ashby: [to camera] They've been described as 'a club for sickos' who distribute vile leaflets. Their members insist they're only trying to discover out what happened to Madeleine McCann. But the parents of the missing youngster say the so-called 'Madeleine Foundation' is hindering the search for their daughter and adding to their anguish. Simon Hare has been investigating.

Simon Hare: [to camera] Well, it's a Saturday afternoon and most people are busy enjoying their weekend. But somewhere, here in Nottingham, a group of people have got together to discuss the Madeleine McCann case.

[on mobile phone] Hello, Simon...

[voice over] Secrecy surrounds what's billed as the annual conference of the self-appointed Madeleine Foundation. They've said I can attend but I have to wait for news of the location. I'm told to make my way to a hotel with conference facilities but this proves to be just a meeting place. I'm then taken to the real venue: a room in this village hall at Nuthall. A member takes some photos, including one of me. Chairman, Grenville Green, from Nottingham is also happy to be pictured and the organisation's secretary and co-founder, Tony Bennett, is keen to promote his new book; made up of selected extracts from the case files.

[to camera] There were nineteen people at the meeting. I was told that they'd come from all over the country and that one couple had even come from northern France. They didn't want cameras to come in but they did allow me to sit there and take notes. They discussed many aspects of the McCann case and they also sold me a copy of their new book. But at the moment I still don't feel that I'm any nearer to understanding exactly what the Madeleine Foundation is about.

Anne Davies: [archive film] Well, among those reporters was Simon Hare, for East Midlands Today. He joins us now from Portugal. Simon, can you...

Simon Hare: [voice over archive film] But I do know something about the Madeleine McCann case...

[archive film] Good evening, Anne, yes...

[voice over] ...I was part of the East Midlands Today team that covered the events in Portugal. I interviewed the McCanns in Praia da Luz.

Kate McCann: [archive film] It really does give you great strength, really, to see that everybody in the village is, you know, giving us all their support and love and everything.

Simon Hare: [voice over] And three months later I was in Portimao, when they were made official suspects.

[to camera, archive film] The crowd of onlookers, hundreds of people have turned out; many booed Kate McCann as she arrived here...

[voice over] A development, largely thanks to this man. The Portuguese detective, Gonçalo Amaral.

Gonçalo Amaral: [speaking in Portuguese]

Simon Hare: [voice over] But he was taken off the case and in 2008 the McCanns had their suspect status removed.

Kate McCann: [archive film] We welcome the news today, although it is no cause for celebration.

Simon Hare: [voice over] And won libel damages for some of the lurid press coverage they'd received. A year later, front page news of a different kind; thanks to the Madeleine Foundation.

Anne Davies: [archive film] People living in Madeleine McCann's home village say that they are sickened that they're now being targeted by a campaign to re-open the case against her parents. 

Co-host male TV Presenter: [archive film] A group claiming to want 'Justice for Madeleine' says it believes she wasn't abducted. Its been sending hundreds of leaflets around the area calling for support.

Simon Hare: [voice over] It delivered 150 leaflets to homes in the McCann's own neighbourhood, repeating the now discredited Amaral theory that Madeleine had died in her parent's holiday apartment and they'd covered it up.

Female Reporter: [archive film] Now the people in Rothley, who spoke to us today, say they're horrified.

Local Male: [archive film] It's absolutely repugnant, I think, personally.

Local Female: [archive film] I just think its sad and sick that people have got nothing else better to do with their time.

Simon Hare: [voice over] I would meet all of the four people who delivered the leaflets that day, among them Debbie Butler, the Foundation's former chairman and co-founder who appeared on the BBC to justify their actions.

Debbie Butler: [archive film] It's a nationwide campaign. We need to put the leaflets into as many doors as possible...

Simon Hare: [voice over] She's since fallen out with Tony Bennett and is no longer a member of the Foundation but she agreed to meet me near her home in Kent.

Debbie Butler: Mr. Bennett decided that we would go to that area; I'd never been there. He'd been there before. I found out that he had been there before. Errm... He knew where we were going. I drove. We had Grenville Green with us and Helene Davies, his wife. We visited the farm that Kate had taken the children to and had some lunch there. Mr. Bennett leafletted there, alone, and instructed me to go and leaflet in the immediate area where the McCanns live. Errm... which I did with Helene. And then he told me that I must leaflet their road, which I did. I was doing it with Helene but Helene... Helene's just... legs went to jelly and she wouldn't do it, so I did. I didn't leaflet their own home at all.

Simon Hare: [voice over] Tony Bennett denies he told Debbie Butler what to do that day. But both were subsequently pursued by the McCann's lawyers and in November, last year, Mr. Bennett assured the High Court he wouldn't distribute any more of the leaflets or he could lose fifty thousand pounds and even go to prison for contempt of court.

[Video of Tony Bennett pulling trolley bag and setting up site for leaflet distribution, in Bristol, with accompanying music:

'Pack up your troubles in you old kit bag
And bury them beneath the sea
I don't care what the people may say
What the people may say about me...'
]

Tony Bennett: [distributing leaflet to member of public] ...about the, errr... Madeleine McCann case.

Simon Hare: [voice over] But by this summer, Tony Bennett was distributing a new leaflet.

Tony Bennett: [distributing leaflet to member of public] Morning, thank you very much.

Simon Hare: [voice over] He's come to Bristol for what's billed as 'Gonçalo Amaral Awareness Day'. He's accompanied by another Foundation member who's a little camera shy.

[Camera attempts, unsuccessfully, to film a person hiding behind a pillar]

Simon Hare: [off camera] Are you hiding? It's alright, I'm going round this side of the pillar. You going round this side of the...

Leaflet Recipient 1: [to Tony Bennett] There's some evil people in this world...

Tony Bennett: There are some evil people.

Leaflet Recipient 1: ...thoroughly evil. You know I don't know what to say. I think she's just been stolen.

Leaflet Recipient 2: [to Tony Bennett] There's a conspiracy theory around everything though, isn't there?

Tony Bennett: [to member of public] True, true, yeah, about many things, 9/11, yeah, yeah, yeah, I... yeah, there is... there is, I mean...

[to Simon Hare] People think that we are representing the McCanns, in some way.

Simon Hare: Doesn't that worry you?

Tony Bennett: Errm... not really, no, because it's a chance to explain to people, errm... what we're about and that there is a... a big mystery at the heart of this case.

Woman On Street 1: I wouldn't dare say on record what I thought because I'd be sued.

Tony Bennett: [to elderly couple] The NSPCC say that, errm... you should never, ever leave children of that age on their own, even for thirty seconds...

Elderly Man: No matter where you are... The only place you're safe...

Elderly Woman:
I think nobody had the right to take her, anyway.

Tony Bennett: [to woman] No, no, no, no, that's right.

[off camera] People will no doubt have been reading that leaflet as they passed round the town.

[to camera] Not one person has come back to complain at all and say this is outrageous.

Simon Hare: [voice over] But in the afternoon, there are a number of hostile reactions.

Female Teenager 1: It just seems a bit hard to start a whole campaign against it when there is... if she is abducted, they're clearly struggling, dealing with the grief already.

Tony Bennett: The question is: if. If she was abducted.

Female Teenager 2: And you don't find what you're doing at all disrespectful?

Tony Bennett: Errm... you could call it disrespectful.

Female Teenager 2: I'm not going to read it because I think its a little bit sick and very disrespectful, so...

Tony Bennett: That's OK. That's OK.

Male Teenager: I think it's a bit distasteful.

Woman On Street 2: I have a two year old daughter, so, you know, if I'd... if I'd had lost my daughter, like that... that woman has, I... I wouldn't want to think that someone was out saying that, in the street.

Simon Hare: [voice over] A few days later, after hundreds of copies have been handed out, he agrees to the McCann's lawyers demand not to distribute this latest leaflet. They didn't want to talk to us about Tony Bennett's campaign but, on the third anniversary of Madeleine's disappearance, Gerry and Kate McCann seemed to allude to the Foundation.

Lorraine Kelly: [archive film] You know, even to this day, there are people who are convinced that you had something to do with it. How on earth do you deal with that?

Kate McCann: [archive film] Well, I think, I mean I think its changed. Errm... Certainly we don't get the same level of criticism that we did and even then, to be fair, it was the minority, really. I think most people even if, you know, they don’t agree with... with, you know, what we did, then they wouldn't feel it right or fair to add to our suffering. But having said that, I mean I think there's just a small minority now and you know there's a certain group out there who... this is their job really; is to pick on a vulnerable family, and I am sure after us they'll move on to another family.

Simon Hare: [off camera] I think she meant you!

Tony Bennett: Errr... I didn't hear that. I don't know whether she meant us or... or not, but, errm... we are focused on this particular case. Errm... I... my focus is on the truth. The other members and supporters of the Madeleine Foundation is exactly the same. I haven't got any history of pursuing individuals.

Simon Hare: [voice over] Tony Bennett previously tried and failed to bring a private prosecution against the McCanns for child neglect.

In 2006, he attempted to mount a private prosecution of Michael Barrymore in relation to the night Stewart Lubbock died at the TV entertainer's home. Another high profile case at the centre of a media frenzy.

Tony Bennett first came to prominence by taking direct action over the metrification of signs.

Tony Bennett: [archive film] The majority of people don't want to see kilometres and metres on their road signs.

Simon Hare: [voice over] A cause which won a lot of support.

Female Voice: [off camera] A little bit higher as if you're... There you go.

Simon Hare: [voice over] He then began removing road signs to campaign for the re-introduction of old county boundaries.

Tony Bennett: [archive film] I think the majority of the public would like to see these signs, 'Welcome to Lancashire', on the correct Lancashire border.

Simon Hare: [voice over] Unlike some of his Madeleine Foundation colleagues, he appears to quite like the cameras and notoriety. Last year he could be clearly seen sat behind Gerry McCann, as he gave evidence to a Parliamentary Sub Committee on the Press and Privacy. Tony Bennett later posted on the internet...

Actor's Voice: [over archive film] It was to send out a quiet message: We are looking over his shoulder checking out what he and his team are saying. Watching them.

Gerry McCann: [archive film] I think for me its about responsibility and reporting truth and not making innuendo and speculation appear as fact.

Female MP: [archive film] I wonder how some of them can live with themselves.

Tony Bennett: [to Simon Hare] If it is certain that she was abducted then we are adding to their anguish.

Simon Hare: [off camera] And is that... does that not bother you? I mean, you're a father; you're a grandfather.

Tony Bennett: Errm... I... I'm persuaded that there are still questions to be answered, and... and, errr... as I say, and I've got to be careful what I say, but I do question their... their version of events and, errr... whether, in fact, Madeleine was abducted, as... as do many other people.

Simon Hare: [off camera] But you don't know what happened; I don't know what happened...

Tony Bennett: No I don't.

Simon Hare: [off camera] ...and only those responsible truly know what happened.

Tony Bennett: Yeah. I agree, I agree... so we don't know what happened, so why can't we say, errm... you know, why can't we... I mean, after all, if I'm making bad points, if we're making bad points on our website, errr... they can be challenged and refuted easily, can't they?

Simon Hare: [voice over] The internet is awash with forums and message boards about Madeleine. Some of these sites have seen threats of violence made towards the McCanns and their family home here at Rothley. Inside Out understands that the police have become involved in the past. People who post on these forums describe themselves as 'pro' and 'anti' McCann. Those connected with the Madeleine Foundation have also been subjected to threats.

Debbie Butler: Half-past-twelve one night my phone rang and, errr... I was told I'd be stabbed in front of my son, and straight through my heart. I phoned the police. Errm... I've had other threats.

Simon Hare: [voice over] The Madeleine Foundation has come to London. They're delivering more letters to both the Portuguese and British Governments.

Tony Bennett: [to police officer, off camera] So what happens? We knock on the door; somebody comes and receives it? OK, yeah.

Simon Hare: [voice over] The latest leaflet that they'd agreed to stop distributing has made a comeback.

Tony Bennett: Well we've, errr... had a rethink on that and we see no reason why we shouldn't distribute it. We weren't threatened with any libel action or anything like that. We, errm... we took the decision three months ago not to distribute it but we've reconsidered and see no reason why we shouldn't distribute it, especially on Gonçalo Amaral's birthday.

Simon Hare: [voice over] But in July, the McCann's lawyers, Carter Ruck, had threatened to take Tony Bennett back to the High Court. Their letter felt that the former solicitor had failed to grasp how libel laws work.

Madeleine Foundation Member: [to member of public] So, if you want any further information our contact details are on the back. 

Simon Hare: [voice over] And it said they would also pursue any other of the members of the Foundation who delivered the leaflets.

But our two remaining Rothley leafleters didn't go to London. Grenville Green and his wife, Helene Davies-Green, have stepped down from the Foundation committee after she was described by the Sun as a 'sicko' who distributes 'vile leaflets'.

Helene Davies-Green: [preparing mushrooms in kitchen] Most people will avoid these because some of them are poisonous...

Simon Hare: [voice over] She was back in the public eye as she stood as a UKIP candidate in the General election.

Helene Davies-Green: Apparently throwing out the odd insult isn't breaking their code of conduct.

Simon Hare: [voice over] It's an example of free speech that her husband doesn't like. At the beginning of the year, Grenville Green went to Portugal to attend a Court hearing about Gonçalo Amaral's controversial book.

Grenville Green: [archive film] Why am I here? It's freedom of speech, isn't it? If someone has a difference of opinion to someone else, errr... you shouldn't have, errr... lots of money to close you down, and shut you up, and make you quiet; if you've got a difference of opinion. This is why I'm here. It's freedom of speech; freedom of expression.

Simon Hare: [to Gonçalo Amaral, archive film] Is your book hurting the McCanns, sir?

Gonçalo Amaral:
[intimation to repeat question]

Simon Hare:
Is your book hurting the McCanns?

Gonçalo Amaral:
[speaking in Portuguese - 'Ask the McCanns']

Grenville Green: [to Simon Hare] This man is a folk hero, he's sort of a modern-day Robin Hood, if you like. It's like a David and Goliath fight. If something's right, you know it's right. If something's wrong, you know it is wrong.

Tony Bennett: [to Simon Hare] There are always going to be those who entirely believe the McCann's account and regard me as, errr... evil and perverted for what I'm doing. On the other hand, there are those who have got legitimate questions and fully support what we do.

Simon Hare: [voice over] Earlier this month, the McCanns launched an online petition calling for the investigation into their daughter's disappearance to be independently reviewed.

Gerry McCann: [archive film] There is absolutely no evidence that Madeleine has been seriously harmed so, without that, we've got to believe that we can still find her. Errm... It's difficult, we know that, and that's why we are asking for help, and we need the assistance, and the authorities need to do more.

Simon Hare: [to camera] Last week the McCanns revealed that they are now writing their own book. In a statement on their website, Kate McCann said: 'My reason for writing is simple, to give an account of the truth'. Just like that GMTV interview, I can't help but feel that that was partly aimed at the Madeleine Foundation.

The Madeleine Foundation's making of a programme with BBC East Midlands' 'Inside Out' team: A history, 19 November 2010
The Madeleine Foundation's making of a programme with BBC East Midlands' 'Inside Out' team:

http://www.madeleinefoundation.org.uk/


A History

The Madeleine Foundation decided in early 2010 to co-operate with BBC East Midlands in the making of a programme, said to be of 8 to 10 minutes' length, about our work. It was to be part of the BBC's 'Inside Out' series, which examines organisations - often highly controversial ones - in depth.

The decision to co-operate was close-run and taken only with a certain amount of reluctance and misgivings. The reasons for these misgivings included:
  1. the previous history of The Madeleine Foundation's treatment by the press, which had been universally hostile
  2. concern that the BBC's agenda was not to paint a fair picture of The Madeleine Foundation but to attack us
  3. the previous conduct of BBC East Midlands, notably their hostile interview of our former Chairman Debbie Butler on 14 August 2009 after what became known as the 'Rothley Leaflet Drop', and the way they reported on Mr Amaral's appeal against his book ban in Lisbon. Alone amongst many media, BBC East Midlands' reporter John O'Sullivan had claimed that Mr Amaral had said, in answer to a question, 'F___ the McCanns', whereas all other media said he had simply said 'Forca los McCanns', meaning: 'Ask the McCanns'. Mr Amaral does not speak English.  
In favour of co-operating with the programme were the following considerations:
  1. even previous adverse publicity had led to renewed interest in The Madeleine Foundation. Despite hostile publicity, The Madeleine Foundation had received thousands of extra hits to its website, two dozen new people joined, other people wished to distribute our controversial '10 Reasons' leaflet, we received many offers of help, and hundreds of extra copies of our book '60 Reasons' were sold
  2. there remained large numbers of people who had not heard about the work of The Madeleine Foundation, amongst a population we believe to be still overwhelmingly sceptical about the McCanns' claims
  3. the BBC has a duty under OFCOM codes of practice to produce a 'fair' and 'balanced' programme about us. Indeed, Simon Hare of BBC East Midlands, who first approached us about making a programme, promised that his programme would be fair to us
  4. we would certainly be given a fair opportunity within the programme to explain why we were set up, what our aims are, and how we set about achieving them.
The initial approach

The very first approach by Simon Hare, a BBC East Midlands journalist, came in an e-mail dated 12 February 2010. Here is his full e-mail:

Dear Mr Bennett,

I am a producer for a BBC current affairs programme called Inside Out. It is a regional show and I work on the programme covering the East Midlands.

During the recent court proceedings in Portugal I became aware of the Madeleine Foundation's plans for its second conference on 27-28 February.

I am interested in making an eight-minute film centred on the foundation, what it stands for, who supports it and the response it gets from the public.

I would be grateful if you would consider allowing me to attend your forthcoming conference with a camera crew to cover its proceedings. I can assure you that I would not give away the location to any third party in advance of it happening.

Any material gathered would be for broadcast during our next series, in the Autumn.

The conference would only form one part of the film. We would also like to see and film other activities - meetings, leafleting etc - to give a better insight into the organisation.

I am aware the foundation has had previous disputes with BBC colleagues on East Midlands Today - we are in the same building and I used to work for that programme. Yet I can assure you that I am motivated solely by an interest in examining your campaign in a full and fair manner, which an eight-minute item filmed over a number of weeks allows you to do.

I have a good working knowledge of the Madeleine case as I made several trips to Portugal in 2007/08 for East Midlands Today. I suspect you may find it interesting talking to me about my first-hand account of that time.

Please feel free to give me a call to discuss this request further, if you wish.

Many thanks.

Simon Hare
Producer
BBC Inside Out

Simon Hare gives the context. He had heard about our work whilst covering Mr Amaral's appeal against his book ban in Lisbon on 11-13 January. Our then Chairman, Grenville Green, had attended the trial and had met Mr Amaral at a fund-raising dinner on 13 January. Grenville had been quoted on some British TV channels, explaining why he had attended. He told the media that he had come because the book-banning was 'a free speech issue' and he wanted to represent the many people in Britain who supported and appreciated Mr Amaral's efforts to find out the truth about what really happened to Madeleine McCann.

During the following week Simon Hare telephoned and then met up with Grenville Green at his home in Nottingham. No film was taken at this meeting.

Simon Hare attends the annual Madeleine Foundation Conference, 27 February

With permission from those attending our Annual Conference in Nottingham, Simon Hare attended our meeting and initially spoke for 10 minutes or so about his intended programme. He fielded questions from the 25 people at the conference. The meeting then allowed him to attend and make notes on the subsequent session of our conference which discussed a variety of issues connected with Madeleine's disappearance. Simon Hare had wanted to take some video film of the meeting or of individuals but the consensus of the meeting was not to allow this.

After our Conference, we sent Simon Hare some still photos from the meeting. He replied, on 1 March, as follows:

Hi Tony.

Thanks for your hospitality on Saturday and I appreciate your efforts in trying to get the meeting to allow me to film. Also, thank you for supporting me in my efforts to explain to the others what I can and can't do as a BBC journalist.

As I said, I see this as a long-term "project" and I hope that in the coming weeks and months we can come to some agreement on what would be possible to film. I'll stay in touch with Grenville as well.

I think meeting in person is a good first step in this process.

All the best,

Simon Hare
BBC Inside Out

The following day, 2 March, we sent out a Newsletter to our members and supporters which referred to the interest by the BBC in making a film about The Madeleine Foundation. It ran:
'Interest from the BBC 'Inside Out' programme:

As those of you who attended our last conference will know, Simon Hare from BBC East Midlands attended and spoke about his interest in preparing a film of about 8 minutes on the work of The Madeleine Foundation for transmission in the autumn series.

The Committee have considered this and would be willing to facilitate some filming by the BBC during [our forthcoming] weekend conference [in June], subject to two conditions:

a) no filming can take place at or near the host's home
b) only those willing to be filmed will be asked to take part.

The BBC want to film a segment of any discussion of ours which is connected to the disappearance of Madeleine McCann. Provisionally we have agreed that they could film a discussion of us talking about support for Goncalo Amaral. Please let us know if you would be willing to take part in such a discussion. The Committee's view, not without some reservations, is that this represents an opportunity, not a trap.'
Subsequently, the Committee decided that it would not be appropriate for Simon Hare to film part of that conference. By then, however, he had already agreed to film two of us leafleting in Bristol on Saturday 17 July, a day we had designated as 'Goncalo Amaral Awareness Day'.

On 26 March, Simon Hare wrote the following letter:

Hi Tony.

We had a producers' meeting this week. Just to say I am still very keen on doing a piece on the Madeleine Foundation for our Autumn series.

I saw Grenville yesterday, primarily about another matter, but told him we were still interested. I got the impression he may be happy to talk on camera.

I know you think it may be beneficial to your aims. Can you let me know your thoughts and if you are doing anything in the coming weeks that we could film - selling books, attending events etc. I've read the book by the way.

As mentioned before, the piece would look at what is the MF, who are its members/founders and what is it seeking to achieve? I'm sure you realise I would have to be questioning in my approach, but can promise it would go well beyond the one-dimensional characterisation of some tabloid press.

The item would form an 8-10 minute piece to be broadcast to the East Midlands region, with the possibility it could get national exposure as part of the Inside Out England programmes compiled from different regions' programmes.

Regards,

Simon Hare
Producer
BBC Inside Out

On 30 April, Simon Hare wrote to us again and this time said:

Hi Tony.

I got "stuck" on holiday for an extra 10 days, so I'm only just getting to grips with work again.

I see that The Sun had a go at Helene while I was away. I've not been round to see Grenville!

Did you get a chance to discuss me at your committee meeting a month ago?

Simon

On 2 June, Simon Hare wrote again:

Hi Tony

Thanks for your time earlier.

On reflection, let's stick with the original plan and NOT do any filming at Cheshire. We can then film at the leafletting in Nottingham on July 17th.

For coming to see you at home, how about Wed June 30th, Thu July 1st or Fri July 2nd? Let me know which of these would suit you best.

Simon Hare
BBC Inside Out

Shortly after Simon Hare wrote this, we agreed to leaflet in Bristol rather than in Nottingham. We planned to distribute, on the streets of Bristol, our new leaflet in support of Mr Amaral: 'Your Questions Answered about Goncalo Amaral'. Two days before the proposed leafleting, Carter-Ruck sent an e-mail asking for us not to distribute the leaflet as it was libellous. The e-mail was not seen until after our weekend leafleting.

Simon Hare came down to Harlow to film our Secretary Tony Bennett on 2 July. Tony filed this report on the filming to Committee members:
A FEW NOTES ON SIMON HARE'S VISIT TODAY

Fairly predictable questions - not too many difficult ones.

The Debbie Butler crisis came up, I dealt with that by saying she disagreed over the decision not to risk a libel action over Carter-Ruck.

He allowed me to say that we felt we should be allowed to challenge the McCanns' claim, I mentioned our articles, our website, our new book, the Amaral leaflet and Awareness Day, so if the BBC are reasonably fair, listeners should find out a bit about us.

He put it to me that we were adding to the misery of a couple whose child was missing. My response in summary was: IF Madeleine was abducted as they claimed, then he would be largely right, but there was NO PROOF of the abduction and it remained a 'complete mystery' according to Clarence Mitchell, so we were right to raise queries about what really happened to her.

My wife met Simon Hare, made him and the cameraman a cup of tea etc. and can usually weigh people up quite well, she thought he was fair, personable and straightforward.

Tony
On 6 July Tony sent the following e-mail to Simon Hare:
Dear Simon,

I took a call on my land-line 'phone a few minutes ago (11.24am) from Ms Debbie Butler.

The call came in from a destination on my call recorder 'INTERNATIONAL'. I hasten to add that this gives just the caller's number, I do not in any way shape or form record telephone calls in or out.

Before I disconnected the call, Ms Butler said these words:

"Tony, It's Debbie. I've had the man from the BBC on to me. He contacted Grenville Green and Grenville told him to contact me and gave him the contact details. He's coming over to see me in Spain. Did you know about that?"

At that point I terminated the call without speaking to her at all.

I need to know as a matter of urgency whether what Debbie Butler has said in this message is true.

In the light of the huge numbers of malicious and fabricated allegations she has made against me and considering the damage she has inflicted on The Madeleine Foundation in the past 9 months it would be incredible if you decided to feature an interview with her within the proposed programme, and still more incredible the claim from Ms Butler that you are going to fly out to Spain to interview her.

As you may know she claimed to have started a 1,000-mile walk from Barcelona to Praia da Luz on 21 June 2010 in aid of the Macmillan Cancer Charity but this is now known to be a hoax, although she is indeed travelling around Spain at present either by public transport or more likely by private hire car. She was expelled from The Madeleine Foundation on 2 November and since then has made dozens of fabricated claims [against us] about various matters. We utterly fail to see what purpose it would serve to include Ms Butler within your programme.

Please let me have your comments without delay.
Simon Hare replied as follows:

Hi Tony.

Yes, I called Debbie to check out what you said at the bottom of your press release yesterday. I hadn't rung her before.

From the dial tone she does indeed appear to be abroad. But as you say, that doesn't prove where she is, where she's been or how she's moving around. I'd be grateful for any information you have which makes you think she's not doing the walk.

She told me that she'd had many people publicly doubting what she was up to and asking her to send photos, so I did mention that I could film her - to gauge her reaction to that thought. Not that that would prove she had walked the whole way.

Grenville didn't give me her number - she had posted it on a web forum. Although Grenville had suggested I talk to her in relation to the Rothley leaflet drop. But obviously I'm aware of the tensions that exist between the Madeleine Foundation and Debbie Butler.

As you know, the resulting decision by the CPS last week is to form part of the film.

But to be honest, she didn't say anything to me that was different to what you said last week - ie, that you fell out over the agreement with Carter-Ruck.

Simon

Tony again wrote to Simon Hare on 9 July:
Simon,

Further to previous correspondence, please note that I have received this message (verbatim and as typed in the original) from Ms Butler:

"Man from inside out contacted me and may be coming to see me in Spain or portugal can u ring me please he said grenville told him to call me".

My mobile doesn't record the date and time of this message.

We have nothing to say to Ms Butler unless and until she apologises wholeheartedly for her numerous false allegations and deals with the matter of The Madeleine Foundation bank account.

I cannot influence your choice of people to appear in your programme but it was sold to us on the basis that this was an examination of The Madeleine Foundation and I would seriously question what Ms Butler has to offer to that programme given all that has happened in the past 8 months since she was expelled.

Tony Bennett
That drew this response from Simon Hare:

Hi Tony.

As before, I can confirm I don't have any plans to travel to Portugal or Spain to see Mrs Butler. I did mention this as a possibility to her, primarily to gauge her reaction to the thought of someone travelling out there to see her, considering there were some doubts over the validity of what she claims to be doing there.

My phone call to her was prompted by the paragraph at the bottom of your press release, and a comment by Grenville that it might be worth contacting Mrs Butler. I seem to recall he said that in relation to the leaflet drop in Rothley. Until your correspondence, I wasn't aware that contacting her would cause you such concern.

But I appreciate your comments that you understand that the Madeleine Foundation can not influence who we speak to during the course of the making of the item.

Kind regards,

Simon

On 17 July, Tony Bennett and another member leafleted on the streets of Bristol, handing out a total of around 1,000 of our leaflet: 'Your Questions Answered about Goncalo Amaral'. Simon Hare filmed extensively and asked Tony many questions in between the filming of the leaflet distribution.

A report was sent to Simon Hare two days later. Here it is in full:
Simon

Herewith some notes about Saturday.

First and foremost, we appreciate the BBC's continuing interest in this story and in particular in the views of those of us who may be termed 'McCann-sceptics'.

Apart from that, the main purpose of writing to you is to put certain matters on the record about Saturday and in particular to ensure that insofar as you cover the leaflet distribution in Bristol, your coverage will be fair.

These are the main points we think need to be underlined:

Around 1,000 leaflets were distributed during the day by the two of us including several people who took away leaflets for others to read

* No-one having read the leaflet returned to challenge us about it

* There were only two opponents during the day to what we were doing. A lady in the late afternoon expressed her opposition. You made sure she was interviewed by yourself,

* Half-an-hour or less before that, a group of around 12 students (estimated age 15-18) gathered around us. Two youths spoke up; one was a blond girl who described what we were doing as 'sick' and distressing for the McCanns; the other was a tall youth with curly dark hair who firmly asserted the right of us to hand out these leaflets and clearly wanted to know more about the case himself. You interviewed the girl but we did not see you interview the boy. Within that group, several of them took a leaflet and one asked for a couple of spares. This might have occurred whilst you took aside the girl to interview her.

* Immediately before lunch, a lady, a professional, who held an important job in the Health Service, clearly expressed her view that Madeleine was dead, died in the McCanns' apartment, and the parents had covered it up. As you know, before expressing that view, she asked you to switch off the recording camera. This is highly representative of many people; many of our supporters are professional people who simply dare not articulate their views about the case publicly. Sadly the viewers will not have her views on tape although you did speak to her before she gave her real views on the case.

* Several people expressed open support for our action, far more than expressed opposition. These included, at the end of the day, a Brazilian lecturer in Criminology who was currently engaged in research on the treatment of sex offenders - again a professional. You will I am sure have observed three or four people openly shaking hands with us and congratulating us on our campaign.

* One man asked if we were there on behalf of the family, but he was not opposed to what we were doing when we explained ourselves to him.

* My colleague spoke to a man claiming to have worked for Irish intelligence before retiring. he was fully in support of Mr Amaral. I am not sure if you heard this conversation.

* You asked me on tape where the leaflet was being distributed and at short notice I struggled to remember all of the places. These are the places where we know that distributions took place:

Birmingham
Borehamwood
Bournemouth
Bristol
Devon
Dover
Elstree
Harlow
Hayes
Hazel Grove
Hull
London
Manchester
Rhondda Cynon Taff
Southampton
Stockport
Uxbridge
West Cumbria

I mentioned our letter from Carter-Ruck, which I was able to print off when I got home on Sunday. The McCanns are very sensitive about our leaflet.

They have asked us to remove all references to it on our website and we have already complied and are in the process of making further edits to our website to remove contentious sentences which the McCanns say are libellous. For your information, the following reference in relation to the material on our website is likely to appear on our site within the next 24 hours:

The McCanns claim that Goncalo Amaral severely libelled them in his book, A Verdade da Mentira ('The Truth About A Lie'). In a letter to us dated 15 July 2010, the McCanns' lawyers, Carter-Ruck, made the following comments:

"Mr Amaral is well known for having espoused the view that Madeleine McCann died in our clients' holiday apartment, and that our clients covered up her death to evade any liability. This is, of course, a central thesis of his book: 'The Truth About A Lie'. This theory is, however, completely untrue [underlining by Carter Ruck] and simply does not withstand proper scrutiny'.

We must emphasise that the libel action against Mr Amaral has yet to be decided by the Portuguese courts. It was over a year ago that the McCanns filed their legal action against Mr Amaral. So far as we are aware, the Portuguese courts have not yet set a date for the final hearing of the McCanns' libel claim.

The McCanns are able to employ the services of one of the most expensive libel lawyers in the world. No-one knows how they are able to afford this since only one of them is now working. They say that monies donated from the public are not being used to pay Carter-Ruck. If they are not paying for Carter-Ruck themselves, they must have another source of funding that they have not yet disclosed.

By contrast, Mr Amaral has to fund his own defence, which is very expensive. Mr Amaral, as a defendant, has his rights. The Portuguese courts have not yet said whether his book is libellous or not. We would therefore recommend British people to support the PJGA project, which is designed to help him raise funds to defend himself.

Goncalo Amaral Awareness Day

We declared Saturday 17 July 'Goncalo Amaral Awareness Day'. We  produced a new leaflet in support of Mr Amaral and we asked for your help in distributing as many of these as you could, on that day, or during the week before. Because of representations by Carter-Ruck, we have decided to remove that downloadable leaflet from our website and remove its content from other pages on our website.

In the light of representations from Carter-Ruck, we have removed the contents of our leaflet from our website, and removed the downloadable pdf. version. In addition we are no longer sending out copies of the leaflet. These decisions are all made pending the receipt of legal advice about whether our leaflet about Mr Amaral can fairly be held to be libellous, as the McCanns claim it is.

Finally, you told us that Debbie Butler had been in touch with you and told you she was back in England, but flying back out to complete the last 100 miles of her walk.

The programme was sold to us as an 'inside-out' look at the work of The Madeleine Foundation. We are concerned at the continuing mention of Ms Butler in connection with your preparations for the programme and can only re-emphasise that she disowned us in October last year, we expelled her in November, she has caused us immense problems since, we wholly disassociate ourselves from her venomous recent attack on the McCanns, and we cannot see that these together with her patently obvious hoax claim that she is walking 1,000 miles from Barcelona to Praia da Luz can possibly be relevant to a programme whose main avowed purpose is to look at the current work of The Madeleine Foundation.

Tony Bennett
That drew the following response from Simon Hare the following day (20 July):

Hi Tony.

Thanks for all of this.

Yes, I will point out that there were supporters and detractors. But you do mention the problem that I am not able to broadcast the more contentious views for legal reasons. Yet I will give an indication of what I saw/heard in the script.

Do you expect any problems from Carter-Ruck considering the leaflet was distributed AFTER their communication to you? Was it a letter or an Email? Are you able to send me a full copy/transcript so I'm aware of exactly what they are saying. Safest thing all round when it comes to editing my piece.

I phoned Debbie Butler on Sunday night to see how she was progressing with her walk. I take your comments on board about her relevance to our film. Rest assured, it would be made clear she is no longer anything to do with the Madeleine Foundation and that she was expelled from the group. She did claim to me that SHE set up the foundation - you may wish to clarify that with me.

But at the moment I think it's unlikely she will take part in our film as she expressed the belief that I probably "work for the McCanns."

Simon

During this period, Simon Hare sought clarification on a number of issues. During this process, the following were put clearly on the record:
  1. that we had direct communication with Mr Goncalo Amaral, as we proved from an e-mail received direct from him in June
  2. that we paid by Banker's draft a payment of 600 euros (about £515) to Goncalo Amaral, made in June (contrary to statements made on the PJGA website)
  3. that in October we informed Carter-Ruck that we would continue to distribute our leaflet on Goncalo Amaral.
On 8 September there was discussion on the internet about the possibility that BBC TV East Midlands might be running a programme on The Madeleine Foundation. In an exchange of e-mails that day, Simon Hare wrote:

Hi Tony.

I had an Email from someone asking if I was 'The Hare' who posted on forums relating to Madeleine McCann. I assured them that I had never posted on such a forum. They said that I had been named by you (when and where I'm not sure) as having expressed an interest in making a short film for Inside Out. I don't have a problem with that Tony.

I have made no secret of my interest in producing an item about the Madeleine Foundation. Indeed, the McCann family and Clarence Mitchell are aware that's what I'm currently doing.

But the existence of the item won't be confirmed to a wider public audience until the days leading up to the broadcast when the programme is trailed on BBC regional TV and local radio.

Simon

On 10 September the following exchange took place between Tony Bennett and Simon Hare:
Hallo Simon,

Debbie Butler is putting the word about that you are to meet her next week. We have discovered that she lies repeatedly about many things.

Is it true please that you will be meeting with Debbie Butler?

If it is true, we would have major concerns about what the focus of your 'Inside Out' programme really is.

I have dealt with Ms Butler both verbally and in writing with you. Her conduct in some respects has been even worse in the past few weeks than previously. She has for example made comments about the McCanns that we would wholly disassociate ourselves from.

You will appreciate that the wider community of McCann-sceptics is much much bigger than the 40 or so members of The Madeleine Foundation. Ms Butler's conduct over the past 10 months, however, means she has no respect left whatsoever in the McCann-sceptic community and cannot in any way shape or form be said to represent those of us who remain McCann-sceptics.

Could you please be frank and let us know if the BBC intends to feature or even mention Debbie Butler within the proposed programme?

Many thanks,

Tony Bennett
Simon Hare replied:

Hi Tony.

As I've said before, I have to maintain editorial control over who I interview for my film. But if it allays your concerns, I'm happy to confirm I DON'T have an appointment to meet Debbie Butler next week, or any other time.

I did contact her some weeks ago, which you were already aware of. I was interested in her views as a founding member of the Foundation and also in relation to the controversial Rothley leaflet drop. Any inclusion would have made clear she no longer represents the views of the Foundation.

I'm happy to re-state that the aims of our film are to examine what the Madeleine Foundation is, who its members are and what it is trying to achieve.

I hope this helps.

Simon

On 21 September there was the following exchange about obtaining a DVD or CD of the finally transmitted programme:
Dear Simon

Should the filming at No. 10 go ahead as planned, I would like to put in a request now for footage and or stills of the Downing Street event.

I would also like to put in a request for a copy on CD or whatever for the whole programme, if it's shown of course.

Tony
Reply:

Hi Tony.

A DVD copy of the final film is not a problem. This would undoubtedly include the key moments at 10 Downing Street. However, the BBC doesn't release untransmitted footage, unless forced to do so by court order. This is usually done at the police's bequest, and is designed to protect reporters and cameramen from violence in public disorder situations. I hope you understand this.

Simon

Filming by the BBC of the Madeleine Foundation's actions on Goncalo Amaral Day, 2 October, in London

On 2 October, seven members and supporters of The Madeleine Foundation held a day of action in London. Simon Hare travelled down for the day to London and filmed what we were doing.

The highlight of the 'Day of Action' was a delegation of four members and supporters who handed in to 10 Downing Street a letter calling for a full public enquiry into all aspects of the disappearance of Madeleine McCann. This was backed by a public petition calling for the same on the well-known 'Care Petitions' site. Permission was needed in advance to deliver the letter in person to 10 Downing Street, an event which Simon Hare filmed. Tony Bennett was interviewed by Simon on the steps of 10 Downing Street answering a challenging question about the nature of our protest that day. Similar letters were handed in, in person, to the Home Office and to the Ministry of Justice. A letter was also handed in at the Portuguese Embassy asking the Portuguese government to hold a public enquiry into the unfair treatment of Mr Amaral by the Portuguese courts.

Around this time Simon Hare also interviewed for the programme our former Chairman Grenville Green and our former Committee member Helene Davies-Green.

On 21 October, Tony Bennett wrote the following to Simon Hare:
Simon,

A few points if you and BBC East Midlands are still intending to show a film featuring The Madeleine Foundation.

You should have got our statement on Tuesday night welcoming the Lisbon Appeal Court's decision to unfreeze Amaral's book and allow it to go back on sale and, just as important, allow him to speak about the case publicly, as there was also a gagging order on him.

One matter that has astonished all of us in the past three days is that we cannot track one single BBC News report on the lifting of the ban on Amaral's book.

I would like to ask you specifically if BBC TV East Midlands mentioned this significant news at all. One of our supporters spoke to one of your staff, a Rosie Barton I think, and encountered what she said was a very defensive reaction as to why, up to that point, BBC TV East Midlands hadn't mentioned the news.

This is significant especially in the light of John O'Sullivan's highly critical - and we say mistaken - news report alleging that Amaral swore at the Lisbon libel hearing. Given your extensive coverage of the Lisbon libel trial and of Amaral's failure to overturn the September 2009 ban on his book (which I think was obtained ex parte), we think the BBC as a whole and especially BBC TV East Midlands should have given equal prominence to Amaral's victory in the higher court.

I want to be frank. To a great many observers, this looks like a clear-cut case of partial and unfair reporting.

A lower court rules against Amaral, and there's widespread coverage, much emphasis on the book being libellous, it being a great victory for the McCanns, etc etc.

Then a higher court rules in his favour, quotes the European Convention on Human Rights in support of his right to publish the book, allows his book to be sold, allows him to discuss the case once more, and the BBC responds with complete silence.

The internet (plus the Portuguese press) has given us the result, the significance, the ruling, translations of the ruling etc. etc.

If the main media cannot give us fair and accurate news, they cannot be surprised if the drift to use of the internet and away from traditional media continues. We all noted Andrew Marr's outburst on this very subject last week.

On the subject of your proposed programme, I can confirm that there have been no further letters from Carter-Ruck apart from one, responding to one of mine, which simply confirmed that they were still acting for the McCanns. This was as a result of my raising this issue after Carter-Ruck did not answer a number of my letters.

They have made no response whatsoever therefore to our decision, notified to them, to resume distributing our leaflet on Goncalo Amaral. I think I copied you in to my letter on the subject.

One other point. It now looks like Lloyds TSB will unfreeze our original bank account and transfer the money to our new account. Ms Butler kept on warning Lloyds TSB not to unfreeze our account 'because Tony Bennett is still being investigated for fraud'. Now that the bank have seen an unequivocal decision from the police that I am not a suspect, they have changed their tune.

I thought at this stage, in view of the past extreme negative and inaccurate publicity we have endured in the past, I would copy to you the two sections of the OFCOM code that are likely to be factors in any film you make: Sections 5 and 7 (attached).

I've outlined in red the considerations that we trust you will have fully in mind as you finish preparation of any film.

As an example, since a considerable majority of those who stopped to talk to us in Bristol were in support of our position, we would obviously expect that to be fully reflected in the programme.

Sincerely

Tony Bennett
Simon Hare replied the following day:

Hi Tony.

I haven't yet edited the piece, but plan to do so soon and expect it to be transmitted during our current series, which began a nine-week run on Monday. When I have a transmission date confirmed I will let you and the other contributors know.

Re the other points you raise:

* I intend to include the development of the book ban being over-turned in my film. I can't speak for any other BBC programme.

* I'm fully aware of the OFCOM code and the BBC's own producer guidelines.

Thank you for your other points of information re Carter-Ruck and the Foundation's bank account.

I suspect in the next couple of weeks there may be some things I may need to clarify/get a response to, during the compilation of the film.

Simon

Inside Out - The Madeleine Foundation, 15 November 2010
Inside Out - The Madeleine Foundation BBC East Midlands

 
Inside Out - The Madeleine Foundation

22/11/2010

Next on:
Monday, 19:30 on BBC One (East Midlands only)

What happened to Madeleine McCann remains a mystery. Her parents were cleared of playing any role in her disappearance, but a controversial group continues to campaign in support of a discredited detective who claims Kate and Gerry McCann covered up the truth. Inside Out investigates the members and motives of the Madeleine Foundation. Also tonight, they call it the fourth utility but thousands of people in the East Midlands struggle with slow broadband speeds. Spencer Kelly from Click investigates what can be done and meets the villagers digging their own superfast broadband network.

TO BE BROADCAST: Mon 22 Nov 2010, 19:30 - BBC One (East Midlands only)

-----------------------

Inside Out East Midlands - Preview - 22 November BBC East Midlands

Preview available today: 16 November 2010

Transcript

By Nigel Moore

Marie Ashby: They've taken her name but they're nothing to do with the family. Who are The Madeleine Foundation?

Tony Bennett: There are always going to be those who regard me as evil and perverted for what I'm doing.

Marie Ashby: That's Inside Out for the East Midlands, Monday at 7:30, on BBC One.

Madeleine Foundation response to the Inside Out programme, 28 November 2010
Madeleine Foundation response to the Inside Out programme 

http://mccannexposure.wordpress.com/2010/11/28/6th-madeleine-foundation-conference-shropshire-summary-report/

28 November 2010

On the Sunday [28 November] Grenville Green and Helene Davies-Green attended [the 6th Madeleine Foundation Conference] for a full discussion and analysis of the 'Inside Out' programme.

The following criticisms of Simon Hare, and the programme he had put together, were made:

* In the opening sequence, an impression was given to the viewer that by asking Simon Hare to meet with a member at the Nottingham Gateway Hotel, we somehow misled Simon Hare into thinking we had booked our conference there. This appeared to be a very deliberate misrepresentation. After he had asked for permission to attend the conference, we had clearly told him that we were meeting 'at a community centre in Nottingham'. We had told him to meet at the Gateway Hotel and told him we would take him to 'a nearby venue'. We had been absolutely straight about that, explaining that we did not disclose the venues in advance to anyone who had not registered, explaining that McCann-supporters had in the past openly threatened to disrupt proceedings. The accompanying background music to the clips of Nuthall Parish Hall was also designed to create a misleading impression of mystery.

* Simon Hare claimed that after leaving the Madeleine Foundation conference he was 'still no nearer to understanding what the Madeleine Foundation was all about'. This was disingenuous at best. By that time, he had been able to read our entire website and had listened by invitation to a robust discussion by 19 members and supporters of what might have happened to Madeleine McCann.

* Simon Hare had promised in writing that as part of his obligation to produce a fair programme, he would ensure that viewers were told that the ban on Goncalo Amaral's book being sold had been lifted on 19 October. That promise had been broken. Not only that, but in a trailer for the film he had described Goncalo Amaral as 'discredited'

* The express purpose of The Madeleine Foundation handing in a petition to 10 Downing Street, and letters at the Home Office and Ministry of Justice, was to press the government to hold a full public enquiry, with the power to summon witnesses, into all aspects of the disappearance of Madeleine McCann. Simon Hare did not even mention this, despite promising in writing that he would make a 'full and fair' programme about our work.

* The arguments that we gave during interviews as to why we considered that the McCanns had questions to answer, e.g. the cadaver dog's alerts, the McCanns' reactions to the cadaver dog's alerts, and the long list of discrepancies and changes of story, were all left on the cutting room floor and never made the film. Instead, Simon Hare dismissed the all the circumstantial and other evidence that Madeleine had died in the McCanns' apartment as 'discredited'. In short, the film did not allow us to make our case.

* The sequence of an MF member hiding behind a lamp-post was a breach of trust. The member concerned had specifically stated that she did not wish to be filmed and Simon Hare had agreed in writing to that, having been told that many MF members and supporters feared repercussions if they made public their questioning of the McCanns' abduction claim.

* The playing of the song: 'I don't care what the people may say' was cut into the film to convey a subtle, but inaccurate, message.

* The statement of Debbie Butler about what happened on the day of leafleting in Leicestershire on 12 August 2009 was false in several respects, and, again contrary to specific promises, was not put to the other three participants in the leafleting that day, namely Tony Bennett, Grenville Green and Helene Davies- Green. The following statements by Ms Butler were wholly untrue:

(i)] that she was 'instructed' to do anything that day

(ii)] that it was known in advance that the Restaurant and Tea Rooms in Mountsorrel was a place Dr Kate McCann had once visited with Madeleine

(iii) that any of us distributed leaflets there that day

(iv) that she was 'instructed' to leaflet the McCanns' road. The Crescent

(v) that she only did so because Helene's legs 'turned to jelly'.

* Moreover, the other three had given to Simon Hare their account of the day's events and none of those were used.

* During the making of the programme, Simon Hare had been given chapter and verse about Ms Butler's malicious claim of fraud against Tony Bennett and full particulars of her repeated false claims to have walked across Spain in the summer heat, making it as plain as could be that her word on anything could simply not be trusted. Moreover, Simon Hare had given his promise that because of these concerns he would not be interviewing Debbie Butler for the programme.

* The longest clip shown of the Bristol leafleting was of a group of students challenging Tony Bennett. Other sequences showing Tony chatting to passers-by who were in full support of our campaign and asking to take away more leaflets to hand to others were clearly left on the cutting-room floor.

* No reference whatsoever was made to the in-depth articles on our website, e.g. about the contradictions, about the private investigators, about the Fund, about Robert Murat, about the trials of Goncalo Amaral, about Marcos Aragao Correia, etc., yet these form the core of our work, and the BBC promised a 'full' look at the work of The Madeleine Foundation.

* During the filming of Grenville Green, Simon Hare asked to film him running a Union Jack up the flagpole in his garden. He asked Simon Hare: "What do you want to do that for?" and refused.

These were not the only points of concern raised about the film. At stake had been the reputation of the BBC for fairness, integrity and honesty. What action we take to raise these concerns formally with the BBC has not yet been resolved.

Further correspondence between Simon Hare and Tony Bennett re: Inside Out programme, 01/03 December 2010
Further correspondence between Simon Hare and Tony Bennett re: Inside Out programme Jill Havern Forum

Posted by Tony Bennett
03 December 2010, 11:46 am

From: Simon Hare
Subject: Madeleine Foundation
To: "ANTHONY BENNETT"
Date: Wednesday, 1 December, 2010, 13:58

Tony,

I'm aware you have posted online a number of issues relating to my film. If you have also formed these into a letter to my editor, as previously discussed, they will be addressed. Airing them online in advance is, at best, discourteous, at worst, potentially defamatory. You may already have sent a letter, but I have been working from home due to the weather.

I'm also aware that a number of posts by you and others associated with the so-called Foundation have accused me of lying, deception and unprofessionalism. I treat such allegations very seriously and intend to pass them onto our legal department. As I'm sure you are aware, libel laws apply as equally to forums and message boards as they do to the BBC.

Simon Hare

Reply: The Madeleine Foundation to Simon Hare, 3 December 2010

Dear Simon

Your comments are noted.

We do have a number of objections to the programme you made.

One of these was the vicious, nasty-sounding voice-over of the words I wrote on a forum after I attended the two sessions of the Department for Culture Media and Sport Select Committee on 10 March 2009. Your film didn't mention by the way that The Madeleine Foundation had made a 50-page written submission to the Committee, which is why we were invited to attend it.

Many people assumed this was my own voice. This was because, contrary to BBC and TV best practice, you did not say, before the words were read out, 'Mr Bennett's words are read out by an actor'.

The most popular Madeleine McCann Forum on the internet is currently 'Missing Madeleine'. To give a flavour of what many people thought on hearing the BBC actor's words, here is one poster's opinion from that forum, reproduced verbatim:

And Hare really rubbed it in the other night with a clip of Tony Bennett's own voice that I'd never heard before from after he sat behind Gerry McCann at the House of Commons. "It was to send out a quiet message. We are looking over his shoulder checking out what he and his team are saying, watching them." It sounded like something out of a horror film Many others also referred to this clip in your film and said how horrible my voice sounded. This was a deliberate and unfortunately very successful deception perpetrated by the BBC. I naturally had to correct it as soon as I learned that so many peope really thought that that was my actual voice.

I turn now to the subject of allowing Ms Butler to tell several untruths in her wholly false account of the events of 12 August 2009 when we leafleted in Leicestershire.

You will recall that when I learnt that you might be asking Ms Butler to appear in the programme, I wrote this to you:

"I cannot influence your choice of people to appear in your programme - but it was sold to us on the basis that this was an examination of The Madeleine Foundation. and I would seriously question what Ms Butler has to offer to that programme given all that has happened in the past 8 months since she was expelled".

You then replied: "But at the moment I think it's unlikely she will take part in our film as she expressed the belief that I probably 'work for the McCanns'."

Other assurances you gave suggested that you were not intending to use any film of Ms Butler.

Moreover, in discussions with you, you were made fully aware of Ms Butler's entirely false allegations against me, made after she was expelled from membership. Indeed you were at my house the very day Detective Inspector Roe telephoned me and said that Essex Police were no longer going to pursue their enquiries against me.

Not only did the BBC have this clear proof that Ms Butler was capable of outright lying, but you had further concrete proof when she claimed to be doing a 1,000-mile walk across Spain in the height of the summer. It was clear to all observers that this was another deliberate and outright lie with no truth in it, and you will recall that you and I discussed this. She maintained the deception about this 'walk' for weeks and continues to do so to this day.

You were therefore on the clearest possible notice that no reliance could be put on any statement issuing from Ms Butler.

Yet you allowed her to speak without contradiuction about the events of 12 August. Moreover, contrary to your agreement to put to me any controversial points in good time before the programme went out, you gave neither me nor Helene Davies-Green any opportunity to rebut the false statements of Ms Butler (apart from a passing reference to my denying one of Ms Butler's false statemenrts).

Three of us gave you in detail a true and consistent account of that day's events. Yet the BBC decided to allow viewers only to hear the account of Ms Butler, of whose record of having deliberately lied you were fully aware.

I have therefore - again in response to many queries from members, supporters and followers of ours - had to publicly correct her false statements which you transmitted to viewers.

The statement of Debbie Butler about what happened on the day of leafleting in Leicestershire on 12 August 2009 was false in several respects, namely:

(i)] that she was 'instructed' to do anything that day

(ii)] that it was known in advance that the Restaurant and Tea Rooms in Mountsorrel was a place Dr Kate McCann had once visited with Madeleine

(iii) that any of us distributed leaflets there that day

(iv) that she was 'instructed' to leaflet the McCanns' road. The Crescent

(v) that she only did so because Helene's legs 'turned to jelly'.

Further, you claimed in writing to us that "...the aims of our film are to examine what the Madeleine Foundation is, who its members are and what it is trying to achieve...I can assure you that I am motivated solely by an interest in examining your campaign in a full and fair manner.''

In our submission the film did not do those things. Your trailer referred to Goncalo Amaral as 'discredited'. Your film said that the theory that Madeleine McCann was found dead in her parents' holiday apartment was also 'discredited'. This left the uninformed viewers with a fait accompli, namely: the detective is discredited, his theory is discredited, therefore members of The Madeleine Foundation and anyone with a contrary view must be wrong and there is no basis for them to continuing to question the McCanns' account of events.

None of the reasons we gave you for believing that the McCanns still have many questions to answer were aired in the film.There was no mention of the alerts to a corpse given by a dog trained by one of the world's top dog handlers. There was no mention of the many contradictions in the evidence and changes of story of the McCanns and their friends, which provide evidence that their stories may not be true. Viewers were not told that we have 500 pages-plus of in-depth analysis of the case on our website.

The viewer was therefore effectively told by you that there was no basis for our view of the case - and that therefore there must be some other motive for our actions. In that context, you allowed Dr Kate McCann two separate opportunities within the film to suggest that we were motivated by a desire to attack a vulnerable family and would then move on to attack another family.

When on 19 October 2010 we heard that the Portuguese Appeal Court had overturned the book ban on Goncalo Amaral's book: 'The Truth About A Lie', we sought written assurances from you that, in the interests of fairness and balance, you would inform viewers that Mr Amaral's book was now back on sale as a result of this Appeal Court ruling.

You replied: "I intend to include the development of the book ban being over-turned in my film".

In the event you chose not to tell viewers that - and you described him as 'discredited' despite the fact that the second highest court in Portugal had just allowed his book to be read again, based on European Convention 'freedom of speech' principles. Whether that was your decision, or you were overruled by your editor and producer, we do not know.

I wish also to refer to the sequence of an MF member hiding behind a lamp-post. As you well know, that member had specifically stated to you beforeahnd that she did not wish to be filmed - and we had your written agreement to that effect. You could have dealt with that issue by simply telling viewers: "Another Madeleine Foundation member was distributing leaflets but did not wish to be filmed". Why did you then try to film her and include that sequence?

Further, you played the song "I don't care what the people may say' whilst filming me. What was that meant to convey to the viewer? The only opinion poll ever done in this country, in the Sunday Times, found that 80% of respondents did not believe the McCanns were telling the whole truth. After watching the McCanns appear on a Spanish TV programme, 70% of viewers thought they were lying; only 30% thought they were telling the truth.

As you are well aware, there are many who doubt the McCanns' version of events to a greater or lesser extent. The comments sent recently by members of the public on the subject of Madeleine's disappearence to articles in the online versions of many newspapers make this abundantly clear, quite apart from all the views expressed on the Madeleine McCann discussion forums. It is partly because we do care what the people may say that we write our in-depth articles and publish our leaflets, so that people may gain a better understanding of the case.

Finally, you refer directly to my having accused you of 'lying, deception and unprofessionalism'.

Pretending that it was my voice reading out my internet message and using a deliberately nasty-sounding voice in doing so was a deception on the viewer - as the sort of comments I have referred to above make clear. I do not resile from describing that as a 'deception'.

We were deceived into assuming that you were not going to allow Ms Butler a platform and in deciding to use her you did not offer us the right of reply. I do not say and have not said that that was 'unprofessional'. But others might.

Furthermore, you led us to believe that the un-banning of Amaral's book would be mentioned in the film.

Nowhere have I accused you of lying and I am not aware of a single Madeleine Foundation member who has done so. Clearly hundreds of people have been commenting on the programme on the various Madeleine forums and I am sorry if some have used that word. Their comments are however not our responsibility.

Yours sincerely

Tony Bennett

Further correspondence from Tony Bennett to Simon Hare re: Inside Out programme, 05 December 2010
Further correspondence from Tony Bennett to Simon Hare re: Inside Out programme

http://www.madeleinefoundation.org.uk/
05 December 2010

Tony Bennett: Simon Hare e-mailed me yesterday [04 December 2010] offering to respond to all points made in our analysis of the film. He has offered to do that, in due course, whether or not we decide to register a formal complaint through the BBC's complaints procedure.

I have today written to thank him for that but have added, for him to consider, one other misrepresentation in the film, namely:

From: ANTHONY BENNETT [mailto:ajsbennett@btinternet.com]
Sent: 05 December 2010 12:40
To: Simon Hare
Subject: RE: Madeleine Foundation

Dear Simon,

Thank you.

We have not yet decided whether or not to submit what would be a formal complaint to your Editor under the BBC Complaints Procedures.

I shall now be away from home and out of internet contact until Thursday evening (9 December). We shall probably decide over the weekend whether to formalise the matter set out in my e-mail of 3 December and I shall let you know if we do.

In the meantime my e-mail of 3 December sets out the main matters which we regarded as unfair within your film.

There is however one other particular issue I have with your film. In the film, I made a statement that I did not have a track record of pursuing individuals. You cut that by immediately following that with a statement that I had sought to bring a private prosecution 'in another high profile case', and then you mentioned my having done so in the case of Stuart Lubbock's death at Michael Barrymore's home. At around the same time in the film, you referred to my being happy to be filmed by the media, in such a way as to suggest that I courted the media.

My suggestion is that the references you selected were deliberately chosen to inform the viewer that I was nothing more than a publiicty-seeker latching on to high profile cases for the sake of it. This is indeed how many people perceived your film, and the way you cut the film and your comments make your intention clear.

In doing so, I suggest you deliberately avoided giving a more accurate impression of the following, all of which we discussed either in formal interview, person-to-person outside formal interview, or by e-mail:
  • 1. That my interest in the Lubbock case stemmed simply from the fact that I lived in the same town as Terry Lubbock, Stuart's father
  • 2. That my work in that case was in no way the personal pursuit of Michael Barrymore. After the failure of the attempted prosecution of Barrymore for various drugs offences, which finished in January 2006, the next 17 months of my involvement consisted inter alia of (a) compiling a dossier on the case which forced Essex Police to begin a new investigation, which in turn led to the re-arrest of Barrymore and two other men for murder (b) writing a book on the case which effectively proved that Stuart Lubbock was never in the swimming pool that night, as falsely claimed by Barrymore and other witnesses, (c) successfully securing a top-level IPCC investigation into Essex Police misconduct and obtaining a verdict by the IPCC against Essex Police, and (d) reversing a previous decision of the Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority to refuse Mr Lubbock compensation for his son's violent death. Solely as a result of my efforts, he was awarded £6,800 compensation. I never charged Mr Lubbock a penny for the advice and help I gave him.
Anyone who knew of that involvement, as you did, should not have presented that degree of involvement in the Lubbock case as mere 'publicity-seeking'.
  • 3. That I have successfully persuaded the IPCC in another case, that of the death of Lee Balkwell, to mount another top-level investigation into police misconduct. That was a case that had no public interest in it; I considered that there had been a grave injustice in this case and have spent over 3 years investigating it. Partly as a result of my efforts, the IPCC in June 2009 issued a report stating that the initial investigation into this case was 'seriously flawed'. There was then a top-level review of the case last year by West Midlands Police, which made 91 separate recommendations, and there is now a re-investigation of the death under way by Kent and Essex Police Joint Serious Crime Directorate under Detective Superintendent Lee Catling. 
Sincerely

Tony Bennett

------------------------

Forum version Jill Havern Froum

By Tony Bennett
Sun Dec 05, 2010 12:45 pm

UPDATE

Simon Hare e-mailed me yesterday offering to respond to all points made in our analysis of the film. He has offered to do that, in due course, whether or not we decide to register a formal complaint through the BBC's complaints procedure.

I have today written to thank him for that but have added, for him to consider, one other misrepresentation in the film, namely:

QUOTE

5 December, TB to Simon Hare, BBC TV East Midlands

My e-mail of 3 December sets out the main matters which we regarded as unfair within your film.

There is however one other particular issue I have with your film. In the film, I made a statement that I did not have a track record of pursuing individuals. You cut that by immediately following that with a statement that I had sought to bring a private prosecution 'in another high profile case', and then you mentioned my having done so in the case of Stuart Lubbock's death at Michael Barrymore's home. At around the same time in the film, you referred to my being happy to be filmed by the media, in such a way as to suggest that I courted the media.

My suggestion is that the references you selected were deliberately chosen to inform the viewer that I was nothing more than a publiicty-seeker latching on to high profile cases for the sake of it. This is indeed how many people perceived your film, and the way you cut the film and your comments make your intention clear.

In doing so, I suggest you deliberately avoided giving a more accurate impression of the following, all of which we discussed either in formal interview, person-to-person outside formal interview, or by e-mail:

* 1. That my interest in the Lubbock case stemmed simply from the fact that I lived in the same town as Terry Lubbock, Stuart's father

* 2. That my work in that case was in no way the personal pursuit of Michael Barrymore. After the failure of the attempted prosecution of Barrymore for various drugs offences, which finished in January 2006, the next 17 months of my involvement consisted inter alia of:

(a) compling a dossier on the case which forced Essex Police to begin a new invvestigation, which in turn led to the re-arrest of Barrymore and two other men for murder,

(b) writing a book on the case which effectively proved that Stuart Lubbock was never in the swimming pool that night, as falsely claimed by Barrymore and other witnesses,

(c) successfully securing a top-level IPCC investiagtion into Essex Police misconduct and obtaining a verdict by the IPCC against Essex Police, and

(d) reversing a previous decision of the Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority to refuse Mr Lubbock compensation for his son's violent death. Solely as a result of my efforts, he was awarded £6,800 compensation. I never charged Mr Lubbock a penny for the advice and help I gave him.

Anyone who knew of that involvement, as you did, should not have presented that degree of involvement in the Lubbock case as mere 'publicity-seeking'.

* 3. That I have successfully persuaded the IPCC in another case, that of the death of Lee Balkwell, to mount another top-level investigation into police misconduct. That was a case that had no public interest in it; I considered that there had been a grave injustice in this case and have spent over 3 years investigating it. Partly as a result of my efforts, the IPCC in June 2009 issued a report stating that the initial investigation into this case was 'seriously flawed'. There was then a top-level review of the case last year by West Midlands Police, which made 91 separate recommendations, and there is now a re-investigation of the death under way by Kent and Essex Police Joint Serious Crime Directorate under Detective Superintendent Lee Catling.

These are two cases with a common theme, namely that the perpetrators of a murder, in both cases. sought to construct an elaborate and believeable hoax to cover up what really happened.to Stuart Lubbock and Lee Balkwell.

Had the viewer had an inkling of my actions in those two cases, they might have understood that my real interest in this case was not publicity, but, on the contrary, a reasonably-held belief that in the case of the disappearance of Madeleine McCann, there might just be another explanation for her disappearance than the one put forward by the parents.

UNQUOTE

Simon Hare's response to Tony Bennett's letters of 03/05 Decemeber 2010 re: Inside Out programme, 13 December 2010
Simon Hare's response to Tony Bennett's letters of 03/05 December 2010 re: Inside Out programme

http://www.madeleinefoundation.org.uk/

13 December 2010

Simon Hare's e-mail response, of 13 December 2010, takes the form of a short message and a series of comments inserted into Tony Bennett's letters of 03 and 05 December 2010.

These are reproduced below with Simon Hare's comments indented.

From: Simon Hare
Subject: Madeleine Foundation
To: "ANTHONY BENNETT"
Date: Monday, 13 December, 2010

Tony,

Please see my replies below. I have tried to respond to individual matters where raised in your two recent Emails.

You will undoubtedly post all of this on the internet, despite previous complaints that I believe this to be discourteous.

I now consider our personal correspondence to be closed.

Simon Hare
Reporter/Producer
BBC Inside Out

-----------------------------

From: ANTHONY BENNETT [mailto:ajsbennett@btinternet.com]
Sent: 03 December 2010
To: Simon Hare
Subject: RE: Madeleine Foundation

Dear Simon,

Your comments are noted.

We do have a number of objections to the programme you made.

One of these was the vicious, nasty-sounding voice-over of the words I wrote on a forum after I attended the two sessions of the Department for Culture Media and Sport Select Committee on 10 March 2009. Your film didn't mention by the way that The Madeleine Foundation had made a 50-page written submission to the Committee, which is why we were invited to attend it.

Many people assumed this was my own voice. This was because, contrary to BBC and TV best practice, you did not say, before the words were read out, 'Mr Bennett's words are read out by an actor'.

My script made it clear that these comments had been written by you on an internet forum. I suspect most right thinking people will feel the meaning of the words conveys more than the way they were delivered. Writing on one forum since our programme was broadcast you have said: "fairly obviously, it was a BBC employee/actor reading out the words I used on a forum".
The most popular Madeleine McCann Forum on the internet is currently 'Missing Madeleine'. To give a flavour of what many people thought on hearing the BBC actor's words, here is one poster's opinion from that forum, reproduced verbatim:

And Hare really rubbed it in the other night with a clip of Tony Bennett's own voice that I'd never heard before from after he sat behind Gerry McCann at the House of Commons. "It was to send out a quiet message. We are looking over his shoulder checking out what he and his team are saying, watching them". It sounded like something out of a horror film.

Many others also referred to this clip in your film and said how horrible my voice sounded. This was a deliberate and unfortunately very successful deception perpetrated by the BBC. I naturally had to correct it as soon as I learned that so many people really thought that that was my actual voice.

I turn now to the subject of allowing Ms Butler to tell several untruths in her wholly false account of the events of 12 August 2009 when we leafleted in Leicestershire.

You will recall that when I learnt that you might be asking Ms Butler to appear in the programme, I wrote this to you:

"I cannot influence your choice of people to appear in your programme - but it was sold to us on the basis that this was an examination of The Madeleine Foundation. and I would seriously question what Ms Butler has to offer to that programme given all that has happened in the past 8 months since she was expelled".

You then replied: "But at the moment I think it's unlikely she will take part in our film as she expressed the belief that I probably 'work for the McCanns'."

Other assurances you gave suggested that you were not intending to use any film of Ms Butler.
As you realise, you had no control over who I interviewed for the programme. I made no secret of the fact I wished to speak to Debbie Butler as a founding member of the foundation and as one of the four people involved in the Rothley leaflet drop. I noted your objections at the time, yet if, when and where I interviewed Debbie Butler is a matter for me and her.
Moreover, in discussions with you, you were made fully aware of Ms Butler's entirely false allegations against me, made after she was expelled from membership. Indeed you were at my house the very day Detective Inspector Roe telephoned me and said that Essex Police were no longer going to pursue their enquiries against me.
For the sake of clarity, I was not at your house the day he called. You played me an ansaphone message which you said had been left the evening before and which said her complaint against you, and your complaint against her, were not being pursued further by the CPS. This was summarised in the script by saying that you had fallen out with each other. We didn't have time within the piece to explore this dispute.
Not only did the BBC have this clear proof that Ms Butler was capable of outright lying, but you had further concrete proof when she claimed to be doing a 1,000-mile walk across Spain in the height of the summer. It was clear to all observers that this was another deliberate and outright lie with no truth in it, and you will recall that you and I discussed this. She maintained the deception about this 'walk' for weeks and continues to do so to this day.
I have no such proof and the sponsored walk is not connected directly to the activities of the Madeleine Foundation.
You were therefore on the clearest possible notice that no reliance could be put on any statement issuing from Ms Butler.

Yet you allowed her to speak without contradiction about the events of 12 August. Moreover, contrary to your agreement to put to me any controversial points in good time before the programme went out, you gave neither me nor Helene Davies-Green any opportunity to rebut the false statements of Ms Butler (apart from a passing reference to my denying one of Ms Butler's false statements).

Three of us gave you in detail a true and consistent account of that day's events. Yet the BBC decided to allow viewers only to hear the account of Ms Butler, of whose record of having deliberately lied you were fully aware.

I have therefore - again in response to many queries from members, supporters and followers of ours - had to publicly correct her false statements which you transmitted to viewers.

The statement of Debbie Butler about what happened on the day of leafleting in Leicestershire on 12 August 2009 was false in several respects, namely:

(i)] that she was 'instructed' to do anything that day
This was put to you by Email and your response was included.
(ii)] that it was known in advance that the Restaurant and Tea Rooms in Mountsorrel was a place Dr Kate McCann had once visited with Madeleine
This is not what was said.
(iii) that any of us distributed leaflets there that day
You initially said to me: "Of course I did not personally distribute any leaflets in Rothley, just to place that firmly on the record." As you know, the McCanns live at the top end of Rothley, a stone's throw from properties in Mountsorrel, and you later confirmed to me that you had leafleted there alone. The stables is located in that village. Due to the haphazard and random nature of your leafleting technique, which I have seen at first-hand, are you sure you didn't leave a few leaflets or even a book or two for visitors to pick up? Details of your latest conference ended with the statement: "Sunday lunch was at Wetherspoons...a copy of 'The Madeleine McCann Case Files Volume 1' was left on Wetherspoons' bookshelves for visitors to browse".
(iv) that she was 'instructed' to leaflet the McCanns' road, The Crescent
As above, your denial that she was "instructed" to do anything was included.
(v) that she only did so because Helene's legs 'turned to jelly'.
Mrs Davies-Green has been in touch, but didn't bring this up. Were you in Rothley when it happened Mr Bennett?

When I asked Grenville Green about the Rothley leaflet drop, he suggested I speak to Debbie Butler about it.
Further, you claimed in writing to us that "the aims of our film are to examine what the Madeleine Foundation is, who its members are and what it is trying to achieve...I can assure you that I am motivated solely by an interest in examining your campaign in a full and fair manner.''
Happy with that. The item was a full and fair examination of the foundation and there was no malice on my part.
In our submission the film did not do those things. Your trailer referred to Goncalo Amaral as 'discredited'. Your film said that the theory that Madeleine McCann was found dead in her parents' holiday apartment was also 'discredited'. This left the uninformed viewers with a fait accompli, namely: the detective is discredited, his theory is discredited, therefore members of The Madeleine Foundation and anyone with a contrary view must be wrong and there is no basis for them to continuing to question the McCanns' account of events.
Happy with the use of 'discredited'. As it stands at the moment, Mr Amaral is largely discredited due to being removed from the Madeleine case and his conviction in relation to another matter. I believe Mr Amaral himself has publicly said that he and his work are effectively discredited at the moment. Our tone when describing him was very measured and appropriate. Again, he hasn't been in touch to object.
None of the reasons we gave you for believing that the McCanns still have many questions to answer were aired in the film. There was no mention of the alerts to a corpse given by a dog trained by one of the world's top dog handlers. There was no mention of the many contradictions in the evidence and changes of story of the McCanns and their friends, which provide evidence that their stories may not be true. Viewers were not told that we have 500 pages-plus of in-depth analysis of the case on our website.
I did say right from the very beginning that my film wouldn't be a promotional video for you and your organisation's activities. There was never going to be any discussion of your theories about the evidence in this case, due to legal issues. You yourself said in interview: "I have to be careful what I say."
The viewer was therefore effectively told by you that there was no basis for our view of the case - and that therefore there must be some other motive for our actions. In that context, you allowed Dr Kate McCann two separate opportunities within the film to suggest that we were motivated by a desire to attack a vulnerable family and would then move on to attack another family.
The presenter's link said: "members insist they are only trying to discover what happened to Madeleine McCann". During the film, in direct response to Kate McCann's above comment you were given the opportunity to respond and said: "My focus is on the truth, other members and supporters of the Madeleine Foundation is exactly the same".
When on 19 October 2010 we heard that the Portuguese Appeal Court had overturned the book ban on Goncalo Amaral's book: 'The Truth About A Lie', we sought written assurances from you that, in the interests of fairness and balance, you would inform viewers that Mr Amaral's book was now back on sale as a result of this Appeal Court ruling.

You replied: "I intend to include the development of the book ban being over-turned in my film".
Yes, at that point I did intend to include it. But the future status of this book is far from clear. It was therefore described as 'controversial' - and never 'banned'. I believe this to be fair and accurate. After you incorrectly posted on the internet that the BBC had failed to report this development, I alerted you to the fact that it had been covered by East Midlands Today.
In the event you chose not to tell viewers that - and you described him as 'discredited' despite the fact that the second highest court in Portugal had just allowed his book to be read again, based on European Convention 'freedom of speech' principles. Whether that was your decision, or you were overruled by your editor and producer, we do not know.

I wish also to refer to the sequence of an MF member hiding behind a lamp-post. As you well know, that member had specifically stated to you beforehand that she did not wish to be filmed - and we had your written agreement to that effect. You could have dealt with that issue by simply telling viewers: 'Another Madeleine Foundation member was distributing leaflets but did not wish to be filmed'. Why did you then try to film her and include that sequence?
The undertaking not to identify the individual was maintained. Please do not suggest possible script lines. This is a matter of editorial control. I believe the fact that many members of your group do not wish to be publicly identified, is an interesting and important aspect of how it is treated and widely regarded. The incident with the individual behind the post happened spontaneously and was done in a playful manner - indeed, you can hear that person giggling. Like the other people you mention above, they have not raised any objection.
Further, you played the song "I don't care what the people may say' whilst filming me. What was that meant to convey to the viewer? The only opinion poll ever done in this country, in the Sunday Times, found that 80% of respondents did not believe the McCanns were telling the whole truth. After watching the McCanns appear on a Spanish TV programme, 70% of viewers thought they were lying; only 30% thought they were telling the truth.
The lyrics of this song could be interpreted two ways. Members of the Foundation don't care that some people may believe them to be 'evil and perverted' (your description) - or the McCanns don't care that "there is a certain group out there, whose job appears to be victimising a vulnerable family."
As you are well aware, there are many who doubt the McCanns' version of events to a greater or lesser extent. The comments sent recently by members of the public on the subject of Madeleine's disappearance to articles in the online versions of many newspapers make this abundantly clear, quite apart from all the views expressed on the Madeleine McCann discussion forums. It is partly because we do care what the people may say that we write our in-depth articles and publish our leaflets, so that people may gain a better understanding of the case.

Finally, you refer directly to my having accused you of  'lying, deception and unprofessionalism'.
You accused me on Jill Havern's forum of deception. Another foundation associate accused me of lying and unprofessionalism. I strongly deny that I have ever lied or set out to deliberately deceive you or other members of the foundation, or conducted myself in anything other than a professional manner, during the whole process of making my film. I have asked the BBC legal department to see if it can ask for these comments to be removed as I consider them to be libellous. I am NOT threatening action beyond that.
Pretending that it was my voice reading out my internet message and using a deliberately nasty-sounding voice in doing so was a deception on the viewer - as the sort of comments I have referred to above make clear. I do not resile from describing that as a 'deception'.

We were deceived into assuming that you were not going to allow Ms Butler a platform and in deciding to use her you did not offer us the right of reply. I do not say and have not said that that was 'unprofessional'. But others might. You led us to believe that the un-banning of Amaral's book would be mentioned in the film.

Nowhere have I accused you of lying and I am not aware of a single Madeleine Foundation member who has done so. Clearly hundreds of people have been commenting on the programme on the various Madeleine forums and I am sorry if some have used that word. Their comments are however not our responsibility.

Yours sincerely

Tony Bennett

--------------------

From: ANTHONY BENNETT [mailto:ajsbennett@btinternet.com]
Sent: 05 December 2010 12:40
To: Simon Hare
Subject: RE: Madeleine Foundation

Dear Simon,

Thank you.

We have not yet decided whether or not to submit what would be a formal complaint to your Editor under the BBC Complaints Procedures.

I shall now be away from home and out of internet contact until Thursday evening (9 December). We shall probably decide over the weekend whether to formalise the matter set out in my e-mail of 3 December and I shall let you know if we do.

In the meantime my e-mail of 3 December sets out the main matters which we regarded as unfair within your film.

There is however one other particular issue I have with your film. In the film, I made a statement that I did not have a track record of pursuing individuals. You cut that by immediately following that with a statement that I had sought to bring a private prosecution 'in another high profile case', and then you mentioned my having done so in the case of Stuart Lubbock's death at Michael Barrymore's home. At around the same time in the film, you referred to my being happy to be filmed by the media, in such a way as to suggest that I courted the media.

My suggestion is that the references you selected were deliberately chosen to inform the viewer that I was nothing more than a publiicty-seeker latching on to high profile cases for the sake of it. This is indeed how many people perceived your film, and the way you cut the film and your comments make your intention clear.

You told me you had no history of pursuing individuals, yet it's a fact that you have tried and failed to mount two private prosecutions against three individuals in the recent past. A brief description of some of your other campaigns, which do not involve people, was included. I believe this to be a fair and accurate portrayal of your campaigning background. It was left up to the viewer to decide what they made of your activities and any motives for it.
In doing so, I suggest you deliberately avoided giving a more accurate impression of the following, all of which we discussed either in formal interview, person-to-person outside formal interview, or by e-mail:

1. That my interest in the Lubbock case stemmed simply from the fact that I lived in the same town as Terry Lubbock, Stuart's father

2. That my work in that case was in no way the personal pursuit of Michael Barrymore. After the failure of the attempted prosecution of Barrymore for various drugs offences, which finished in January 2006, the next 17 months of my involvement consisted inter alia of (a) compiling a dossier on the case which forced Essex Police to begin a new investigation, which in turn led to the re-arrest of Barrymore and two other men for murder (b) writing a book on the case which effectively proved that Stuart Lubbock was never in the swimming pool that night, as falsely claimed by Barrymore and other witnesses, (c) successfully securing a top-level IPCC investigation into Essex Police misconduct and obtaining a verdict by the IPCC against Essex Police, and (d) reversing a previous decision of the Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority to refuse Mr Lubbock compensation for his son's violent death. Solely as a result of my efforts, he was awarded £6,800 compensation. I never charged Mr Lubbock a penny for the advice and help I gave him.

Anyone who knew of that involvement, as you did, should not have presented that degree of involvement in the Lubbock case as mere 'publicity-seeking'.

3. That I have successfully persuaded the IPCC in another case, that of the death of Lee Balkwell, to mount another top-level investigation into police misconduct. That was a case that had no public interest in it; I considered that there had been a grave injustice in this case and have spent over 3 years investigating it. Partly as a result of my efforts, the IPCC in June 2009 issued a report stating that the initial investigation into this case was 'seriously flawed'. There was then a top-level review of the case last year by West Midlands Police, which made 91 separate recommendations, and there is now a re-investigation of the death under way by Kent and Essex Police Joint Serious Crime Directorate under Detective Superintendent Lee Catling.
Your legal background was mentioned, but I don't consider the detail above to be editorially relevant to our film about the Madeleine Foundation. Many other aspects of your past campaigns were also left out due to the same considerations.
Sincerely

Tony Bennett

With thanks to Nigel at McCann Files

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