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A Freedom of Expression foray: Attachment 02
By Albert Moisiu Dec 2009

HOMEPAGE  Madeleine Beth McCann A Mystery Story ASSORTED LINKS
ALBYM GRAPHIC DESIGN Appendix 2 of A Freedom of Expression foray PDF FILE: A Freedom of Expression

Appendix 2

Organised & International Crime Directorate
5thFloor Fry Building, 2 Marsham Street, London SW1P 4DF
Switchboard +44 (0) 870 0001585 Fax +44 (0) 207-035-6985 Direct Line +44 (0) 207 035 1275

Mr Albert Moisiu

                                                  Our ref: MLI07/210/2104 – FOI 10041
                                  Date: 28th January 2009

Dear Mr Moisiu,


I am writing further to my correspondence on the 16th December 2008. We are now in a position to offer a full reply to your request. I would like to apologise for the length of time it has taken to respond to your request. This delay has been due to giving full and due consideration to the public interest test together with the necessity to consult with other agencies.

It is noted that your request was to essentially seek information for any and all records or extracts thereof reporting or evidencing that at any time on or after 4th May 2007 any form of limitation or restriction or injunction or moratorium over the free and fair and unfettered disclosure of any aspect whatsoever of, or any detail whatsoever of, the inquiry into the disappearance of Madeleine Beth McCann. The request was also seeking information pertaining to any persons directly associated with that disappearance and/or directly associated with the Inquiry, was requested, instructed and/or obtained by any person(s) whether employed at any level within or providing any service within the Home Office or any of its ancillary operations, including, but not limited to, the Central Office of Information and the identities of all persons the dates and the means of communication through which such limitation or restriction was obtained.

Your request for information has been considered under the Freedom of Information Act 2000 (the Act) and we are now able to provide you with a substantive response to your request.

Section 1 of the Act places two duties on public authorities when handling requests. The first of these duties, provided at s1(1)(a) is to confirm or deny whether the information requested is actually held by that authority. The second duty is for that information to be disclosed where it has been confirmed that it exists. This is provided under s1(1)(b).

The Home Office can neither confirm nor deny that we hold information relevant to your request as our duty under s1(1)(a) does not apply by virtue of the following provisions of the Act:

• Section 27(4) – prejudice to International Relations;
• Section 31(3) – prejudice to Law Enforcement activities; and
• Section 38(2) – endangering Health & Safety.

This letter therefore also serves as a refusal notice under s17(1) of the Act.

Furthermore, the Home Office will not comment on any of the information contained in Goncal Amaral’s book, ‘A Verdade da Mentira’ as it would potentially undermine ongoing investigations.

There are a number of sensitivities relevant to your request, given that Madeleine McCann is still missing and the investigation is still ongoing. Confirming or denying whether any information is held could undermine the investigation, prejudice international relations and could endanger the health and safety of members of the

We have considered public interest considerations in making our decision and we have attached these to this letter. We believe that, at this time, the public interest strongly favours neither confirming nor denying that the information you have requested is or is not held by the Home Office.

This response should not be taken as conclusive evidence that the information you have requested either does or does not exist.

If you are dissatisfied with this response you may request an independent internal review of our handling of your request by submitting your complaint within two months to the below address quoting reference CR10041

Information Rights Team
Information and Record Management Service
Home Office
4th Floor, Seacole Building
2 Marsham Street

Or email:

During the independent review the department’s handling of your information request will be reassessed by an official that was not involved in providing you with this response. Should you remain dissatisfied after this internal review, you will have a right of complaint to the Information Commissioner as established by section
50 of the Freedom of Information Act.

I realise that you may be disappointed with this response. However we have considered your request with great care, and the Home Office always seeks to provide as much information as it is able to.

Thank you for your interest in the Home Office.

Yours sincerely

Team Leader
UK Central Authority


Public Interest Considerations

s.17 – Refusal of request
(1) A public authority which, in relation to any request for information, is to any extent relying on a claim
that any provision in part II relating to the duty to confirm or deny is relevant to the request or on a
claim that information is exempt information must, within the time for complying with section1(1), give
the applicant a notice which -
(a) states the fact,
(b) specifies the exemption in question, and
(c) states (if that would not otherwise be apparent) why the exemption applies.

s.27 – International Relations
(1) Information is exempt information if its disclosure under this Act would, or would be likely to, prejudice,
(a) relations between the United Kingdom and any other state,
(b) relations between the United Kingdom and any international organisation or international court
(4) The duty to confirm or deny does not arise if, or to the extent that, compliance with section 1(1)(a) –
(a) would, or would be likely to, prejudice any of the matters mentioned in subsection (1)

s.31 – Law Enforcement
(1) Information which is not exempt information by virtue of section 30 is exempt information if its
disclosure under this Act would, or would be likely to, prejudice-
(a) the prevention or detection of crime,
(b) the apprehension or prosecution of offenders,
(c) the administration of justice,
(4) The duty to confirm or deny does not arise if, or to the extent that, compliance with section 1(1)(a)
would, or would be likely to, prejudice any of the matters mentioned in subsection (1)

s.38 – Health & Safety
(1) Information is exempt information if its disclosure under this Act would, or would be likely to-
(a) endanger the physical or mental health of any individual, or
(b) endanger the safety of any individual.
(4) The duty to confirm or deny does not arise if, or to the extent that, compliance with section 1(1)(a) would, or would be likely to, prejudice any of the matters mentioned in subsection (1)

Harm and prejudice
The investigation into the disappearance of Madeleine McCann is still ongoing. There are significant unknowns in relation to her disappearance. Leicestershire Constabulary are the lead force in the UK dealing with this investigation but the principle investigation agency is Policia Judiciara (PJ) in Portugal. We believe
that significant harm to the investigation could result from either confirming or denying that we hold the information you have asked for.

Should this investigation lead to a prosecution, saying whether or not this information is or is not held by the Home Office would risk undermining the human rights of any suspect to a fair trial and the rights of a victim, particularly if the prosecution would fail due to such an announcement.
If the Home Office was to either confirm or deny that it did or did not hold any information that was gathered in the course of this investigation, it might risk compromising the conduct of this investigation. This could ultimately prejudice the administration of justice. In any event, to confirm or deny that any such information that was or was not obtained in the course of a criminal investigation, either voluntarily or through compulsory powers, ought not to be generally disclosed, save as far as it is necessary for the purposes of establishing or
defending rights in litigation.

There is consequently a strong public interest in ensuring that evidence is not contaminated for any future trial. In addition there is a strong public interest to preserve relations with the Policia Judiciara (PJ) in Portugal whilst Madeleine remains missing.

Two of the Home Office’s objectives are to support the efficient and effective delivery of justice, and to lead visible, responsive and accountable policing. The manner in which the Home Office works to support the Police Service as a whole is one of our core business functions.

If the Home Office prejudiced such a high-profile and sensitive investigation by confirming or denying that we either do or do not hold any of the information that you have requested, we would be seen as working against the efforts of both UK and Portuguese policing authorities, undermining their determined efforts to locate Madeline McCann and her assailants. This would not be in the best interests of the public..

Any prejudicial effects to these ongoing investigations could jeopardise the health & safety, of Madeline McCann, in that it might significantly affect the chances of her being found. There is no actual public interest served in releasing information that may jeopardise the health & safety of any individual.

There is a strong public interest in the UK maintaining the arrangements it currently enjoys with other States in matters of judicial and mutual legal cooperation in criminal and other matters. Any act that would prejudice this investigation may discourage other States with complying with reasonable requests issued by the UK or from pursuing legitimate investigations in the UK for fear that the product of such requests or investigations may be disclosed to private citizens.


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