The purpose of
this site is for information and a record of Gerry McCann's Blog
Archives. As most people will appreciate GM deleted all past blogs
from the official website. Hopefully this Archive will be helpful to
anyone who is interested in Justice for Madeleine Beth McCann. Many
Note: This site does not belong to the McCanns. It belongs to Pamalam. If
you wish to contact the McCanns directly, please use
the contact/email details
Thousands of British police files detailing
the hunt for Madeleine McCann will not be released unless those behind her disappearance are brought to justice.
Senior Leicestershire Police officers have remained tight-lipped about their role co-ordinating the search for the toddler
since she vanished from a Portuguese holiday resort in May 2007.
But analysts at the force have drawn up a list
detailing the mass of information they have gathered and considered whether they would ever release any of it to the general
The paperwork includes everything from correspondence with Government ministers, minutes of police meetings,
details of leads and sightings to copies of letters from the McCann family.
Leicestershire Police said they will
not release any information while the inquiry is ongoing and will never reveal the tactics of their investigation. But internal
documents suggest some papers may eventually be published.
They stated: "Anything in relation to the investigation
into the disappearance of Madeleine McCann will not be released whilst it remains ongoing.
may be given to releasing certain material, ie, that which would not reveal police tactics, when the circumstances surrounding
Madeleine's disappearance are fully known and the person/people involved have been brought to justice and a suitable period
for any appeal has elapsed."
Madeleine, from Rothley, Leicestershire, disappeared on May 3 2007 from Praia
da Luz, nine days before her fourth birthday.
An investigation into her disappearance was carried out by the Portuguese
police, supported by Leicestershire Police.
The force is responsible for co-ordinating British inquiries under
the codename Operation Task.
A letter sent by the English couple's
lawyers said they will sue anyone who publishes on the Internet the totality or excerpts from the former PJ inspector's
Kate and Gerry McCann want to delete from the Internet all traces of Gonçalo Amaral's
book on the disappearance of their daughter Maddie. As ascertained by 24horas, the couple has instructed its lawyers
to subpoena all the bloggers who have published excerpts or the entire work of the former inspector to remove such content
from the Internet under the penalty of being prosecuted in the courts.
The notice was sent to the authors
of blogs that are more focused on the "Maddie case" by the British law firm Carter-Ruck,
a letter which gives an account of the court order prohibiting the sale of the book 'Maddie, The Truth of Lie'. In
the letter that 24horas had access to, the McCann lawyers attached a copy of the decision made by the Civil Court
"The purpose of this letter is to notify you that the material that you are publishing is grossly
defamatory to our clients and to alert you that you are on the verge of receiving a lawsuit" can be read, while they
demand for the immediate withdrawal of all the content related to Gonçalo Amaral's book.
No Warnings for Portuguese Bloggers
Contacted by 24horas, Isabel Duarte,
the lawyer for the McCanns in Portugal, has assured that no notice of this kind was sent to any Portuguese bloggers.
This is not the first time that the parents of British girl, who disappeared in Praia da Luz in May 2007, have tried to
silence the theories - that contradict the version of the abduction - on the Internet. In September, Kate and Gerry McCann
ordered their lawyers to advance with legal proceedings against the authors of sites and blogs that defend that Maddie is
Below is the letter from
the McCanns' lawyers, Carter Ruck, which was sent to the US host of one of the sites, without the author of that site
ever receiving any previous warning. The temporary injunction order imposed by the Lisbon Civil Court has jurisdiction
only in Portugal and only in relation to Dr. Gonçalo Amaral, to the book publishers Guerra e Paz and to the producer
of the documentary based on the book 'Maddie, The Truth of the Lie', Valentim de Carvalho.
Legal fees 15 times libel payout in McCann PR libel case, 15 January 2010
Legal fees 15 times libel payout in McCann PR libel case Press Gazette
By Dominic Ponsford, PA Mediapoint 15 January 2010 Lawyers for a PR
woman who sued The People have claimed more than 15 times her libel damages in costs.
PR strategist for the Find
Madeleine Fund Justine McGuinness, operating on a no-win, no-fee Conditional Fee Agreement, sued The People over a story which
appeared in October 2007, and settled with the statement in open court on October claiming £5,000 in damages. It has
now emerged that her lawyers LLP have presented Mirror Group Newspapers with a costs bill of £78,000.
costs have been ramped under controversial no win, no fee rules in libel cases which allow claimant lawyers to charge up to
a 100 per cent success fee to compensate them for the risk of failure.
Yesterday Lord Justice Jackson published
the final report in his Review of Costs in Civil Litigation in which he said these success fees should be scrapped because
they have become grossly disproportianate to the level of damages awarded.
Justice Secretary Jack Straw has promised
a wholesale review of UK libel law tackling the issue no win, no fee.
In the McGuinness case The People wrongly
alleged that she overcharged the fund set up to find missing Madeleine McCann, who disappeared from her family's holiday
apartment in a Portuguese resort in May 2007.
It is understood that as part of the settlement, Mirror Group Newspapers
(MGN), publisher of the People, paid damages of £5,000 to a charity of Ms McGuinness' choosing, and agreed to pay
her legal costs.
The newspaper's own costs amounted to £15,000 - but London-based international law firm
Withers LLP has presented MGN with a schedule of costs totalling GBP78,000.
Executives at MGN are understood to
believe that the costs Withers are seeking are excessive.
But the law firm today defended its position, saying
the costs were reasonable and properly incurred, given that the case took two years to settle.
It is understood
that the total costs include sums accrued by the solicitor at the client's previous firm before the solicitor and the
case moved to Withers.
A spokesman for the firm said: "In October 2007, the defendants published a very serious
libel about Ms McGuinness which went to the heart of her professional and personal reputation.
a fulsome apology was her primary concern and in the absence of an apology from the defendants, she had no option but to take
legal action to remedy that reputation. This was ultimately achieved; a statement in open court was read on 16 October 2009
and the apology published on 18 October 2009.
"Ms McGuinness was represented under a CFA and Withers made
special provision for the client to continue to be represented under a CFA, although CFAs are not usual at the firm, in order
to provide consistency for the client when the solicitor with conduct of her case, joined Withers.
the costs to be entirely reasonable and properly and proportionately incurred, in respect of a case of this length, highly
dependent on the evidence and of significant importance to the client.
"Withers has in any event, agreed to
the usual process of assessment during which the level of the costs will be independently considered."
CEOP: Home page banner, 23 January 2010
Gerry McCann to speak at CEOP conference this week, 23 January 2010
Gerry McCann to speak at CEOP conference this week CEOP
McCann will speak at a one day conference, organised by the Child Exploitation and Online Protection Centre (CEOP), on Tuesday
26 January 2010, in London.
The conference is entitled: 'Taken: Sexually-motivated child abductions'
and Gerry McCann will deliver the closing speech at 16:00, prior to a question and answer session for all speakers.
Full details can be viewed by clicking the image opposite.
An email response from CEOP
The following email was received in response to a query asking why Gerry McCann had been invited to speak at the conference:
RE: Taken conference Tuesday, 19 January, 2010 11:45:18From: CEOP Training Add To:
Classification: NOT PROTECTIVELY MARKED//
Dear Mr xxxx
Thank you for your interest in the work
of CEOP and your comments. We hope that the fact that you disagree with our choice of speaker at one of our conferences will
not affect your interest in our work once you have read this message.
The courses and conferences which we run
are mainly for the benefit of those working in law enforcement and public protection and, as a result, we invite a variety
of speakers who have relevant knowledge or experience of the conference topic. The fact that we invite a speaker does not
mean that we endorse their views. Our conferences allow people to exchange and challenge views. The current position regarding
the McCanns is that they are the parents of a missing child who is presumed to have been abducted: that being the case anything
that Gerry McCann has to say will be of interest to those who work in this area and will attend the conference.
hope this clarifies our position in relation to Gerry McCann's presence at the conference.
Facebook battles attack by child protection chief, 18 November 2009
Facebook battles attack by child protection chief The Register
Gamble unfriends social networks
By Chris Williams 18th November 2009 11:58 GMT
has defended itself against criticism from the Child Exploitation and Online Protection Centre (CEOP) that it has refused
to join a reporting scheme.
Jim Gamble, the chief executive of CEOP, today took to the airwaves and newspaper pages
to attack Facebook and MySpace for declining to publish his organisation's "CEOP Report" button.
button, a small icon that links to this website, offers information on bullying, computer security, illegal content and allows CEOP to gather reports of inappropriate behaviour
Gamble's public admonishment of Facebook and MySpace follows the announcement yesterday that Bebo will
publish the button. The site, which has a young audience, has agreed to insert it in every profile page.
do not want my criticism to be taken as a swipe at the online industry. The vast majority of players are doing a good job
and doing their best to make the environment safe," Gamble said.
"This is aimed specifically at social
networking sites. They are creating a public space that attracts young people, children and adults, so they can make money
through advertising. There is a responsibility, a duty of care, to the young and the vulnerable."
there was "no legitimate reason" behind Facebook and MySpace's refusal.
He was backed by Sir Hugh
Orde, president of the Association of Chief Police officers, who said: "I can see no reason why other sites would not
consider adopting the same approach and would encourage them to embed the CEOP Report button for the benefit of all users."
Orde and Gamble formerly worked together in the senior ranks of the Police Service of Northern Ireland, where the
former was Chief Constable and the latter in charge of intelligence operations.
A public confrontation beteen Gamble
and social networks has been brewing for some time. When The Register visited CEOP in September, Gamble's frustration at what he viewed as industry intransigence was palpable.
He said an earlier version
of the button that included the word "abuse" had been redesigned to allay industry concerns it might cause unwarranted
In response to today's attack, Facebook said it already has a robust reporting system and previous attempts
at a universal system had reduced the level of reporting. It said some users aren't sure what is inappropriate content,
and it could do a better job by liaising with police itself.
"We also work closely with police forces in the
UK and around the world to create a safe environment. Our teams are manned by trained staff in two continents giving 24-hour
support in 70 languages," a spokesman said.
Facebook did however seem to suggest Gamble might get his way
"We look forward to hearing about the experience of Bebo using the CEOP button and will take account
of their experience in any future evaluation of our reporting systems," it said.
The button has been available
to websites since 2006. CEOP said it receives 10,000 clicks per month.
I, too, heard Mr
Gamble on the Radio this morning (BBC Radio4). He sounded quite bullying himself - but that tends to be his calling card.
Implicit in his comments was a suggestion that if any site refuses to host a CEOP 'panic button' they are failing
in their duty of care to the young and there must, therefore, be something 'wrong' with them. It's no surprise
to hear such attitudes from an organisation like CEOP, which has grown so powerful on the back of the current paedohysteria
- and an almost wholly uncritical media.
Mr Gamble, who's fondness for dropping 'keywords' into his
interview responses ('predator', 'grooming', etc) is a past-master at hyping up the sensationalism - hardly
surprising at a time when so many competing 'partner agencies' (another favourite Gambleism) are looking for funds
from an ever-dwindling pot.
I was surprised to hear him tell the BBC interviewer that the CEOP panic button receives
10,000 hits a month. Really? 10,000? A month? Naturally, the BBC interviewer let that little gem slip past completely unremarked
upon. If it's true - and as ever with CEOP we have no mechanism for establishing that - then surely it represents a headline
story of unimaginable proportions?
Ironically, given the context, I have little doubt Facebook will eventually
be bullied into having to accept CEOP's unwanted presence on their site: the Paedogeddon will brook no argument, no dissent,
after all, and after Mr Gamble's tirade against them this morning on live radio (and no doubt by now across a more than
accommodating media) I suspect they will have no option but to cave in to his demands or risk more name-calling in the future.
In the end, it's worth remembering CEOP is a public/private company (and also part of the UK police service).
Yes, it's a company. Mr Gamble is it's CEO. It receives the bulk of it's funding from the UK government (i.e.
taxpayers) and from private sources (step forward Microsoft, BT, O2, Virgin, VISA, etc, etc) which all runs into £millions
every year. It makes a bit of cash on the side flogging off training seminars, publications and instructional packs to 'stakeholders'
(yes, there's another Gambleism). As a commercial concern, CEOP cannot insist companies like Facebook carry it's marque
- but Mr Gamble seems to think they should be forced to do so. Of course, he knows that by wielding the trusty 'won't
someone please think of children?' banner (along with his usual bluster and well-rehearsed hyperbole) wherever he goes
he can almost always get his own way.
Gotta love the Paedogeddon. It's GREAT for business!
Madeleine McCann And A Load Of Nonsense, 26 January 2010
It's 1,000 days since Madeleine McCann vanished and even now there are intelligent,
sane and rational people, in Portgual and in the UK, who still believe that her parents Gerry and Kate phoned Sky News before
they called the police.
Even the Portuguese police know they didn't.
who believes they did rather blows a hole in other things they think they know about the Madeleine case.
McCanns defend their action against detective, 21 January 2010
Gerry McCann defended his legal action against a detective who led the investigation into his daughter's disappearence,
saying his book had damaged the search for Madeleine. He spoke to reporters as he left a court in Lisbon on the second day
of a hearing at which former police chief Gonçalo Amaral is attempting to overturn a ban on his book, which questions
the McCanns' account of what happened to Madeleine.
Gerry flew home after the second day of the trial and Kate
was joined by Fiona Payne, a member of the so-called Tapas seven group of friends.
However there have been worrying
reports regarding her husband, David, who was also amongst the group. Dr. Katherine Zacharias Gaspar told Leicestershire Police
on May, 16, 2007, that she and her husband were friends of the McCanns and went on holiday with them and the Paynes in September
2005. During this holiday an incident stuck in her mind.
"I was sitting between Gerry and David and I think
both were talking about Madeleine (...). I remember David saying something to Gerry about "she", meaning Madeleine
'would do this'. While he mentioned the word 'this', David was doing the action of sucking one of his fingers,
pushing it in and out of his mouth, while with his other hand he was doing a circle around his nipple (...). I remember being
shocked by that."
Gerry also told reporters outside the court that there is 'absolutely no evidence'
that Maddie is dead, after the testimonies of three members of the Portuguese Police expressed their suspicions of her death
during the hearing.
A FORMER cop claims he has identified the
area where he says Madeleine McCann is buried.
South African Danie Krugel says it is just 500 yards
from the holiday apartment in Praia da Luz, Portugal, from where Maddie disappeared.
The area is a wasteland, full
of building rubble, rocks and black, plastic bags.
It is one of two "priority search" locations highlighted
by the former detective – one close to the complex and one near the beach.
Krugel – known as "The
Locator" for his success in tracing missing people in South Africa – was called in by Kate and Gerry McCann two
months after Maddie vanished.
He used DNA tracking – helped by a strand of Madeleine’s hair given to
him by Gerry – and GPS satellite to pinpoint the area.
He has also highlighted an area where he spotted
a muddy pink and white child’s blanket.
claims he didn't remove it because he didn't want to interfere with the police investigation.
He then drew
a map and gave a detailed report of his findings to local police.
But he says a full search for Madeleine, who
vanished shortly before her fourth birthday on May 3, 2007, never took place. Krugel told the Daily Star Sunday: "If
they want me to go with them I will.
"I'm convinced they will find her. I will do whatever I can to help.
That area needs to be properly searched.
"If it means training up officers from Scotland Yard in how to use
the technology, I will do that.
"There needs to be a proper team of experts."
Kate and Gerry,
both 41, of Rothley, Leics, are convinced Maddie was abducted and is still alive.
But Krugel said: "I believe
the truth will come out and I pray for the family that they get their answers. There is somebody out there that is guilty."
Daily Star Sunday, paper edition,
31 January 2010
Daily Star Sunday, 31 January 2010
Madeleine McCann Search Decision Support Document, 23 July 2007
Madeleine McCann Search Decision Support Document PJ Files
Page 2224/2225 of the 201/07.OGALGS Investigation Process
Harrison MBE National Search Adviser Homicide, Missing Persons, Mass Fatality Disasters
in National Policing Improvement Agency [NPIA] 23 July 2007
- Extract -
'A Mr Krugel, at the McCann's request, attended Praia Da Luz last week from South Africa alleging he could
assist in locating Madeleine McCann. I have spoken with the Police officers that accompanied him and viewed the documentation
Krugel has supplied to the PJ.
The limiting factor in coming to a view is that Krugel did not allow anyone to view
the handheld device he had with him or observe him using it. He was unable to provide any validating scientific data or documents
to support the claims he made or the device he alleged to have with him.
In short he would appear to claim he has
uniquely developed a handheld device that can find a missing person alive or dead in any given terrain over any elapsed time
In debriefing the officers who accompanied Krugel it is possible to hypothesise what he may have been doing
In consultation with a colleague Dr Wolfram Meier-Augenstein we feel he may have been attempting to
give the impression he had developed and was using a "Remote Laser based gas sensing device". However his claims
regarding the distance of detection, up to 20km, and the use of a hair sample are highly unlikely and would be a great innovation
in the scientific world. Further provenance of this technique could be sought from Prof. Miles Padgett who is a Professor
of optics in physics at the University of Glasgow.
One obvious challenge to the claims of the device capability
is that if Krugel claims that by taking 3 separate location readings he is able to triangulate to an area then one would assume
that, as an area was identified, further reading and triangulation inside that area could be conducted repeatedly until an
"X marked the spot".
Of most concern is the poor quality of his report which merely shows a google earth
image of an area to the east of Praia Da Luz and includes open scrub and beach and sea. As Krugel was not prepared to allow
the device to be viewed or provide any specification data of readings or equipment and the fact that no known device currently
exists commercially or academically then I can only conclude that the information he has provided is likely to be of low value.'
Birthday gift 'from Maddie' for twins, 01 February 2010
THE country's most senior criminal profiler suggested Madeleine McCann's
brother and sister should have been interviewed about her disappearance.
Twins Sean and Amelie
were aged just two years and three months when Madeleine was snatched from a holiday apartment on the Algarve in Portugal
in May 2007 shortly before her fourth birthday.
A month later, Lee Rainbow, senior behavioural investigation consultant
at the National Policing Improvement Agency, wrote a report for Portuguese detectives which may have altered the course of
Mr Rainbow urged them to "consider the possibility of exploring the potential of interviewing
Sean and Amelie McCann".
The children, now five, were sharing a bedroom with Madeleine when she was taken.
As reported last year in the Sunday Express, the McCanns believe the kidnapper may have entered the apartment the evening
before because Madeleine complained she had been woken by Sean crying.
The last time British police seriously interviewed
such a young child was in 1992. Rachel Nickell was murdered in front of her two-year-old son, Alex Hanscombe, on Wimbledon
Common, south-west London. Despite his age, Alex was able to give detectives valuable and credible information.
psychologists worked closely with police to draw information from Alex in a painstaking exercise which lasted months. Former
Portuguese detective Goncalo Amaral has presented Mr Rainbow's report to a civil court in Lisbon as he attempts to lift
a ban on selling his book about the case, The Truth Of The Lie.
In the summary of the 30-page report Mr Rainbow
wrote: "The potential involvement of the family in the disappearance of Madeleine McCann cannot be discarded, and it
can be considered that, when pondering the basis for research, this hypothesis deserves as much attention as the criminal
with sexual motivations that has been previously prioritised.
"It should be stressed that there is no evidence
to directly support an involvement of the family, yet given the absence of decisive evidence to prove the contrary, such a
scenario has to be explored." At court last week, Mr Amaral's lawyer, Antonio Cabrita, read out a section of 37-year-old
Mr Rainbow's report which said: "The family is a lead that should be followed."
On Thursday the judge
hearing the libel case is expected to rule on whether Mr Amaral's book and a DVD should go back on sale.
Kate and Gerry McCann, both 41, from Rothley, Leicestershire, won an injunction to have them banned.
It was on
the grounds that Mr Amaral's theory that Madeleine died in the apartment was untrue and had damaged their global search
for their daughter.
A spokesman for the couple said that any suggestion from Mr Rainbow would have been considered
by investigating officers at the time.
It is not known whether Sean and Amelie were formally interviewed by police.
The children are thought to have slept through the kidnap. The McCanns have always insisted they had no involvement in Madeleine's
Robert Murat criminal complaint against Jane Tanner, 17 February 2010
Today, a UK media journalist,
ITV'S Keir Simmons was able to confirm with Mr. Pagarete, Robert Murat's lawyer, that he has filed a legal complaint
against Jane Tanner.
According to Portuguese journalist Frederico Duarte de Carvalho's twitter, the case, which is still at the inquest phase and under the secrecy of justice, is taking place at the Criminal Court of
Lagos, in the Algarve, and apparently Mr. Amaral has already testified. Jane Tanner has not yet been constituted as an arguida,
nor has she appeared in court.
Robert Murat's criminal complaint against Jane Tanner for calumnious denunciation, has already heard some witnesses, and will continue to hear some more, one of which is Ricardo Paiva, the PJ inspector
who is currently being called as a 'liar' by the McCanns Portuguese lawyer, Isabel Duarte.
The case of Leandro da Silva versus Gonçalo Amaral, filed by Marcos Aragão Correia,
Leonor Cipriano's lawyer, is reaching its final days at court - the lawyer is reported to have moved to Madeira
and has allegedly missed most of the court sessions.
1- Whom, by any means, before the authority or publicly, with the knowledge of falsity of the imputation,
denounces or casts upon a determined person the suspicion of the practice of crime, with intent that against her it is placed
a legal proceeding, shall be punished with imprisonment up to 3 years or with a fine.
2 - If the conduct consists
in the false imputation of unlawful fact or disciplinary penalty, the agent is punished with imprisonment of up to 1 year
or a fine of up to 120 days.
3 - If the means used by the agent is traduced in presenting, altering or distorting
evidence, the agent is punished: a) In the case of nº1, with imprisonment up to 5 years; b) In the case of
nº 2, with imprisonment up to 3 years or a fine.
4 - If from the fact results the deprivation of liberty of
the offended, the agent is punished with imprisonment of 1 up to 8 years.
5 - To the request of the offended the
court orders the public knowledge of the conviction sentence, under Article 189º.
PCC criticised over McCann coverage, 24 February 2010
A group of MPs have made a raft of recommendations to curb the "chilling" effect of libel
actions on newspapers.
The Culture, Media and Sport Committee's wide-ranging report into press standards, privacy
and libel also made recommendations to beef up the powers of the Press Complaints Commission (PCC).
the PCC for failing to do more to act over "false and damaging" newspaper coverage relating to Madeleine McCann's
disappearance, an episode during which the report said self-regulation had not worked.
It said the press watchdog
should be re-named the Press Complaints and Standards Commission, with powers to fine members and suspend printing in the
cases of the worst rule-breakers.
The report described the McCann case as "an important test of the industry's
ability to regulate itself, and it failed in that test".
It said the newspaper industry's assertion that
the McCann case was a one-off event showed that it is "in denial about the scale and gravity of what went wrong, and
about the need to learn from those mistakes".
It continued: "In any other industry suffering such a collective
breakdown - as for example in the banking sector now - any regulator worth its salt would have instigated an inquiry."
Committee chairman John Whittingdale said there was also a "serious concern" over the "increasing evidence
that in recent years investigative journalism is being deterred by the threat and cost of having to defend libel actions...
"This report's recommendations are therefore designed to reduce the cost of libel actions and to correct
the balance which has tipped too far in favour of the plaintiff. At the same time, we want to see the self-regulatory system
under which the Press operates strengthened in order to increase its credibility and ensure that standards are maintained."
Stephen Abell, director of the PCC, said: "The PCC accepts that the report contains criticisms of some of its
structures and practices, which will need to be given due consideration."
Your guide to the CMS report on press standards, privacy and libel, 24 February
Your guide to the CMS report on press standards, privacy and libeljournalism.co.uk
Posted by Laura Oliver February 24th, 2010
going on for a year, but the Culture, Media and Sport Select Committee has finally published its report into press standards,
privacy and libel in the UK.
You can read the 169-page report in full below, but we've highlighted some of
the most interesting points in the report in this post. Background:
hearings and subsequent report cover a lot of ground: self-regulation of the press; libel law in the UK; privacy and the press
– in particular the News of the World and Max Mosley; standards of journalism – in particular in relation to the
reporting of suicides in Bridgend and the Madeleine McCann case; and allegations of phone hacking at News of the World. In the committee's own words:
This report is the product of the longest, most
complex and wide-ranging inquiry this committee has undertaken. Our aim has been to arrive at recommendations that, if implemented,
would help to restore the delicate balances associated with the freedom of the press. Individual proposals we make will have
their critics – that is inevitable – but we are convinced that, taken together, our recommendations represent
a constructive way forward for a free and healthy UK press in the years to come.
Criticism of the press and the PCC for the handling of the Madeleine McCann case: "The newspaper industry’s assertion
that the McCann case is a one-off event shows that it is in denial about the scale and gravity of what went wrong, and about
the need to learn from those mistakes. In any other industry suffering such a collective breakdown – as for example
in the banking sector now – any regulator worth its salt would have instigated an enquiry. The press, indeed, would
have been clamouring for it to do so. It is an indictment on the PCC's record, that it signally failed to do so."
UNCORRECTED TRANSCRIPT OF ORAL EVIDENCE To be published as HC 275-v HOUSE OF COMMONS MINUTES OF EVIDENCE TAKEN BEFORE CULTURE, MEDIA AND SPORT COMMITTEE
PRESS STANDARDS, PRIVACY AND LIBEL
- Extract - Q368 Paul Farrelly:
I just want to explore the position of the Express further but first of all, in retrospect, you are about to leave
the PCC after long and distinguished service. On reflection do you think that the PCC could or should have acted in the McCann
case better to restrain the press?
Sir Christopher Meyer: I do not see how we could and the people out there who
say that the McCann case is a failure of self-regulation, I believe this to be absolutely false and without substance, and
I will tell you why. As soon as we heard about the disappearance of Madeleine McCann - and I am sure you have got all this
in your papers but I will repeat it for the record - we got on to the British Embassy in Lisbon and said "Will you please
tell the McCanns and their representatives that we stand ready to help in any way we can, this is what we can do." We
maintained contact with their press representatives --- Q369 Paul Farrelly: You will be aware
that Mr McCann told us that that message was not received.
Sir Christopher Meyer: He told me it was not received
as well, because I then saw him on 13 July 2007 - he happened to come round to my house to see my wife who runs a charity
that specialises in missing and abducted children - and I took the opportunity to say to Gerry McCann, "Look, this is
what we can do, here is the brochure that explains in detail how you can complain and the different ways in which you can
make a complaint." At that time he told me he had never got the message from the embassy. Whether that means the message
was never conveyed to the McCann party, if you like, or whether he, Gerry, did not know that their press person at the time
had got the message, I do not know and I have never been able to establish. We continued to keep in touch. At the time his
press representative was a woman called Justine McGuiness and we kept in touch with her, then his press arrangements changed
and I saw him again on 29 February last year. By that time he had taken the decision to sue Express Newspapers and I said
to him, "If it is damages you are after, that is what you should do, but we remain ready to help", and we have been
able as you know to help on the separate issue of protecting his children and family, as I said. With the benefit of hindsight
what we would have needed to have acted earlier is for the McCanns to have come to us and said this or that or whatever is
wrong, but we cannot be more royalist than the king, we cannot take action unless in those particular circumstances the first
parties come to us and say something is going wrong. The most we can do in those circumstances is to say "We are here;
this is what we can do" and we can explain it several times over. But if the first parties themselves do not want to
take action with us then there is not a lot we can do because in the end what it boiled down to - and I take my cue here from
the court case - was, was what the British press was reporting accurate or inaccurate, was it right or was it wrong? Sitting
in London I had no way of judging whether what was coming out from the Portuguese authorities, going into the Portuguese press,
being regurgitated by the British press was right or wrong. Unless the first party comes to you and says we have grounds for
complaint there is no way in which we can intervene. Q370 Paul Farrelly: In your evidence you
said to us it would have been impertinence by the PCC to have got involved sooner and contacted the McCanns directly. We put
that to Gerry McCann and he told us he would not have felt that an impertinence, yet you contacted the embassy but you did
not contact them directly.
Sir Christopher Meyer: You start off by contacting the embassy because you do not know
how to get through to them. In the very beginning, in the first two days, yes, that was what we did. For example, if you had
a similar case in the UK, say a horrible crime where the victim's family find themselves the attention of a media scrum,
one of the first things we would do is get on to the family liaison officers at the local police force who already ought to
know the drill and say "The family does not want to talk to the press, they want to keep them away." The family
liaison officer will then act on our behalf, that is one way in which we do it. We did not have any phone numbers in Praia
da Luz but we knew that the British Embassy had sent somebody down there from the consular section of the embassy to keep
an eye on the McCanns, so you ring the embassy and say "While you are down there make sure that they know that this service
is available." In due course we made direct contact with Justine McGuiness and I personally had a meeting with Gerry
McCann as I said on 13 July. In all honesty, Mr Farrelly, I do not see what else in those circumstances we could do. The truth
or otherwise of what was written by the press at the time, or at least by the Express at the time, in the end had
to be tested in the courts because the advice that Gerry McCann got was that this is defamation, this is libel. By definition
the Press Complaints Commission does not do defamation, does not do libel. Q371 Paul Farrelly:
A lot of people reading the evidence that you have given might find that rather weak, Sir Christopher.
Meyer: I am sorry, I must come back at you. Why weak? We do not apply the law Mr Farrelly. Q372 Paul Farrelly:
Let me just move on.
Sir Christopher Meyer: No, you just said something very significant. Q373
Paul Farrelly: What is your view then on the suggestions that actually the PCC's operations might be improved
if it were more proactive and also acted on references from third parties?
Sir Christopher Meyer: We are extraordinarily
proactive, it is one of the great growth areas over the last few years. We have just of our own volition, to give you the
latest example - you may remember the case of Alfie Catton, a 13-year old boy living down in Sussex who may or may not have
fathered a child with a 15 or 16-year old girl. We have not received any complaint about those stories but we are now investigating
the matter and at the next meeting of the Commission the Commission will take a view on whether there has been a breach of
the Code or not. We do this all the time but we must have grounds for so doing. Where a lot of our critics go wrong is that
they expect us to apply the law, they expect us to be either instruments of the state or to have legal powers in areas which
are reserved for the courts and for the judges. Proactive - what does it actually mean in the case of the McCanns, what does
it mean in real terms beyond making sure they know what their rights are under the Code of Practice. Q374
Paul Farrelly: Can you just clarify how the PCC acted in the instance of the story about Prince Philip in the Standard;
did the PCC act after receiving a formal complaint from the palace?
Mr Toulmin: Yes, through his lawyer Gerard
Tyrrell. Q375 Paul Farrelly: The PCC did not proactively offer its services before that.
Mr Toulmin: No. It is well-known that the Royal Family knows how to use the PCC; Prince Philip instructed Harbottle and
Lewis and they complained on his behalf. Q376 Paul Farrelly: In the McCann case has the PCC censured
Mr Toulmin: We did not have a complaint about the Express.
Meyer: There are two different jurisdictions here. We cannot censure them unless there is a case before us; there was not
a case before us. The McCanns took a deliberate decision not to come to us except on the question of protecting their children,
because they had been persuaded by lawyers - I am not going to quarrel with their decision - that they had been defamed and
they had a case at law. They chose to go down that path. Q377 Paul Farrelly: On what complaint
was any censure made in the McCann case? Has the PCC issued any censure at all?
Mr Toulmin: The extent to which
the PCC was used by the McCanns related to pre-publication work, harassment and so on where the remedy if you like was the
minimising or indeed the cessation of the physical activity. That was the bit that they came to us over. No investigation
was necessary because it was about the whole pre-publication area. They did not complain to us about the subject-matter of
the articles and they went to court instead, as do some people every year. We do not ambulance-chase libel cases and then
go after them. Q378 Paul Farrelly: In conclusion, as an industry self-regulator after months of
false coverage the PCC has issued no comment on the standards employed by the press in the McCann case.
Meyer: Wrong Mr Farrelly. Q379 Paul Farrelly: It is a question, has it?
Meyer: First of all you are looking at this with 20:20 hindsight, forgive me for saying it, but what is obvious now was not
obvious at the time. On 19 March when the judgment became public I rose from my sickbed, stuffed myself with paracetamol,
staggered out to a radio car and on the PM programme castigated Peter Hill and Richard Desmond for a bad day for
British journalism. Contrast and compare - I say this myself - with some of the reactions of the BBC Trust in recent cases.
There was no question of us remaining silent; I said it was a bad day for British journalism, that Peter Hill should consider
his position and that Mr Desmond should make a greater effort to ensure higher journalistic standards across all his publications.
Guilhermino da Encarnação: He died one of the principal investigators
of the PJ, 24 February 2010
Guilhermino da Encarnação: He died one of the principal investigators of the PJ
By José Bento Amaro 24.02.2010 - 17:35 Thanks to
Joana Morais for translation
The national-joint director of the Polícia Judiciária (PJ) in Faro, Guilhermino
Ferreira da Encarnação, died today, in an Lisbon hospital.
Guilhermino da Encarnação (right) was responsible for the Joana and Maddie McCann cases
Guilhermino da Encarnação, who graduated in law in 1986, and would have reached 62
years of age in March, was responsible for the conduct of some of the biggest and most extensive investigations of the Algarve
PJ in recent years, namely the "Joana" and "Maddie McCann" cases. In the Algarve he was also responsible
for investigating several cases related to human trafficking - the 'Gaiola das Malucas' [Cage of the Crazy], one of
the first cases in which foreign women, who were being used in prostitution, had their documents withheld and were
imprisoned in houses with railings in order to prevent escape, it was one of the first of its kind to be solved
He joined the PJ in 1973, initially serving at the Directory of Lisbon. Some time later, as soon as
the National Directorate for Combating Banditism was created, he joined its board.
He then went to Faro, then in
charge of the inspection in 1991. He returned to Lisbon seven years later, serving not only at the Directorate as well as
at the Institute of Police and Forensic Sciences, where he taught various subjects in the several police training courses
In 2001 he was appointed superior coordinator of Criminal Investigation.
"Reme" Translation by Mercedes With thanks to "Himself" for English grammar
00:55 - Concha Garcia Campoy: We have
news in the "Maddie" case. The book "Maddie: The Truth of the Lie" that was written by former Police Co-ordinator
Gonçalo Amaral, will remain prohibited in Portugal as we informed here previously.
Earlier this year, it
was provisionally withdrawn from the bookstores at the request of the McCanns and now the courts have just ratified the measure.
Jerónimo Boloix, how are you, good afternoon. And we have a person who knows much about this case, the author of a
blog, Mercedes how are you?
Can you interpret what happened as a new victory for the McCanns?
A momentary victory. The fact that someone bans the freedom of speech of the police or any person, is very, very, difficult
to maintain in a court, Gonçalo Amaral is prepared to appeal to the European Court, and he will, he is a strong man
and this is a struggle they have between them and I think in the end ...
Concha: It seems it is
true that the struggle is to reopen the case, is that right Jerónimo? What he wants is to know the truth ... is taking
a risk, a risk from the very start...
I think that even though this first ruling is contrary to the interests of Amaral, it may facilitate the reopening of the
case, I think Gonçalo should appeal this ruling and contribute to the case. What surprises me greatly is that they
are trying to silence the book, and we have just seen a few seconds ago Paulo Sargento's statements.
Wait a minute, now that you mention this, because it is an exclusive statement of the forensic psychologist, who has been
involved in the case from the start, and Alejandro Vazquez has been with him and actually he is absolutely certain; listen.
Exclusive Interview with Paulo Sargento.
Video: Pictures of Madeleine playing
with her brothers
Alejandro Vázquez: You've worked on the Madeleine case from the beginning.
Paulo Sargento: From the beginning, from the second day after the disappearance.
Vázquez: And what's your theory?
Paulo Sargento: I think the girl died on
May 3, and it would have been utterly impossible for the kidnapping to have taken place. The abduction has been a media construction
only, because there is not one supporting fact to support this.
Alejandro Vázquez: Why
the McCanns are now saying that there is no evidence that Madeleine is dead?
Paulo Sargento: Because
their (the McCann's) interpretation is contrary to death, in fact there is evidence: corpse odour, the scent of human
blood and there is a set of forensic evidence, evidence that the girl is dead unfortunately.
Vázquez: Can your surmise that with such evidence that there has been a murder, manslaughter...
Alejandro Vázquez: ...the case has been shelved.
Sargento: I am sure that were it a Portuguese couple, the treatment wouldn't have been the same. The forensic
evidence would have been constituted as proof, and probably the couple would be in prison.
How would you define Gerry and Kate's behaviour?
Paulo Sargento: They have changed the roles,
also advised by image consultants, from the beginning Cuddle Cat in her hands, and then we saw that Kate disappeared from
scene and Gerry took over the leadership. Gerry is very aggressive. He is very, very aggressive, he is a man who is very impulsive...
ahhh, Maddie disappeared, between quotes, and Gerry McCann asked for a priest, if my daughter disappears I would ask for more
police ... after that he requested an image consultant, to me it would be better to ask for more police. If somebody presents
me the first piece evidence of an abduction, I'll shut up forever, but real evidence and discussed in a logical manner.
Alejandro Vázquez: How can we understand now that the accused is Gonçalo...?
Paulo Sargento: Gonçalo Amaral represents symbolically, what Gerry and Kate do not want, the death,
and their participation in concealing the body. Because he has been the Chief Inspector, has left the police, has published
a book that says the same as the process.
Alejandro Vázquez: Are you confident that at
some point the truth will be known, and the process reopened?
Paulo Sargento: I believe in justice;
I believe that Justice will be done, I don't know when.
Alejandro Vazquez: Thank you for everything.
Paulo Sargento: Thank You.
End of the Video
Mother! He speaks clear, categorical, absolutely, eh... Do you think, as he says that if the McCanns were Portuguese they
would be in jail? What do you feel Mercedes?
Mercedes: Of course, without a doubt. Parents who
recognize that they left three small children alone, under four years of age, to have dinner and they say they were passing
by every half hour, which has been shown, that at least the night before this was not true, there is a statement that appears
in the Process of a neighbour who heard the girl crying for an hour and a half the night before, that for any other couple...
Alfonso Egea: It's not a hypothesis; there have been examples in Portugal. There was one case
of a child and the mother was not only suspected but was imprisoned, obviously the nationality of the McCanns plays an important
role here. Now after hearing Paulo Sargento imagine...
Concha: Because he is precise, she is dead.
There are no forensic doubts.
Alfonso Egea: I guess the next move for the McCanns will be to request
this man to shut up too and if this was up to them, everyone should shut up ...
The most shameful of all this is that, as Paulo Sargento said, the book reflects the status of the investigation. The person
who spoke is a forensic psychologist who has been involved with the case from the beginning. He said white and in a bottle...
(Spanish riddle: white and in a bottle... The obvious answer is: milk). The only thing he didn't say is when these people
should go to prison. But let's be realistic here, what is happening, is a political struggle by the British Government
against the Portuguese Government, this is preventing further clarification, and unfortunately, we may be in a situation of
a judicial lie. There an issue that we must not forget, this little girl disappeared on May 3, three years ago, and no one
is looking for her because no one cares for her. There are instructions from the parents, individuals and institutions that
support the parents in their bogus search for the girl.
Concha: Well, it's true that, in addition
to what yourself and Paulo Sargento have said, it is clear that, when a child is missing and the first thing you do not do
is call a priest, the first thing I would do is call the police, here they requested an image consultant, not more police
to investigate, now that's...
Mercedes: I can say that the first article was published at
1 minute past 12 on May 4th. We can see in the process that the first call to police from the Ocean Club's reception was
at twenty to eleven PM... ummm, the timings just don't fit.
Alfonso Egea: You know very well
that, that summer, they shared time with a television producer, who was the second person to receive a call, incomprehensible...
Jerónimo Boloix: Equally incomprehensible
is that having access to the future British Prime Minister Gordon Brown, they didn't request top British specialists,
Scotland Yard, but this image consultant, this is pure and simply an agreement in that the image of the McCanns must appear
above suspicion in the matter of their daughter's...
Concha: It surprises me more, Mercedes,
and some will think and I believe with good reason, you must be the person that knows more about this case here, because you
have collected most of the information... "Until we know the truth". Well, what a commitment, no? You've made
a commitment to Gonçalo Amaral and, do you think that we will know the truth if people like you don't throw the
Mercedes: I think we are all helping each other on the internet, there are currently
very few media outlets that are treating this, like today, in a serious way, nobody wants to censure the parents, the aim
is to allow the police to do their job, nothing more. You can see very clearly that there was external pressure, no matter
from whom; there has been pressure to close a case that was ongoing, something that is unprecedented in an investigation of
Jerónimo Boloix: I want to ask Mercedes if you know the reason why this trial
that has been held now, against Gonçalo Amaral's book, why haven't they admitted a witness or why haven't
the English witnesses appeared?
Mercedes: They were pressured. They claimed they were under official
secret. Official secrecy is something that has been invoked on several occasions. There are journalists who have requested
information and reply they have received, is that it could not be provided because the case was under the Official Secrets
Concha: If a Prime Minister is related....
But Justice for the girl and ascertaining what happened to her, I think it is paramount...
Well Mercedes, it has been a pleasure, many thanks. We will contact you again when we review this case that I find so very
Mercedes: Thank you; thank you very much for addressing this issue seriously and
for providing an opportunity for Madeleine. Everyone gives the opportunity to Kate and Gerry McCann.