Outside the court in Lisbon on Wednesday February 10th, at the end of the last day of the proceedings concerning the temorary injunction on Gonçalo Amaral's book, "The Truth Of The Lie," Gerry McCann said they, he and his wife, would be delighted if the case were to be reopened. Well, the case was shelved in September 2008, after a suitable period in which the McCanns had the opportunity to ask for the case to remain open. They did not take advantage of that opportunity.
Since then, the McCanns could have asked for the case to be reopened. In court their lawyer, Isabel Duarte said that information about suspects had not been put in the case files and also that information had come in from all over Europe and yet Ricardo Paiva, Chief Investigator, had allowed the case to remain shelved. Who did this supposed information from "all over Europe," go to? The McCanns' private detectives? And was it all passed to the Portuguese police? If so, why didn't the McCanns ask for the case to be reopened based on this new information? They didn't. Also, at the end of day 3 of the case in January, Gerry McCann said there were no leads.
Now, the McCanns are making a renewed appeal to the people of Portugal to come forward with any information they may have.( Sky News) What on earth is the point of that? How many appeals have they made to the people of Portugal over the past nearly three years? And what about the theory being put forward by their private detective, Dave Edgar that Madeleine is being held in a "hellish lair," in one of the "lawless villages," near Praia da Luz? Hang on! Don't they call that a lead? Why not follow it up? Why not do some actual searching instead of putting out yet another generalised plea to the people of Portugal? The people who actually searched for Madeleine soon after her disappearance, were the Portuguese people of Praia da Luz. If there were information to be had, it would probably have been had by now.
Several people were tweeting from the court and the updates came to my mobile phone thick and fast most of the day. There were two witnesses being heard. First up was Luis Froes, General Manager of VC Films, the company that made the documentary based on Amaral's book. Sr Froes spoke about the DVD of the film having been given away with a copy of a national newspaper. He was asked by the McCanns' lawyer why thousands of copies had been destroyed. (Note: because of the injunction?)
Second witness was Eduardo Damaso, editor in chief of Portuguese daily newspaper Correio da Manha. It was his newspaper which gave away the DVD. Damaso commented that other former investigators have written about criminal cases.
The afternoon session was scheduled to begin at 2pm, but started very late, the McCanns not arriving in court until after 2.40pm. While most people were out having lunch, the McCanns were out issuing another writ, this time against TV company TVI for allegedly talking about the film after it was banned by the temporary injunction.
Dr Amaral's lawyer, Antonio Cabrita, in his summing up made quite a few very good points. He mentioned that several journalists had written books about Madeleine and had not been sued and what was it about Amaral's book? Was it too close to the truth?
Sr Cabrita read from documents detailing the police decision to shelve the case. I don't know what was read out by Sr Cabrita, but this is an extract from the PJ's final report on the archiving of the case.
Despite all of this, it was not possible to obtain any piece of evidence that would allow for a medium man, under the light of the criteria of logics, of normality and of the general rules of experience, to formulate any lucid, sensate, serious and honest conclusion about the circumstances under which the child was removed from the apartment (whether dead or alive, whether killed in a neglectful homicide or an intended homicide, whether the victim of a targeted abduction or an opportunistic abduction), nor even to produce a consistent prognosis about her destiny and inclusively – the most dramatic – to establish whether she is still alive or if she is dead, as seems more likely.
(Translation by Astro and copied from The McCann Files )
Antonio Cabrita commented during his summing up:
"The McCanns should not feel offended by the book, but by the prosecutors."
As can be seen above, this comment would appear to be rather appropriate as the Public Prosecutor, in the final report, stated that Madeleine was more likely to be dead than alive. Perhaps the McCanns should be considering suing the Public Prosecutor's office for suggesting that Maddie is dead.
Cabrita: "I ask now, where is the offence? In the book or in the process?"
If police officers could be sued for every theory they followed up and every conclusion they reached as a result of their investigation and every person they felt they had reason to suspect of involvement, there would be mighty few cases being resolved and reaching the courts and probably very few people wishing to apply to become police officers.
Cabrita emphasised that the book contained the same facts as the police and prosecution files. The final report for the archiving of the case can be read on The McCann Files web site. (Link above)
The lawyer for the publishers of Amaral's book gave a statement in the summing-up process:
"This company has published another book called "McCann's Guilt" (translation), but that was not banned."
Why not? It didn't sell very well and therefore the author wasn't worth suing? It wasn't widely publicised? Seems like the title alone might attract at least a letter from the McCanns' lawyers, but that doesn't seem to have been the case. Odd!
Isabel Duarte, lawyer for the McCanns did not appear to base her summing-up on the facts of the case, i.e., was the book Gonçalo Amaral's own opinion or an accurate representation of the investigation? Instead, she made an "impassioned speech," in which she launched into an emotional diatribe about Gonçalo Amaral and others who supported him.
"Duarte: Goncalo Amaral is using the book to take revenge on the McCanns."
Revenge for what? Dr Amaral's stated objective in writing his book was to express himself and restore his reputation. To suggest that he would write an accurate narrative of the investigation simply to take revenge seems to be projection rather on the part of her clients, who seem to be the ones seeking revenge....and money!
"Duarte: The book has been organised and written in order to prove the McCanns are guilty."
And the book, "The McCanns' Guilt."?
Duarte read out a report on the book by a Portuguese language expert. So, never mind the factual details, let's take a critical look at the language? Is this the best the McCanns' legal representative can come up with?
Isabel Duarte then went on to suggest that one of the witnesses for Dr Amaral, Ricardo Paiva, a senior police officer, had lied during the hearing. She said he had been "inconsistent," regarding the findings of the dogs and had said during the investigation that the dogs had failed at least once. Why focus on the dogs? I guess this is one part of the investigation which the McCanns do need to focus on undermining. However, Isabel Duarte was acting outside of her remit by seeking to question the actual investigation: her remit was to put forward evidence for Amaral's book being his own opinion, and which therefore could be classed as defamation, and not just a personal and autobiographical account of the police investigation. The investigation itself was not on trial.
(Note: the above direct quotes are taken from tweets sent from inside the courtroom by @hannahtp)
Joana Morais reports that during her final speech, Isabel Duarte referred to all those who believed in her clients' involvement in their daughter's disappearance as 'vultures' and 'vampires.'
Joana also quotes Gerry McCann's confidence in the Portuguese police. Holding up images of his daughter, Gerry said, "that he trusts in the Portuguese judicial system." Well well! What was it Gerry said outside the court in January?
"I think it's particularly disappointing that the police officers who considered us responsible for Madeleine's disappearance are the same officers we are depending on to carry on the search for Madeleine," Sky News
So, now Gerry trusts the Portuguese judicial system and he welcomes the case being reopened? Could this be anything to do with Dr Amaral's calling for the case to be reopened? What could Gerry say to that? No? I guess that might throw some serious suspicions on Gerry's motives.
Finally, Joana Morais quotes one of the defence lawyers, acting on behalf of Dr Amaral's appeal to have the temporary injunction on his book overturned:
"At desperate times shoot in all directions' was an expression said by a defense lawyer heard yesterday at court to express the lack of proof to affirm that Amaral thesis impeded the search for a live or dead Madeleine. The same lawyer answering to an article that based the request to ban the book and the documentary, said 'It is the parents who are responsible for the the physical and moral integrity of their children' not 'Gonçalo Amaral, Guerra and Paz, TVI nor Valentim de Carvalho"