Madeleine McCann: Amaral v The McCanns was an accident waiting to happen
Goncalo Amaral is back in the news. The former Portuguese detective has won an appeal against his libel defeat to Madeleine McCann’s parents, Kate and Gerry McCann. The court order for him to pay the McCanns £395,000 in damages in April 2015 has been overturned. The Press pick up the story of Amaral and his 2008 book, The Truth of the Lie, in which he accuses the McCanns of “faking Madeleine’s abduction to cover up her accidental death in their apartment” (Star).
Daily Star (front page): “Maddie: Cop Wains Right To Accuse Parents”
“A banned book which accuse Madeleine’s McCanns parents of covering up her death will go on sale across Europe after a shock ruling by three appal court judge in Portugal yesterday,” writes Jerry Lawton. No shock here, at least not to Anorak readers. Back in 2010, AGW told you:
The media awaits the verdict of McCanns Versus Goncalo Amaral. Much depends on it. The McCanns have taken a risk in going against the former police officer in a foreign country. While it can be argued – as they have done – that any publicity for their missing daughter is good because it keeps her name alive in the voracious media.
But it does not keep us looking for the child. It just allows us to gawp at them, the distraught parents of a missing innocent:
YOU know when an accident is going to happen. They even have corporate speak phrases for it these days: “Risk Assessment” is one.
You know when a playing kitten is going to fall from the arm of the chair, you know when the child is going trip and fall, no matter how quick you are to try and get there.
Sometimes you see disasters being created and thundering, in silent-movie slowed down train-wreck style, toward you or others and there’s little you can do other than stand and watch horror-struck by the enormity of it all.
You know the accident’s about to happen and there is nothing you can do but perhaps wonder why you knew?
It has nothing to do with sixth senses, it is because the most powerful computer known to man, your brain, has gathered in all the previous experiences you have weighed in the balance and made a predictive analysis.
That is what is so strange about the current and past behaviour of the parents of the missing child Madeleine McCann.
They have started a court action defending their reputations in Lisbon because the former chief investigating officer Goncalo Amara, is accusing them of being involved in Madeleine’s disappearance. They have also started an action seeking a money settlement for the Portuguese equivalent of libel and in addition are taking on a Lisbon-based documentary production unit for reporting on the detective’s objected to book and the case.
Lisbon was never going to be a perfect spot for the McCann’s to start legal sparring and this week they were dealt what can only be termed a body-blow when the detective’s lawyers produced evidence the UK’s top criminal profiler has said there were “contradictions” in their statements and both should be treated as possible “homicide” suspects.
No arguments, no amount of reshuffling or clarifications can change that and the facts can not be forced back into the can of worms which the McCann parents themselves have allowed to be opened.
The background PR work after the Lisbon shocker has been impressive. The McCann lawyers strode from the courtroom and counter-claimed there were tens, hundreds or more sightings of the missing girl. The UK’s Red Tops dutifully followed the thread and reported the lawyer’s statement. My experience and training gave the brain the predictive text that this looked like a smoke screen, a damage limitation. The missing fact was all these sightings came after the McCann’s themselves had been released from Arguido, suspect, status. The case was archived. It was a cold, leading nowhere, case in the eyes of the top legal and police professionals in Portugal…the responsible authorities have no clues and have suspended work on the case.
It has already been said in these columns, taking on the Portuguese legal system was going to be a minefield but there is one question:
Who is taking the responsibility for the Risk Assessment for this McCann course of action?
Whoever it was needs to be replaced or kept out of the limelight.
Mass public opinion is turning. The McCanns are slipping lower and lower down the celebs’ to be seen with list, certainly no-longer A list and slightly embarrassing to be around according to some whispers.
The McCanns are innocent. No charges have been brought against anyone…except the Chief Investigating Police Officer, Goncalo Amaral.
A second question would have to be: Who on earth took the Risk Assessment decision Amaral was a buffoon an incompetent, bungling, Jacques Clouseau Pink Panther type of police officer?
Come on, wake up! Police officers do not rise through the ranks to positions of authority without being good thief-takers and being very good at spotting the wrongness of something.
Amaral is tougher than the baying section of Britain’s media has portrayed.
The McCanns are becoming battered and worn by this. Just look at their recent photographs. The child is still missing, lost, gone. Arguments still rage over the rightness or wrongness of it all.
Something is judgementally wrong in the Risk Assessments taken here. This week has been hugely damaging to the McCann’s and their cause. The information given this week in the Lisbon court can no longer be ignored or forgotten. It will have a high cost and one of the costs are potential new helpers and donations to the campaign of finding the child.
Daily Star Page 7: “Maddie SHOCK”
The Portuguese appeal court judges “ordered” the McCanns to pay “full legal fees of the three-year hearing”. The McCanns have “instructed lawyers to appeal against the new ruling”. But the judges call Amaral’s book a “legitimate exercise in the right to express an opinion”. Portugal was once a police state. Free speech is enshrined. The lawyers’ appeal looked doomed.
We then get a rapid-fire vox pop. The McCanns deny Amaral’s claims. A “pal” says they are “seething”. Their spokesman Clarence Mitchell says, “It is a matter for Kate and Gerry’s lawyers to deal with .”
The Sun (front page): “MADDIE: Agony for McCanns as cop wins libel case”
Page 4: “Hunt Hit By Cash Crisis – Maddie £430k Libel Loss Blow – Tec wins against McCanns”
The payment “deprives the Maddie Fund o9f cash to keep the nine-year search going”. Private cash. But not public purse monies. That continues to be spent on the search.
Daily Mirror (Page 7): “Bungling cop in libel triumph over the McCanns”
Is every policeman who fails to solve a case a bungler?
And then we get to the money. The cash Amaral was ordered to pay the McCanns never left his account. All payments – £360,000 and £76,000 in interest – was held until the appeal judges had ruled. The money never came out of the Maddie Fund, did it? It was never in the Fund.
Daily Express (Page 8): “McCanns ‘seething’ as Maddy detective overturns book ruling”
We finally hear from the McCanns’ legal aide. Their Portuguese lawyer, Isable Duarte, “said she was ‘disappointed’ but not surprised” at the ruling.
Daily Mail (Page 30): “McCanns suffer £395k libel loss”
Page 30. The story continues – but less and less people are listening to it.