The Truth of the lie.
The book by Gonçalo Amaral, former PJ inspector, is officially presented today in Lisbon. The book will relaunch the debate on the Maddie case, which is on the point of becoming the McCann case. The truth of the lie, is it the truth? the question is asked and the answer is it is difficult to say. Certainly, the book is the reflection of a certain truth. That seen through the eyes of a police inspector in charge of a complex and high media profile case. The book, in its turn, has been made the object of a certain staged marketing and international media coverage. If the publishers wanted to play it this way, they have done it well. That does not mean that the contents of the book are not fair. Amaral reveals the main reasons which always led him to distrust Gerry, Kate and their friends. He even indicates that the couple had to be treated, "with respect," and, "tweezers," like VIPs.
Is there defamation in the ideas held by Gonçalo in his book? The passage on, "the paedophile friend," caused much ink to flow. Forums all over the place crumbled under the comments. According to the Larousse encyclopaedia, defamation is, "the holding of unjustified views damaging to the reputation and to the honour of a person." The idea of, "unjustified," is important in terms of law. If what is written is analysed calmly, there are no defamatory ideas. Gonçalo Amaral is not accusing anyone! he is not saying that such a one is this or that! He simply speaks of a statement made in May 2007 by British people and recorded by the authorities of the same country and only attached to the file several months later, in January 2008!!! Amaral's concern is to stress that this statements which seems important to him for the investigation, only arrived after several months delay.
He is not lying. He is not inventing the contents and he is not responsible for it. Certainly, he put forward the contents of the statement. But where is the problem? The contents of that statement will be made public after the legal deadline! In addition, he does not label anyone! It is a certain Portuguese press and, above all, participants in forums of all kinds who have spread rumours which Amaral has not done! After all, what does this statement contain? Nothing in particular. A lady says she saw a man making obscene gestures, which with her background, shocked her. She stated that this man made these same gestures again later about Madeleine and she made the decision not to let him near the children at bath time. The man in question was the organiser of the trip to Praia da Luz, as he was for the Majorca one 2 years earlier, where the lady states that she saw him making doubtful gestures. Participants of forums are mistaking the question. The question is not whether there is defamation in Amaral's work, but rather to wonder about the usefulness of recording this kind of statement.
An important element of the investigation?
Gonçalo Amaral writes that this statement is a crucial element or in any case essential to the case, stressing that the fact that this witness statement arrived several months later had prejudiced the investigation. It is our professional opinion that this witness statement only gains importance provided that it is proved that the suspect was making reference to Madeleine AND in as far as the latter was already known to the law or to the police for paedophile tendencies. In that case, and only in that case, this witness statement is of paramount importance.
Pointing out where Madeleine's body is.
In his book, Amaral reveals that he, as well as several other inspectors, naively believed that Kate was willing to show them, without committing herself, the place where Madeleine's body was and that this place would be found in the Praia da Luz area. At a given moment, the book makes clear, Maddie's mother started to pass on to the investigators, information which she had received from people with psychic or paranormal powers about the place where Madeleine's body might be found. One month after Maddie's disappearance, she was accepting the idea of Madeleine's death while stating the opposite publicly.
The hearings do not tally.
The book also speaks about the famous hearings of the group of friends who have sown disorder since the start of the investigation. The statements made by the group about the night of the events, and during which they were having dinner together, do not tally. There are differences in the times, sequences and in the details. The authorities have even received two different lists, with different times, hand-written by the group, about the times when different members of the group went to check on the children. In one of the two documents an attempt to fill the spaces is noted. Kate raised the alarm at 22.00 and she guarantees that the window of the children's bedroom was open and that the blinds were raised. Jane guarantees that that around 21.20/21.25 she saw a man carrying a child in his arms. A few minutes later, another member of the group, Matthew, went to the apartments to check on the children, at 21.30. The windows were closed.
As a professional confronted by this kind of inconsistency, one conclusion seems obvious. Someone, or several people in the group, are lying or manipulating the others. From this obvious fact, other questions follow, notably: why? To what end? The most blatantly obvious way is to make people face their lies and contradictions and to place them in their context, rubbing their noses in their mistakes. And for that, one thing to be done, it is a reconstruction!
o go back to the book, another detail which left Gonçalo Amaral perplexed occurred the day after Maddie's disappearance. On that day, someone stated that they had seen a girl resembling Maddie at a service station and the station had video images. Kate, who had already been questioned by the PJ indicated that she was disturbed by the speed with which the police vehicle was traveling to the place and she had not shown the slightest spark of hope while they were traveling to recover her daughter.
Call logs deleted.
The day after Maddie's disappearance, the PJ asked the parents about looking at their mobile phones. They discovered that between April 27th and May 4th, Kate had not made any calls and that she had not received calls between May 2nd at 11.22 and the night of the events at 23.17. As for Gerry, no calls received or made in his log of calls. However, the inspectors know that Kate's mobile phone shows that she received a call made by her husband and which she received at 23.17 on May 3rd. But on Gerry's, there is nothing. The PJ concluded that the log of calls was deleted from his mobile. The question the PJ ask themselves is why?
A perfectly tidy bedroom.
The bedroom was perfectly tidy and it did not seem that Madeleine had slept in her bed. During the abduction, the kidnapper would have to have moved something due to the height up to the window, but there was no indication of this. In addition, it seems impossible that the window could have been opened from the outside. Even the shutters, which were raised, according to the parents, could only have been raised from the inside. There was no sign of tampering on the front door. Only the sofa was reported to have been moved from its original place when the parents arrived at the start of their holiday. There is still that Irish Family on holiday in Praia da Luz who guarantee having seen a man carrying a small girl at 21.55, in an area and in a direction totally opposite to Jane's witness statement. The statements of the three members of the Irish family are considered credible. They are certain that it was Madeleine and give a description of the clothes she was wearing but they did not identify the man who was carrying her. Later on, this family made contact with the authorities because after having seen Gerry with the twins, they realised that it was him they had seen that evening.
From a professional point of view, this witness statement is important. It establishes that Madeleine had not yet disappeared at 21.55 on the evening of May 3rd! On the other hand it does not mean that Gerry was involved somehow in the series of events. Do not draw hasty conclusions.
The dance of diplomacy.
On the same evening as Madeleine's disappearance, the director of the PJ who was dining with some friends in Lisbon, received a call on his private mobile phone from the British diplomatic service, asking him is he was aware that a little English girl had been reported missing!? He contacted the PJ who were not yet aware. She even contacted the GRN, who had just received the call. The day after the disappearance, the British consul went to the PJ Department of Criminal Investigation (DIC) in Portimao. Later, it was the turn of the ambassador in person to come on the scene. Gonçalo Amaral asked himself, quite rightly, if this involvement of the English diplomatic service was normal. Are they like this with all British couples? Amaral says that he had the certainty that the case was going to be treated as a political problem after Kate and Gerry had contacted the British Prime Minister, Gordon Brown. The results of the analyses carried out by the British laboratory are yet another mystery Amaral says. In the first instance, the analyses confirm a lead and in the documents that followed, totally ignore the details which were certified in the first document sent. Like for example, the 15 markers (out of 19 possible) which match Madeleine's DNA profile.
Gerry very relaxed.
Another episode left Amaral disconcerted. In a room where they were all gathered, they were waiting for contact with an informer who said he knew where Madeleine was hidden. He would tell in exchange for money. Gerry, in the same room as the inspectors and PJ negotiators, agents from Scotland Yard and agents from Leicestershire police, showed himself to be very relaxed. Tension in the room was high. The tension was mounting. On the other hand, Gerry's relaxation contrasted with the anxiety of the police and left all the investigators intrigued, including those of Scotland Yard. Gerry was calmly sipping a local apéritif and exchanging trivia about the internet and discussing rugby with someone from the English police.
Thursday, 24 July 2008
The PJ's report to the Public Prosecutor is available for download as an English translation here: