In April 2008, members of the group which came to be known as 'The Tapas 9,' were interviewed in the UK, as a result of rogatory letters sent from Portugal. I am re-posting a report about Russell O'Brien's interview as I think there is a very important principle at stake here. Russell O'Brien was allowed to read statements from another witness, his partner, Jane Tanner, prior to being interviewed.
Surely there is something quite amiss when witnesses are allowed to read each other's statements before being interviewed? The inconsistencies and contradictions that might be thrown up are surely of vital importance and this is unlikely to happen when statements can be viewed.
No surprise, then, that stories from those two witnesses do not contain anything other than total agreement about events!
Re-posted article follows:
The Maddie investigation: O'Brien was questioned after having referred to Tanner's statements.
At the time of his interview, in April 2008, Russell James O'Brien was able to refer to the report of his partner Jane Tanner's statements in order to respond to questions from Andrew Gierc, a Leicestershire police officer, about the events that surrounded Madeleine McCann's disappearance.
The access of one witness to the statements of another, even when it is the same couple, is worrying and outside the norm, above all in the course of an investigation of the importance of the Madeleine McCann case. It is also judged by experts from several European police forces, consulted by SMM, as more than a simple professional error: "this can direct the witness or even worse, allow him to answer questions in a way that protects his position in the investigation," states an officer of the French gendarmerie, stressing, "that it is an error capable of compromising an entire investigation and that no professional worthy of that name would make it....The only explanation that remains is the possibility that the investigator wanted to confuse the witness for a specific reason."
"I was given the opportunity to refresh my memory about the report made by Jane Tanner (my wife) and I was allowed to see these documents. That was done in the presence of DC 1578 Gierc," O'Brien admits.
O'Brien was interviewed twice, on April 8th and 10th 2008, but strangely, his his first interview would not have been recorded on video, because, according to the British police, there was a, "technical fault." However, it now looks like the video, which was never sent to Portugal, exists but would not be attached to the report of the April 8th interview.
Russell O'Brien's second interview by police officer Andrew Gierc, was indeed recorded on video, to which we have had access.
All the other, "Tapas 7," were also interviewed: Payne was questioned for 259 minutes by police officer I. Messiah, Diane Webster for 151 minutes by police officer Fergusson, Fiona Payne for 277 minutes by police officer Messiah, Matthew Oldfield for 157 minutes and Rachael Mariamma Jean Mampilly, by police officer Andrew Gierc for 236 minutes.
Jane Tanner was interviewed for 279 minutes by police officer Fergusson, an interview with seven interruptions, the first also very hectic after only 18 minutes when the fire alarm went off.
At the time when the Portuguese Public Minister decided to place the investigation into Madeleine's disappearance on hold pending further evidence, there was a total of 196 witnesses, including the McCanns' seven friends, and three arguidos, registered in the process.
Several witnesses, who made themselves known to the British authorities, have remained unknown to the Portuguese investigators, for a reason yet to be determined. Brian Kennedy, the millionaire who would be financing Clarence Mitchell and the McCanns' team of lawyers, has even visited several of the investigation's witnesses, in particular those who were less favourable to the couple.
Robert James Queriol Eveleigh Murat, Kate Marie Healy, (also addressed as Kate McCann) and Gerald Patrick McCann were the three arguidos.
Amongst the witnesses, there are a few names already known to the general public. The, "nannies," Amy Ellen Tierney, Catriona Treasa Sisile Baker, Charlotte Elizabeth alice Pennington, Emma Louise Wilding, Jacqueline Mary Williams, Kirsty Louise Maryen, Lyndsay Jayne Johnson, Lynne Rhiannon Fretter, Sarah Elizabeth Williamson, Sinead Maria Vine, Stacey Portz, Susan Bernadette Owen and Pauline Frances McCann.
George Robin Crosland (Ocean Club manager) George William James, Jennifer Anne Murat, Jeremy Wilkins, John Elliot Hill, Michaela Walazuch, Pamela Isobel Fenn, Robert James Queriol Eveleigh Murat, Sergey Malinka (Murat's friend) José Manuel Conceição Pacheco, Susan Hubard and Svetlana Malinka.
The “Tapas 9”: David Anthony Payne, Dianne Webster, Fiona Elaine Payne, Gerald Patrick McCann, Jane Michelle Tanner, Kate Marie Healy, Rachael Mariamma Jean Mampilly, Russel James O´Brien and Matthew Oldfield."Note: The above report was originally posted on the SOS Madeleine McCann blog and on this blog in August 2008