Thursday, 24 November 2011

Kate and Gerry McCann give evidence at the Leveson enquiry


The video starts a few minutes into the interview. What we don't hear on the video is the McCanns being thanked for coming and being asked to verify the statement of truth at the end of their statements.

Gerry McCann is asked why he agreed to give evidence and this is his reply:

I think it's for one simple reason, in that we feel that a system has to be put in place to protect ordinary people from the damage that the media can cause by their activity, which falls well below the standards that I would deem acceptable.
Gerry McCann is asked if he feels it is helpful to have Madeleine permanently in the public eye, to which he replies that he has said on several occasions that it is not helpful. Well, I've just searched on Google under 'Madeleine in the public eye,' and there are thousands and thousands of links to Kate, Gerry and the extended McCann and Healy families all calling for Madeleine to be kept in the public eye. I wonder who Gerry said that to because there are links going back to the McCanns' trip to Berlin soon after their daughter's disappearance. (See references)

Kate McCann answers a question about their being in the public eye and she responds that as Madeleine's parents appeals have more impact.

When the questioning moves to the night of May 3rd 2007, Gerry McCann is asked:

You tell us in your witness statement that a photograph was made immediately available, provided to the broadcast media and to the press, and was, as it were, displayed everywhere. Is that correct?
The video takes up at this point where Gerry is responding by referring to having had digital cameras with them.

The first element was what we were doing on the night and obviously we had digital cameras and we were trying to get photographs printed of Madeleine from the holiday.

To give to the police, but secondly, a very good friend of ours who we spoke to in the early hours of 4th May, took upon himself to issue photographs of Madeleine to all the major media outlets in the UK.
Gerry McCann's vague use of language fascinates me. Perhaps I'm just prone to being pedantic, but I'd have asked him to be rather more precise in places. "You were trying to get photographs printed? How? Did you succeed? Which ones from the holiday did you get printed? And by the way, why didn't the last photo from the holiday appear until over three weeks after Madeleine disappeared?" The use of the imperfect, "trying," implies an ongoing activity, with no end to that activity implied here. Now, I am not intending an accusation here, but people who are lying will often keep things vague. Keep precise details out and you don't have to remember them.

So, Gerry McCann talks about "trying," to print those photos from the holiday for the police (in Portugal I assume!), but doesn't state here that they succeeded, just that in the early hours someone did succeed in getting photos to the major UK media outlets. What we do know is that the first posters placed around Praia da Luz and shown in public appearances were of a younger Madeleine, using an older photo. Why? If they had digital cameras and photos from the holiday, which would show the most up-to-date image, why use a photo of a much younger child? And was that a photo on one of the cameras or a photo they had with them on holiday? How are people expected to look for a missing child with an old photo that does not represent how they looked at the time of their disappearance?


Alerting the UK media was nothing to do with Kate and Gerry. A very good friend '
took upon himself,' to issue the photographs to the UK media. Right? Why the UK media when Madeleine had just disappeared a few hours before in Portugal?

And then the world's press arrived! Well, what did they expect when all major media outlets in the UK had been informed and issued with photographs? And what did the very good friend expect or want those major media outlets to do by sending the photographs? He had not intended to encourage them to follow up on the story? Why send the pics then?

And it occurs to me that if this 'very good friend,' was one of the people the McCanns spoke to on the phone, in the early hours, that this may explain why the first photos of Madeleine, which were released to the press, were not from the holiday, but were older ones, in which Madeleine looked younger than she did in the holiday pics. There has been much speculation about why photos of a younger Madeleine were released. Perhaps this is the reason, though why did the photo of a younger Madeleine appear all over Praia da Luz?

The complete transcript of this part of the interview is available online and I shall add the link at the end. For now, I intend to just comment on particular statements.

At 04.55 on the video, Gerry is asked about the process by which the British press obtained stories from Portugal. He is asked if it would be accurate to say that the Portuguese police were leaking information to the Portuguese press, information which was then picked up by the British press.

Gerry McCann: I cannot tell you for certain that it was Portuguese police who were leaking information, but anyone who followed the headlines in July, August and September, 2007, I think it would be a perfectly reasonable assumption to make that elements of the enquiry were speaking to the Portuguese police. I do not know...emm, sorry, the Portuguese press. I do not know if they were speaking directly to the British media, but what we clearly saw were snippets of information, which, as far as I am concerned, the British media could not tell whether it was true or not, which would then be reported, often exaggerated, and blown up into many tens, hundreds of front page headlines.
Was that just a slip of the tongue, due to nervousness maybe, when Gerry talked about elements of the enquiry speaking to the Portuguese police? Something there, Gerry? Worried about who might have been talking to the police? Sometimes it's a bit like 'don't think of pink elephants,' when these little bits of information slip out accidentally. Just a little bit of speculation there, Gerry, just an idea and I know you are not against people voicing theories! We'll come to that later.

(To be continued)

With thanks to HiDeHo for her sterling effort in producing and uploading the video.

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