Mr Amarals attempt to overturn the banning of a controversial book claiming Madeleine McCann is deadHeartfelt thanks to Maria. This deserves publicity as does all Maria's valuable information from inside Portugal.
DAY ONE Tuesday 12th January 2010
Yes, Amaral got a nice bunch of witnesses;
1. The prosecutor (Magalhães e Menezes) who signed the final report stating or reinforcing the conclusions in there, which are, as you remember, in a nutshell, there is not enough information to decide on which crime has been committed, let alone who committed it. It was him who corrected Cabrita about the role of the dogs: a means of proof, not a proof. Also, he did not read the book, and answering a question from Isabel, he states that, to him, the title seems an attempt of saying that the book is the truth about a flawed investigation (an investigation that lead to a false conclusion, final report). That one is very serious (on Amaral).
2. Then Amaral's pal (Tavares de Almeida) putting all on the boicot by the 'english' police, politicians (en passant), the McCanns. Yes he did write the report stating that the parents should have their status aggravated because they were suspect of having concealed their daughter's body. Yes, the book is a summary of the investigation. Yes the dogs are super and marked everything, if forensic evidence wasn't found it is all down to FSS, who first said that there were 15 markers out of 19 and then said there was contamination, how could they do that as they (PJ) were getting all the directions on how to recover the indices from them (FSS)? (my comment, what great investigators we've got, they need directions on how to collect residues, evidences, indices!!!). Just remembered, Isabel showed him a map in the book where Amaral explains that the Smiths saw a man that would have come from OC. They had a slightly heated argument, and he lead Isabel to conclude, without any denial, that that map was incorrect, so what else was incorrect in the book?
3. The liaison officer (Ricardo Paiva) speaking in a very very low voice, who basically confirmed everything that is in the book (I think as I haven't read it), being the dogs the main 'dish'. Isabel asked him if he didn't think if the book and the thesis it expresses could hamper the search for Madeleine, to which he answered no, only last week he received several messages that were duly investigated and then he was in complete disarray when Isabel put a question to him ,sorry, can't remember which one because she was careful to remind him that he was under oath!!! And then Isabel asked him 3 (three) times how did the parents hide the body for at least 23/24 days (he wasn't sure about the time) and everytime he answered that they must have hid the body cause the dogs marked the car...blablabla... then Isabel wrapped up her questioning with a 'Right, I understand you do not want to answer my question. That's all, thank you'
4. And finally the director of the national unit of combat of terrorism, formerly and at the time, the unit of combat of bandistry (Luís Neves). A heavy weight, strong voice, but deaf of his left ear (Isabel was on his left). Only one meeting with the British Ambassador (10-15 minutes), two or three meetings with the parents, the consul, Guilhermino Encarnação and two high rank british officers, very helpfull the british police, no, he doesn't know Clarence Mitchel, no pressure while he was there (until August), the dogs came very highly reccomended, no false positives in 100 or 200 cases. Suggestion for the dogs to come from the british. No he did not read the book, he just went through it quickly on the eve of the December hearing so that he could prepare his statement... Yes, what is in the book is also in the files. But the book is a view over an investigation, an 'outburst' of GA, so angry he must have been by loosing 'his' investigation .'We' hate that, 'we' do not like when an investigation does not lead to a charge. Yes, if Gonçalo stayed in the investigation it would probably end in a different way.
Some or all of them said that Kate 'started' admitting that Madeleine 'was' dead when she asked for Krugel to be called and even asked that his searches to be widened to the rocks, some scrubland...
Sorry for the scattered report, it is my first court case... Tomorrow I will take notes, it will be easier.
About the questions, you were complaining that without knowing the questions it became difficult to understand the answers. Well, Cabrita is not very imaginative. Always the dogs (why, what, how), the 'coincidence' between the files and the book, the strange behaviours, namely Kate's, no much more than that.
Oh, and the mad woman was there! I didn't see anybody besides the media at the door, but ten meters away I heard her 'long live Dr. Gonçalo Amaral'. I believe she was completely alone.
My opinion? Amaral must be thinking to himself 'with friends like these who needs ennemies?'
Well, and I'm going to try to get some sleep, I'll have to get up at 4:30...
Night all, hope this very very short summary is of any use.
Rosie, you are being very unfair to Amaral. I went down with him today on the elevator and his earring is very very discreet, small even. Actually, I believe he must have two, cause yesterday I could sware he was wearing a cross, silver, white gold or platinum...
Another important issue. Do you know what a majorette is? I believe that the mad woman is a Gonçalette... And she takes her job very seriously, shouting everytime someone gets in or out. Tonight she decided to declare that Gonçalo Amaral is a grande (big or large, take your pick...) man, he is no cheminee cleaner...???
Pedro, you are in charge of the press, they all are writing about the trial and the McCanns. Of course, do not expect big surprises. But I have a good one on that aspect. There is an article in Destak, a free paper available at all train stations (and subway?) about the couple/case. Didn't read it, stupidly today I did not pick up a paper, but I know it is a good article. Will try and see if I can get it tomorrow.
Do not worry, Amaral had no better luck with today's witnesses. The first was great Moita Flores, on video conference. As you know, we can't see anything, the screen is oriented to the judge, lawyers etc. We can only listen. And I listened. I listened to him saying that Amaral was a good professional, the best, they had a workplace frienship, not more than that, but he knew he was very very good on everything he did, starting at the drug squad. I listened him saying that the book faithfully reflected what is in the files. I also listened him saying that if what happened to Amaral - the defamation, descredit, family intrusion, insults - from the english press had happened to him, he would probably do much worse than Amaral. I listened to him when he said that from the very first minute he and all the others knew that the parents were staging something by staging an abduction. I listened to him saying that the media circus was very well orchestrated and aimed at putting pressure on the police, to descredit and demoralise them.I listened to him saying that no abductor could ever remove Madeleine through that window unless he had 4 hands and 4 feet, and he should be very stupid to use a window when he had a door easily at hand. Then for a moment there was some confusion with the lawyers looking for something, I did not listen to him telling an employee of the tribunal of Santarém that he was giving a witness account to a trial, he didn't know which trial it was, but a trial anyway. I did not listen, I only heard the judge telling him, with a very nice smile, that he was on loud voice (loud speakers?) and the whole court room heard his doubt so she informed him that he was giving evidence on the appeal moved by Amaral. I just heard Sandra Felgueiras on RTP2 saying that MF made a two hours statement, so I would say that he repeated these things I just said for one hour and a half, varying only the format, not the contents. Then, Isabel started her questioning. She was divine (lack of better word).(we had been talking before and agreed that MF was THE man needed to descredit the 'book'). She asked him if he ever had been at PdL, to which he said yes, once, for a SIC direct programme. She asked him several times how high was that window, to which he always answered he did not remember (although he had been in front of it during that tv program). She told him that the book in fact contained some things that are not in the files, like descriptions of the weather, states of mind, feelings of the author. He agreed. So the book was not in 'investigation format', he agreed again. So, she said, if the book was not an investigation, what was it, a romance, a novel, an essay? He thought loud, expressing why it was nothing of that, as it was not fictional, and concluded it was an autobiography. Isabel asked then if an autobiography was unbiased. He hesitate only a moment and said no, not necessarily, but the conclusion stands (that there was no abduction, Madeleine died at 5A, the parents concealed the body, etc). Even if it contradicts the conclusion drawn by the prosecutor, she asked. Yes, he said, the conclusion drawn by the prosecutor is nothing more than the prosecutor's opinion. Bruhaha in the room. I was so busy bruhahaing that I did not look to the judge, but I'm sure she jumped like everybody else. Isabel insisted, who directs an investigation? The prosecutor, he answered. Who concludes an investigation, she asked. The prosecutor, he answered. 'Are you saying that the opinion of an investigator is more accurate that the technical, founded opinion of a prosecutor?' 'They are not the way, the light and the life' (Jesus words, I'm the way, the light and the life, I don't know if this translation is correct). End of statement. I bet a penny to one hundred quid (as you say) that the judge wasn't happy.
Then Luis (?) Anes, a retired university professor (antropology) and former director for many years of the forensics lab of PJ (LPC). He did read the book, did NOT see the files. Well, yes, the book looked accurate, but if it was him he would probably handle it in another way or even not do it at all. Yes, of course he understands the anger and sense of useless (not a good word) of Amaral, but if it was him he would probably handle it in a different way or even not do it at all. Oh yes, he understands the position Amaral was put in, he himself went through similar processes once or twice in his time, but he handled them in a different way. And so on and so forth. Very honest man, therefore not very much in line with Amaral.
The two other witnesses were from Guerra e Paz, not very interesting, the judge did not allow Isabel to even touch the subject of how much money ... So, I did not feel they were exciting, sorry. Also, they didn't look to have slipped much. It was only determined that Amaral would write/publish the book after his retirement had come through (when he finally regained his 'freedom of expression'), no special concerns about publishing before or after the process shelving and secrecy lifted. They came out quite clean I think. 180.000 books printed, not necessarily sold. Very difficult to know exactly how many weren't sold given the distribution organisation. There is no brazilian edition, only Dinalivro, a company dedicated to sell brazilian books in Portugal and portuguese books in Brazil, requested for 4 000 books to export to Brazil.
And now, my dear friends, bedtime. My dogs look at me in the morning and I can clearly see in their eyes that they think I definitely went nuts: breakfast at 4:30 in the morning? After last pee and dinner the previous 21:00? They are asleep already, like babies.
Good night all, talk to you tomorrow.
2ndday (part two)
Because he knew that Amaral was such a good investigator, he decided to write the preface of the book titling it as 'The truth of Locard' (actually, I'm not sure if it is the 'truth' or the 'question', this confusion also lead Isabel, later, to ask the question, and he answered that it was the same thing, so no problem with the title of the preface), being Locard (end of XIX century) the master and creator of modern criminal investigation followed by all police forces all over the world. (Bluj?). It is pathetic to say that the book could hamper the search for Madeleine. The parents want to convince the police that it was an abduction. This doesn't happen anywhere in the world. All the hypothesis must be followed. Madeleine's death is not attributed to the parents. He knows the reasons why they were made arguidos, and they were correctly made arguidos. They knew from the beginning that there was no abduction at all but not that the child was killed by A or B. They knew that a story, a fable was being told, built. He also spoke to a french colleague who agreed with the view that all hypothesis should be taken into account. What is astonishing is that portuguese authorities have 2 weights and 2 measures re negligence. He does not agree that a case already closed cannot be commented. There are cases of censorship in dictatorships. There is no attack on the good name and dignity, not on the McCann's. All the PJ suggestions were accepted by the prosecutor, although the final PJ report was not. On the reverse, the final (prosecution) report is a handwash (not a 'whitewash') and must be discussed it is 'pilatesque' (from Pôncio Pilatos, the roman consul who washed his hands handing Jesus to the jews to be trialed). It was Amaral who was insulted. JFK case is still discussed today. The same will happen with this one. It would be a mistake to forbid it. He doesn't know people who had written on cases they worked on (?). It is normal, it is not normal in China and other countries without freedom. The activities of searching Madeleine are just mystifications to pass the idea that there were no investigations on the hypothesis of abduction.
He followed this case. He was interviewed and answered objectively. English media reported that he minimized the results. He worked for Amaral in Joana case as well as on this one. There was strong conviction as methodology it is good to go public sa Amaral went public but then there was process archiving, there had been contamination, we know about contamination (OJSimpson). The court needs indices. It is not common to go public, this case was victim of friendly fire. It is understandable but there were moments when he (Amaral) couldn't keep quiet.
Answering Cabrita's questions
He read the book quickly, he thinks the hypothesis is good but there is something missing. He remembers Moita Flores writing about the Cavacos (should be some old case, don't know). His thesis (the witness') about Camarate (a plane crash in Lisbon where the prime minister and several other government members were killed more than 20 years ago) was not accepted, he still makes statements on that, he doesn't ponder to write a book about that. He applies self-'restriction', does not cross that boundary. He still respects Amaral but he immediately suspected that these proclamations would have consequences, but he still thinks that things should be public. There are repreensible procedures from the english forensic police, it happened before in other cases. He did not read the process. The book didn't seem very offensive.
Answering another lawyer's question (TVI I think)
There were incorrect procedures on the crime scene isolation (it doesn't come to me the correct word now, sorry), not only by PJ the family as well. Foreign detectives are usually impecable, although sometimes there are interferences. When it comes to DNA questions, it must be 100%, 80% is simply not good enough. This investigation was victim of friendly fire, with new news everyday in the press. Causes the desire of a public investigation. The investigation is blocked but Amaral's is a good theory. If a correct attitude in the gathering and preservation of indices is not in place, the investigation is lost. (Isabel-Amaral's thesis exclude the thesis of abduction and that Madeleine is alive) There is a strong belief, but it should be said in a different way. It is safer, more 'armoured' not to talk. We all have the right to free speech but it is necessary to think about the next step, it can offend someone else's rights. (Isabel-do you think that an investigator who believes that Madeleine is dead will investigate for a living Madeleine) There are experiences where changing the investigator the investigation changes.
Well well well...
Mário Rui Sena Lopes (publishing director for Guerra e Paz)
It has been his responsibility to make the deal to acquire 'patrimonial' rights (physical not moral) over the book, no rights regarding audio-visual of any kind. Launch on the 27/28th of July 2008. On sale on every kiosk, book shops, supermarkets, distributed with Correio da Manhã (bought separately). Many books offered to tv entertainment programs. The book was ready during the first week of July 2008, already revised and printed. By the launching date, there were already two editions ready. Promotion, media impact immediate. Sales team procedures normal for a book based on facts non speculative. Available to journalists 24 hours in advance. Press release. Interviews directed to the author. 12 editions, 10 to 30.000 books each, 170 to 180.000 in total. It is difficult to say exactly how many books were sold, giving the structure of distribution. Before the last edition, there might be 30 to 35.000 books still in the market, so in practice it was not sold out. Last edition September 2008. Several foreign editions.Spain (could cover spanish latin America), France (could cover Belgium) Germany (could cover Austria and german swiss cantons), Holland, Denmark (could also be sold in Sweden and Finland, languages very easily understandable between these countries). There were requests from UK and USA. English translation not authorized (net). Portuguese edition on the net, suspended.Images in the book were drawings, the pictures were made available by ??? (couldn't aunderstand). New editions no changes to text, changes on the distribution only. The cover is not Amaral's, it is done by a designer they probably exchanged opinions. On Amaral's request, the book wasn't launched before he was definitely retired. No he didn't take any precautions re the secrecy law that could still be in force. There were already conversations for an edition in the UK, they were at a preliminar phase at the date of the injunction. They still hadn't precise juridical informations. Isabel calls his attention to the fact that the french version does not include a full chapter (the one about the 'fraudulent' fund). He feels that the cover calls the attention to the essential thesis of the book. They had very little time to make the book.
The second witness from Guerra e Paz, can't remember exactly her job, gave more or less the same information, not so complete, but in no way contradictory and certainly nothing new.
I went through your posts and felt very 'cosy'. I'm happy that my accounts, although incomplete and sometimes too light still do interest you and provide some additional information. Thank you all.
I was planning to write a similar report today, but it turned up that today was a very emotional day, so I decided to write two posts, being this one dedicated mostly to relationships.
In the morning, it actually was funny. Fiona came with Kate and Isabel. I was introduced to her and without warning Isabel said 'They want to know everything about you' and all of them laughed out loud. I was intrigued, but somewhat reluctantly I started 'I'm sixty,...' and Kate and Fiona laughed even more and said 'We don't want to know, we don't want to know'. I didn't get it, so I turned to Isabel and asked her why were they pulling my leg. She explained. It was the 'media circus' downstairs who were very curious about me and asked questions to ALL three of them trying to know who I was, thinking that I was british... (they said that I was portuguese and they didn't know me at all). The portuguese pink press even called the PR people yesterday, asking them who I was and if they could arrange for a press conference... We certainly had a very good laugh this morning!
Isabel invited me for lunch and that's when it started. I don't know how, they started talking about ages, and it turned out that I was the eldest. I think it was Isabel who said that they all should look at me and I said that I was no role model to anyone. That's when Kate, already in a mixed mood, said something like 'I think you'r good'. I noticed the sad tone and Fiona's worried look at her. But we were already late, so me, Isabel and her assistant rushed back to court, leaving them behind doing something on the computer. When Kate arrived at the courtroom, she had already aged again, she looked again very fragile.
About 4pm the judge made a break. I went to the toilet and when I was coming back I met Kate and Fiona by the elevator, preparing to leave to the airport. My heart suddenly became very heavy, I kissed Kate and Fiona, Kate said with very strangled voice 'I hope we meet again in better circumstances'. She was very close to tears, I was frozen. It only occured to me 'Come on' and I caressed her in the face and kissed her. I didn't dare hugging her, she would certainly break down. I almost run away, couldn't do anything else.
More to follow.
At long last, I'm starting the report on the third day of hearings.
As you remember, Gerry is back home, Fiona takes over supporting Kate.
Today, there will be two witnesses for Valentim de Carvalho, the video (and future fiction film) producer, and another 2 from TVI, the tv station who bought the transmission rights for Portugal.
I did not take note of the names and jobs, sorry, but I believe we will be able to discover them, either somewhere in the forum (I'm sure I have seen them already) or outside in reports and media pieces.
1. ? Director for Valentim de Carvalho
When identifiying himself, he reveals that he is a former PJ, not at the course as Amaral but they had sporadic contacts, so he knows quite a bit about criminal investigation. He trusts Amaral. As usual, the judge asks for dates for the different jobs he has had.
Starting his statement, he says that VC acquired the rights to make a video and, later, a fiction film on the subject. The video will be made based on the book. As a remark, the video will contain the refference that the only certainty is that Madeleine disappeared on that night, he says. VC is a producer. He refers his personal previous contact with Amaral, then refers that he signed the contract without any discussion, gave advice to Amaral (presumably on the contract) but didn't discuss. It was a licensing contract, with VC acquiring the rights to make a video or a film, and where Amaral would necessarily be the narrator. The narrator has rights, very similar or the same as an actor. No, neither the book or the video do accuse the parents of murdering Madeleine. He knows the files through the media. He explains how the criminal investigation is conducted based on his experience. It looks to him like that some facts are missing. Amaral ommitted his interpretation of the facts. During the investigation an hypothesis was built according to which Madeleine died in the apartment. Soiled reputation, he decided to retire and write, he was angry.. The book points out to one dilligence, or lack of it, this dilligence was necessary to confirm or deny the hypothesis. The judge interrupts to confirm if the contract was signed on the 12th of March 2008? It was. He goes on. What triggered the writing of the book was that he was being contradicted (not good translation...), he had lost the investigation, had no support from PJ, therefore he decided to bring out in the public what he thought. Because he was convinced that there were interferences, he decided like that. In defence of his professional honour, he didn't do anything to defend his personal honour, didn't sue, nothing. Again, he understood that not all dilligences had been made . The objective is to clarify. To bring back the issue of professional competence or incompetence. To the question if he didn't think that that book added to the pain of the parents, he answers no. The biggest pain anyone can suffer is the loss of own child. Nothing coming afterwards would be worse or add to that pain, that would be impossible. He's a father too, may God forbid, he doesn't know what he would do if he lost a child. It is normal to loose your parents, your partner even, it hurts but that's normal in life. But a child... God forbid. Doesn't he think that the book could slow or stop the search for Madeleine? No, the process was shelved, so it even helps. Before the book was published, the leaks were so many that everybody already knew. He saw (read?) the process on the net. The documentary was shown on TVI, then subtitled and put illegally on the net. It was legally shown and then sold with Correio da Manhã. Everything on the net is illegal and not authorized. A complaint was filed to the PJ. When this injunction took place everything had already happened. The fact that there is no more propagation doesn't change the one that has already been made. Isabel then explains that the injunction was filed 4 days after the first airing of the video, it couldn't be done before that. (somehow, he gets angry and starts explaining what criminal investigation is, ending with the hypothesis, that, after demonstration, becomes a thesis). What is in the book is an hypotesis. Isabel asks if it is an hypothesis or a thesis. Hypothesis or thesis that's the same thing, he shouts. The aim was to prove the hypothesis. Saw the video and owns one. Doesn't know if Levy, Corte Real, the Ministry of Justice interfered/intervened (???). He didn't read the process in its entirety. Isabel: where did he read it, in the net. What colour has the first page of the process in the net? What colour? Does it matter? Doesn't remember. Isabel then asks if he thinks that it is right that, to defend himself from offences committed by third parties Amaral makes accusations to two people that were illibated, but the judge didn't accept the question.
2. ? Video Director
The contents of the video is an adaptation of the book and this has to do with Amaral's thesis. The screenplay was made by a journalist with Amaral's cooperation. It contains material from archives as well as original images, Amaral's declaration and reconstitution. The master id an HD cassette. He stresses that the conclusion from the video is that the mistery persists. (I stopped taking notes, I was astonished, so from here on it is only by heart). Nothing special about the screenplay, it is just a screenplay. The important thing was that screenplay was faithful to the book, which it was, so he had not to worry about the book's contents or accuracy. He is a film director, his job was to direct the video, which he did. No, he doesn't think about feelings when he directs a film or a video. Isabel wrapped up with the question 'Do you have children?' No, he answered. (so low voice that I can be mistaken).
3. ? TVI
TVI aquired the rights of transmission of the video for the portuguese market. TVI was very enthousiastic about the video as it was about a subject very much on the top interest of the public at the time, this would ensure high audience level. Specially if aired in prime time, that is, just after the evening news. So it was, the audience topped the 2.4 million people, by very far the highest audience level that evening.
4. ? (International Relations?) TVI
TVI did not intervene on any phase of the video making. She didn't know Amaral and never spoke to him. The decision to buy was their General Manager's, José Eduardo Moniz. They thought it was a good acquisition (subject, contents) because it was on the top of public preferences. Current contents, no collages. TVI did not make comments on the video, only a short declaration to position the spectator (actually, Amaral's declaration from the video was included on this self promotion TVI spot). Objective : national interest, so spread (propagate). TVI doesn't make judgements. A short framework just before the airing, at least the first time. They reached some 2.4 million people. Then they were approached by Menthor, distributor for Channel4 about the other video and after very quick negotiations they signed the Memo Deal (or Deal Memo? seems this is the correct title, but everybody calls it Memo Deal), which would give them exclusive rights of transmission in Portugal. On international relations, everybody accepts this Memo Deal as a real contract although it states 'contract pending'. However, some 10 days later, they were informed that the deal was off as the McCann family would not allow it. They were also informed that the reffusal was not for the country but for the station. They were interested in presenting another documentary, probably defending a different thesis (???...). High pressure from the General Manager, because of the audience level it could reach. Again, a 'clean' acquisition without any intervention of the station over the contents (thesis). Pressure over Menthor and C4. They were informed that another station had bought it (SIC). Tried an injunction based on the Memo Deal but lost given the fact that it says 'contract pending', that is, for a court this is not a contract, although internationally regarded as such. C4 documentary aired on SIC. Oprah's interview as well, as SIC has an exclusive contract with Oprah. Saw just a bit of Oprah's interview in one of the SIC news bulletins. So, second exhibition of Amaral's documentary on the same day and time as the C4 video on SIC, only to 'hit' SIC on the audience share (answer to Isabel). Yes, a bit 'foul play' (answer to Isabel). Had an idea that there was some special date approaching, but didn't know which or when (answer to Isabel). Again she reinforces that the only objective is audience share, no judgements are made over the contents (answer to Isabel). Several times she comments that TVI is the station with the highest share. Several times she refers that the GM (at the time) was sort of obsessed with audience share.
And that's all for the day, I think. More to follow on the 10th of February.