Tuesday, 16 November 2010

Second Hand Goncalo

Goncalo’s account of the arrival of the UK liaison officers and their ‘dismissal’ by Kate

From two different translations of Amaral’s book, The Truth of the Lie, I have found on the net:

The first British police officer to come to PJ headquarters in Portimão, on Saturday, May 5, was Glen Power, liaison officer for the British Police, assigned to the British Embassy in Lisbon. Amaral knew him very well and since long time, they worked together in many high profile cases, related to organized crime. Glen told Amaral that he was “too busy”, so he couldn't stay there, Leicestershire police would send a team. 

Two days after, British police officers start to arrive. Bob Small, Leicester head of CID came with a colleague. Amaral put one of his inspectors “close” to Bob Small, because, as he wrote, “in Portugal, it's still the dog that wags the tail”. After that, another two police officers arrived – family liaison officers, to give psychological support to the family and to work as a “link” between the family and PJ.

On May 14, the McCann “dismissed” the two family liaison officers, after Kate was “shocked and frustrated” because they asked her where was her daughter. They were in PdL for less than a week. British police told nothing to PJ, officially, concerning this incident, but Amaral knew it and one of the PJ investigators, who spoke fluent English, was assigned to be the communication “link” with the parents.

Alternative translation: 

After Madeleine's disappearance, the first English police officer whom we welcome to the Portimao Department of Criminal Investigation, on May 5th, is Glen Power, liaison officer to Portugal. The brief of this police official attached to his country's embassy is to facilitate communication between police forces.

Two days later, English colleagues begin to arrive. The main idea was for the English police to place at our disposal two specialists in family supervision and support to be the link between the Portuguese investigators and the McCanns. The National Directorate of the PJ had authorised the arrival of these police officers in the context of international collaboration. Bob Small, an officer from the Leicestershire police, and one of his colleagues meet us to take stock of the situation and evaluate the needs of the investigation before making contact with the couple.

We insist on knowing what our English counterparts have come to Portugal to do. I assign one of my investigators to follow the English superintendent like a shadow and to keep me informed about his actions. I want to be informed of everything he learns, the names of the people he meets and the places he goes to.

Then the two police officers arrive who are assigned to psychological support and communication with the family. 

On May 14th, Kate Healy is indignant about the attitude of the liaison officer, who asks her where her daughter is. Neither she nor her husband accepts anyone doubting their word. The officer will be sent packing - and his colleague too - a week after his arrival. 

Curiously, the English do not consider it expedient to disclose the incident and the PJ are not informed. Myself, I only learn of it indirectly. Finally, a solution is found quickly: the two men are replaced by a Portuguese man who speaks fluent English.

(This man I believe is Ricardo Paiva)

Ok, those are the two most common versions and they don’t differ very much.

My first question is – what was Bob Small? A liaison officer for the family or something more? Amaral seems vague about it. He confuses the liaison officers with others, and jumps about so much it’s hard to nail down who is supposed to be liaison officer and who isn’t.

However, from the files we learn: there are six people who give statements under the rogatories as having been liaison officers for the McCanns:

Eleanor Johnson
Caroline Burrows
Stephen Markley
Jim McGarvey
Neil Holden
Michael Graham

Only two of these, Markley and McGarvey, give a date for their arrival in PDL and they both speak of talking to the McCanns on May 5th!! This doesn’t seem to tie in at all with Goncalo’s timeline of their arrival.

He also admits he heard about the two that were ‘dismissed’ second hand. He also claims that the two who were supposedly sent packing were replaced by one Portuguese person who speaks very good English.

As Ricardo Paiva is referred to elsewhere as a liaison officer I can only think it is him, and indeed it is commonly assumed to be.

But he cannot possibly have replaced the UK officers’ liaison role, given that their aim was to act as a conduit between the forces and the McCanns and to offer ‘psychological support’. The very idea that Paiva can have done this is ridiculous.

The more I look at what GA has written the more I am convinced that:

1) Amaral was actually vague about what was going on. He’s confused about the role of different people and quite simply makes mistakes in his narrative.

2) There is no independent verification for the idea that Kate sent officers packing. Not even from those officers’ own statements.

3) The dates he gives for the arrival of the first liaison officers are simply wrong.

4) Paiva cannot have taken over as liaison officer in place of UK bodies, but Amaral may have taken an opportunity to insert him into the McCanns milieu in order to get information while posing as a sympathetic face; he then made up a story about how it came about in order to cover the fact he had done it.

I do think we need to account for the number of LOs listed in the Rogatories, as above. Presumably two people at any one time would have been sufficient, and this is what the two governments agreed. Seeing six might give the impression that he is right and that two were dismissed – however it’s very unlikely that the same two people would stay out there from May to September. Over four months is a long while for those living away from their families. I think they will have been periodically changed, or rotated.

In any eventuality NONE of them have a word to say about the McCanns causing them concerns over their culpability, in fact the two that give dates do so in order to report that Kate had volunteered that Madeleine had previously cried during the night. They do not to me sound at all hostile, and yet these are the two we KNOW were there from the beginning. If they were there on the 5th then it seems very likely to me that they are the original pair of LOs. And if they are the original pair, then they should also be the ones who were ‘dismissed’ no??

So we are left with an Amaral who admits he had all this second hand, who thinks that Paiva replaced English officers as psychological support (patently absurd), who cannot back up his second-hand allegations with anything resembling fact, and who admits, astonishingly, to having wasted one of his investigators on tailing British cops who had been sent over to help!

By Preciousramotswe