Saturday, 26 February 2011

Can we trust these files?


Article by Honestbroker.

There is a tale to tell from the enclosed correspondance, in the files, between Goncalo Amaral and the Portguese Forensic laboratory. Or at least, that's how it's presented. But closer analyis suggests a different story and raises some intriguing discrepancies.

Amaral sent a pair of duplicate pyjamas, pristine and unworn, to the forensic laboratory. Why he did that is an intriguing question in itself, and perhaps, one deserving of an article in its own right. But my focus, here, is very different.

Here is Amaral's letter, dated 5th of June, when he was, indeed, coordinator of the case:

To: Police Scientific Laboratory
Lisbon

5th June 2007

Subject: Sending of Pyjamas

The present inquiry investigates the disappearance of Madeleine McCann on 3rd May 2007. I am herewith delivering to the Police Scientific Laboratory a pair of girl?s pyjamas.

The Pyjamas are from Marks and Spencers, size 2 to 3 years -97 cm.

The pyjamas are composed of two pieces: camisole type without buttons and half sleeves, pink with designs, letters and tracing in white with (small) floral patterns, the right pyjama bottom leg has a design (smaller size) which is identical to that of the camisole.

The pyjamas being sent are 'equal' in make, model, size, colours and designs as well as presumably the texture, to those the little girl was wearing at the time of her disappearance. The article sent serves for eventual comparisons with fibres collected by the competent officers of the Police Scientific Lab, within the scope of the current investigation.

With compliments

Signed

The Coordinator of the Criminal Investigation

Goncalo Amaral

Here is the response:

Processos Vol VII Page 1723 to 1725 07_VOLUME_VI1a_Page_1723


Letter
To: The Coordinator of the Criminal Investigation

Date: 2007/03/15 (sic)

Ref: NUIPC 201/07 GALGS

Your communication: 2007/06/05

Ref n? 15971 Reg Correspondence 6429/07

Subject: Information

With reference to the abovementioned letter and in compliance with the despatch, we request you to provide us with information with regard to what should be done with the material sent, given that in this Scientific Police Laboratory there are no fibres that have been collected within the scope of the investigation mentioned above.

With compliments.

PP The Director of the SPL
Armando Santos
(Haed of Sector) 07 Processos Vol VII Page 172407_VOLUME_VI1a_Page_1724

The first thing to note is the date. 15 March 2007, some six weeks before the McCanns arrived in Portgual. The translator, not me, added 'sic' after the date, to indicate that he/she had registered the error and copied, literally, what was written.

So, is this a straightforward typing error by the laboratory? Closer analysis suggests it might not be. Notice that the letter is addressed to the [i]coordinator of the criminal investigation[/i], but that the person is not named. In the text of the original Portuguese document, from which the translation is derived, and which can be enlarged to readable form if clicked on, the name of the addressee is given -- not Goncalo Amaral and neither his successor Paulo Rebelo, but Joao Carlos, an inspector in the Madeleine investigation, but never the coordinator.

Notice something else, too. The reply makes no reference to 'pyjamas' -- only 'material'.
The anomolies don't stop there. Here is Amaral's response to the reply from the Portuguese Forensic Institute:

To: Scientific Police Laboratory

Date: 5th June 2007

Subject: Sending of Pyjamas

The present inquiry investigates the disappearance of Madeleine McCann on 3rd May 2007 from P da L.

By means of this note I am sending a set of child?s pyjamas to the Scientific Police Laboratory.

The pyjamas are of Marks $ Spencers make and size 2/3 years, 97 cm.

The pyjamas are composed of two pieces, a camisole without buttons and half length sleeves, pink in colour with designs and letters and white trousers with floral motifs (small), on the right leg there is a design (smaller size) that is the same as the design on the camisole.

The pyjamas being sent are ?equal? in make, model, size, colours and designs and presumably texture, as those the girl was wearing at the moment of her disappearance.

The article sent serves for eventual comparison with ?fibres? collected during the competent examinations carried out by staff from the SPL, within this inquiry.

Compliments.

G. Amaral

(Note: there is handwriting over the text which I can?t fully make out).

This reply is word-for-word the same as Amaral's original letter, except for the last sentences of each letter, which are ever so slightly different. And Amaral's 'reply' has the same date as his first letter. Presumably they are two different letters from Amaral, because each has a different reference number within the file.

The reference number of the first letter is 07 Processos Vol VII Page 1713. The second is 07 Processos Vol vVII Page 1724.

Is the 'reply' to Amaral from the Institute, actually, from an altogether different case? We'll probably never know.