Friday, 20 May 2011

Just one more question Ma’am!

By Vee8

The infamous forty eight questions! After the now discredited dog ‘Evidence’ perhaps arguably the most inexhaustible point of discussion among the anti-Madeleines. ”Why did Kate refuse to answer them?” “She should be made to go back to Portugal to answer those questions!” “If she was truly innocent she would have answered them!” And so on and so on ad nauseas. But one comment that I particularly remember, and one that is still oft quoted, “If it were MY daughter who had disappeared I would answer ANY questions, if I thought they would help find her.” Well people, so would I.


But let’s look at that point in reverse for a moment. If you were Kate, and if the investigation actually WERE engaged in actively trying to find Madeleine and apprehend the culprit, what sort of questions would you expect to be asked? Perhaps something along the lines of,

“Did you ever notice anyone suspicious hanging around outside the apartment?”

“When on the beach, did you notice anyone paying undue attention to yourselves, or Madeleine?”

“Did you notice any person, staff or guest, taking pictures of Madeleine?”

“Did Madeleine ever mention any new ‘Friends’ that she had made?”

“Did she ever bring home any ‘Gifts’?”

“Did she ever act nervous or uncomfortable when around a particular person?”

“Did she ever talk about going ‘On a trip’?”

Now THOSE are the sort of questions I would expect, IF the investigation were looking for Madeleine, and if I were Kate, I wouldn’t hesitate to ask. Questions that would help point to a suspect, or help show a means and/or motive. In short, questions that really WOULD help find Madeleine. Instead, what did Kate have to suffer? Questions that clearly showed that the PJ had no further intention of looking for Madeleine, and every intention of implicating Kate in her disappearance. No wonder her savvy solicitor instructed her to remain silent.

Let’s look at some of these questions more closely.

“Why did you say from the start that Madeleine had been abducted?”

Seriously, you come into the apartment, your child’s bed is empty and the window, which was closed, is now open. You have searched the whole apartment in a state of ever increasing panic and despair, but your child is missing. What assumption would YOU make? That your child had opened the window by themselves and run away to join the circus?

“Assuming Madeleine had been abducted, why did you leave the twins home alone to go to the ‘Tapas’ and raise the alarm? Because the supposed abductor could still be in the apartment.”

Now, as we already pointed out, Kate had by now searched the apartment several times over, long enough to find any loitering abductor. This was in her original statement, so why would the PJ assume the possibility of the abductor still being present?

“What was Madeleine’s relationship like with her brother and sister?”

In other words, is it possible that her younger siblings, in a fit of jealousy, conspired together to commit an act of toddlercide?

“Before travelling to Portugal did you make any comment about a foreboding or a bad feeling?”

I mean, come on, premonitions? Forebodings? Bad omens? Is this what we expect of a modern, civilised police enquiry? Did they really expect Kate to blame FATE?

But the following questions should have had NO RIGHT WHATSOEVER even being in this part of the enquiry.

“Is it true that sometimes you despaired with your children’s behaviour and that left you feeling very uneasy?”

“Is it true that in England you even considered handing over Madeleine’s custody to a relative?”

Because these questions are based on the supposed extracts from Kate’s diary, extracts that were shown by the PJ themselves to have been forged by a Portuguese journalist on the orders of his editor. There was even a rare press report on TV from a PJ spokesman, denouncing these extracts, and confirming that those responsible may face charges for wasting police time. The interviewer knew damn well the questions were, in fact, based on these scurrilous press reports, so why should he then ask the questions anyway?

So, do any of these questions help to actually find Madeleine?

No, and for one very important reason, one that is continually overlooked, forgotten or simply brushed aside by the anti-Madeleines. I have to admit it here, that it annoys me intensely to have to state the obvious, but Kate had just been made an Arguida, a special interest person. In other words, the PJ had by now made it perfectly clear to Kate that they suspected her in the disappearance of her daughter. It also now became crystal clear to her, and so it should now also be clear to everyone else, that because they were concentrating their efforts on Kate, they had by now, to all intents and purposes, given up any attempt at finding a live Madeleine. And if THAT was the case, then it should be clear to all of us that the questions would do NOTHING to help find Madeleine, but could only serve to implicate Kate.

But there was one question that Kate did answer.

"Are you aware that in not answering the questions you are jeopardising the investigation, which seeks to discover what happened to your daughter?"

“Yes, if that’s what the investigation thinks.”

Read that question again, very carefully. You are jeopardising the investigation. NOT you are jeopardising our chances of finding Madeleine, NOT you are jeopardising your chances of seeing your daughter again, but jeopardising the investigation. Which, as we all now know, had given up all pretentions of looking for her.

Sunday, 15 May 2011

“Plea Bargains” and Lies – But Not the Lies You Might Think

Article By Honestbroker

It's begun already, the attempted “rebuttal” to Kate's magnificent, unputdownable, superbly narrated heart-rending book. Said 'rebuttal' has got off to a damp squib of a start. Somewhere in the ether (I'll leave you to find where) floats a youtube video that casts aspersions on Kate's description of the offer that was put to her and Gerry in the early hours of the morning 7th September, after Kate's pre-arguida interview had finally finished at 0040 hours the same day. If the poster Heidi Ho (who produced this video) doubts the veracity of Kate's account, she should try something novel, such as reading the files, then she would know beyond doubt that Kate is telling the truth.

The video makes one point that is true, but also a non-sequitur – even in judicial systems that allow them, 'plea-bargains' are only possible after charges have been brought. The plea bargain is an arrangement intended to speed up the course of justice whereby agreement can be reached with the accused that more serious charges will be dropped in return for a promise from the accused that he/she will plead guilty to less serious charges for which comparatively lenient sentences will be imposed. Before charges are brought, a plea-bargain is impossible, and in countries such as Portugal, where the police and judiciary operate independently of each other, they are not possible at all.

Of course, Kate and Gerry were never charged. Still, in Portugal, as elsewhere, there are prescribed punishments for specific crimes. And in Portugal, the particular crime of concealing a body in an attempt to hide a death carries a sentence of two-years' imprisonment. So the offer put to the couple that if Kate agreed to plead guilty to the charge of finding and concealing a body (that of her beloved and cherished daughter, Madeleine), she would receive a two-year sentence, while the PJ would not pursue charges against Gerry, is quite feasible and quite lawful. Whether it is also ethical is a whole different question. But let's ignore that.

The alternative put to the couple was that the PJ would pursue charges, not of attempting to conceal a body, but of murder, against both of them, for which the maximum term of imprisonment in Portugal is 25 years. That, also, is prescribed in law, and so doesn't remotely invoke “plea bargain”.

We can be certain that what Kate says is true by comparing what Amaral says in interviews with what is written in the files.

In that El Mundo interview I have referred to before, Amaral says this:

A - Both the British and Portuguese police, and even the prosecutor, who has already changed his mind, thought the same. We talked about death by others, not murder. In the room, blood and cadaver odour was found just below a window where a sofa was. The father was talking to a friend just outside that window for a while. The girl was not a heavy sleeper, that's what the parents said. Perhaps she heard her father and climbed to the sofa below the window. But the parents, for the girl not to go out, moved it away from the wall. Madeleine could have fallen.

Q - The girl falls from the sofa, dies with the blow and the parents find her.

A - The mother. It is the mother who finds the girl dead.

They didn't talk about murder? Oh yes they did!

Read this, from Mark Harrison's report:

In considering the two scenarios that Madeleine McCann has been murdered and her body disposed of by a person on foot or in a vehicle, I have reflected on the areas within zone 1 that have been previously searched or subject to forensic examination.

Note that the two scenarios are disposal of a body by foot or by car. Both are death by murder.

The strategy of the PJ becomes clear and is laid bare. From way before Eddie and Keela even arrived, the PJ had formulated their theory of death by unnatural means and had invited exploration of death by murder. They wanted a conviction and they'd go for the 'soft option' of concealment of a crime by disposing of a body, applicable to just one of the arguidos, as a fall-back position from the more aggressive approach of threatening to bring murder charges against both arguido/as. That fits in perfectly with what Kate describes.

However (thank goodness) the joint reaction of Kate and Gerry was not what the PJ was hoping for. The McCanns' initial, and primary response, was thought of the implications of what had been proposed for Madeleine. If they agreed to this, in the eyes of the PJ and the world, the crime would be 'cracked'. What odds of finding Madeleine then? Obviously nil. On that ground alone, the McCanns would not entertain any such chicanery. But there was the ancillary point that they had no intention of submitting to scurrilous accusation of misdeeds of which they were completely innocent. More than that, having been shown the videos of the dogs in action, they were convinced that ex-PC Grime's finest (allegedly employed by the FBI!) were really not very good, and inclined to obey the beckon-call of their master (allegedly advisor to the FBI) after copious direction. Countless others of us who have watched the same videos have come to the same conclusion.

Still, the PJ availed themselves the maximum chance of this strategy working. They hit the McCanns with this proposed 'deal' in the early hours of the morning, when they were surely at their weakest and most vulnerable, after Kate had undergone gruelling examination, had seen videos of the dogs in action and had been subjected to the corrupt misinterpretation of John Lowe's report that 15 of 19 markers of Madeleine's DNA had been found in the car. At that stage, of course, neither Kate nor Gerry had had the chance to read the report of John Lowe of the Forensic Science Service themselves, and so were unable to separate the wheat from the chaff, (the latter) copiously served to them by the PJ. But against all the odds, they didn't crack. Thank goodness they were, at least, spared the added ordeal of pysical assault to which Leonor Cipriaono, who languishes in a Portuguese jail to this day, was subjected.

So, there's just one question left to answer: plea-bargain, Where did it come from?

In an interview to an Irish radio station, Gerry's sister and Kate's sister-in-law, Philomena McCann, in describing accurately what, exactly, had befallen Kate and Gerry in those offices in Portameo, had let slip layman's use of a legal term, 'plea bargain', that wasn't quite exactly accurate, in the scheme of things, a trivial slip, scarcely worth any more acknowledgement than a passing nod.

Finally, Heide ho should catch up on her knowledge of those dogs. They never were employed by the FBI as she claims. Indeed, the licences of both dogs to operate as sniffer dogs expired while they were employed under the direction of the (freelance, ex PC) handler, Marin Grime, in Haute de la Garenne, Jersey.