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.