8 April 2010

UK Media News: The PCC Failure, a Superinjunction Inquiry and a FOIA Extension


Interesting media news, one that relates to the McCanns and the PCC, another that relates to Carter Ruck [the McCann couple lawyers] and the abuse of the 'superinjunctions' in the media and another article on the future extension of the FOIA to the Association of Chief Police Officers (ACPO). Article extracts and links follow bellow.


PCC attacks MPs' report

Regulator criticises select committee's proposal for new powers and defends record over phone-hacking and McCann case. The Press Complaints Commission has today questioned whether a proposal by a parliamentary select committee that it should have the sanction of [...] The press regulator said that the select committee had "failed to acknowledge the current level of proactive work undertaken by the PCC". Issuing "public warnings" without having received a complaint about an article was a policy that "fatally undermined" the credibility of its predecessor, the Press Council.

"It is in this context that the PCC's actions in regard to the McCann case must be viewed. It would not have been possible, contrary to the select committee's assertions, for the commission to have come to an independent view in May 2007 on questions of accuracy or impropriety in the reporting of the McCann case," said Abell.

"The PCC would clearly have needed information from those at the centre of the story to do so. At that point, the commission had already sought to engage with the McCanns and make itself available to offer all necessary assistance. The McCanns publicly thanked the PCC for its work in dealing with harassment and protecting the privacy of their children. They elected, as was their right, to pursue other matters through the courts," he added.

"However, the commission is committed to learning lessons from a case that led to a significant amount of public concern about press standards. It does accept that it could have done more to direct the McCanns' concerns about reporting, and to channel them into more formal complaints. It will take this on board for the future."

The PCC also said that it "proper role" is to uphold press standards through a system to allow editors to be held to account and not to "uphold general standards relating to taste and offence". more in the Guardian

Related also here at Press Gazette PCC: ‘MPs have failed to acknowledge the work we do’ «The Press Complaints Commission has hit back at a recommendation from MPs that it should have tougher powers and be able to suspend publication of newspapers in extreme cases.

In February the Media, Culture and Sport select committee condemned the PCC overs its investigation into phone hacking at the News of the World and its “failure to intervene in irresponsible press coverage following the disappearance of Madeleine McCann in February”.

Committee chairman John Whittingdale said the PCC needed to take a more active role in upholding standards because it is seen as “lacking credibility and authority” . The report named “Press Standards, Privacy and Libel” called for an appointment of a deputy director to enforce standards and for the PCC to be renamed the “Press Complaints and Standards Board” to reflect it’s enhanced power.»

Superinjunctions inquiry to start work next month

Superinjunctions are to be examined by a powerful committee of judges and lawyers, it was announced today, after months of speculation about the impact of the legal restrictions on press freedom. [...] Superinjunctions have been blamed for silencing the press partly because of the cost of attempting to have them overturned. There is currently no information about the extent to which they have been used against the media, although a series of high-profile cases, including the Guardian's attempt to report about the dumping of toxic waste in the Ivory Coast involving the oil trading company Trafigura, led to concern about their use.

Although the lord chief justice, Lord Judge, spoke out against the use of superinjunctions last year, some judges have been sceptical about the extent to which measures are being used. Last month the specialist high court judge Mr Justice Eady, who has presided over many of the most high-profile media cases, said he had never heard the term superinjunction until the measures imposed on the Guardian were questioned in parliament.

"I had never heard the term 'superinjunction' until it was mentioned in parliament," Eady said, speaking at City University. "I was not conscious I had ever granted one, but I might have." The lack of awareness of superinjunctions is one of the factors prompting the committee to investigate, experts say. more in the Guardian

Related here "Judicial committee to examine super-injunctions"

Master of the Rolls, Lord Neuberger, has established a committee of lawyers from newspaper groups, leading London firms and members of the judiciary to examine the use of so called "super-injunctions" to gag the press.

The Judiciary of England and Wales said this morning the move had been prompted by a published in February by the Culture, Media and Sport Select Committee which was highly critical of the use of injunctions which prevented reporting of a story and of the existence of the injunction itself.

Oil company Trafigura and its law firm Carter-Ruck caused public outcry in October when it emerged they had unsuccessfully attempted to use a wide-ranging gagging order to prevent The Guardian reporting a Parliamentary question relating to the oil firm.

The new committee, which will be chaired by the Master of the Rolls, includes Marcus Partington, group legal director of Trinity Mirror, and Gillian Phillips, director of Guardian News and Media editorial legal services, alongside figures from law firms which have made use of the injunctions such as Carter-Ruck and Schillings.

The newly-established committee, which will meet for the first time on 4 May, follows justice secretary Jack Straw launching a consultation last year with lawyers from major newspapers over super-injunctions following the row over Carter Ruck using an injunction to apparently stop The Guardian from reporting a question asked in the House of Commons about the law firm Trafigura.

FOI scope to be extended from next year


The Freedom of Information Act will be extended to cover four more bodies from next year. Justice Minister Michael Wills announced last week that the Association of Chief Police Officers (ACPO) [Vice President Matt Baggott who worked with Leicestershire Police on the Madeleine Case, the same Police who still has a link to the former arguidos website and on-line shop] and the Financial Ombudsman Service (FOS) will be opened up to greater public scrutiny. [...] more in Press Gazzette


35 comments:

  1. IF only CEOP was subject to the FOIA act,it is paid for by the taxpayer and accountable to no one.

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  2. Can the new FOI powers covering the four bodies be applied retrospectively.
    Will this allow us to find out why the delay in passing on information to the PJ.... amongst many other questions.
    Are the walls about to come down?

    Will Viv be proved right in her undying support for these bodies
    or will they keep the information hidden, while they are working behind the scenes ....in their quest to get these clever people ?

    mojo

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  3. tout le monde a compris que la famille Mc Cann cache quelque chose d'important depuis le début, et qu'elle a l'appui de son gouvernement. Cette affaire montre surtout que tout est traffiqué et infiltré dans les gouvernements, administrations, etc... et que la liberté d'expression reste une théorie.

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  4. @Anon 3

    True of course: everybody has understood that and is now very tired of it.There is nothing we can do anymore unless drastic measures are taken but wont be....so....the whole thing has become and is a waste of time and energy.
    I know it does not sound very encouraging but what is left to do? nothing.They have protection and they will have protection.Naturally this does not alter the fact,they are a pair of liars but so what?
    La vie se chargera de leur faire payer le mal qu"ils ont fait à Madeleine et à la Famille Amaral.De cela je ne doute pas.

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  5. Is there a panic button I can push if Jim Gamble's name appears on my computer?

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  6. Interesting that the wife of the former PCC chairman Sir Chris Meyer was involved in the Amber Alert campaign and would be considered a McC friend. Interesting that a column disparaging Dr Amaral was considered to be fine by the PCC despite all the complaints about it.

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  7. Mr Amaral really has a mountain to climb, how brave of him to take this pair to court knowing how well protected they are. This pair have taken the Portugese justice system and torn it to shreads, with a lot of help from the UK govenment. Its a done deal Maccanns are untouchable.

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  8. Anon 5, lol, I'd freak out if his face appeared on my computer. It seems to me there are too many NGOs flying under the radar without any responsibility to anyone never mind the public. They all seem to be feeding off each other. All using people for their own purposes. I doubt if the Mccanns are the Meyers' type of people but their collusion suits their mutual goals.

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  9. http://www.prisonplanet.com/death-of-the-internet-unprecedented-censorship-bill-passes-in-uk.html

    Censor of Internet has been passed

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  10. 'The McCanns publicly thanked the PCC for its work in dealing with harassment and protecting the privacy of their children. They elected, as was their right, to pursue other matters through the courts," he added.'

    OFF-COURSE, MCCANN'S JUST WANT MONEY... TROUGH ALL THE WAYS. THE PCC DID NOT GIVE THEM ANY MONETARY PROFITE.... THEN IT'S USELESS FOR THEIR OBJECTIVES. HYPOCRYTES....

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  11. Poster 7 has not quite got his or her facts right. It is the McCanns taking Mr Amaral to court not the other way round. Niether have the McCanns torn the Portugese justice system to shreads. The Portugese themselves have done that. They are quite willing to allow Mr Amaral and their country to be humiliated by a pair of scumbags for political convenience. Of course the poster is absolutely right to highlight the involvement of the British Government. The poster is also right to infer that the forthcoming libel trial is a "done deal" and that the McCanns are untouchable. Another poster on here suggested they are not untouchable because they are fighting to stop the case being re-opened. They do not have to "fight" to stop the case being re-opened. The McCanns wish is Portugal's demand.

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  12. Beautiful portrait at the top. AN HAPPY FAMILY who just recently LOST ONE OF THEIR CHILDS. But this was just a small accident on their WONDERFUL AND BRIGHT CELEBRITY LIFES.

    Did you see pain, grief?... I not!!!!

    THEN THE PCC DON'T NEED ACCURATE INFORMATION FROM THE PARTS INVOLVED IN MCCANN'S CASE. THE INFORMATION COME FROM THEIR MOUTHS AND THEIR ATTITUDES.... ACCURATE... I JUST NEED TO OPEN MY EYES AND MY EARS AND HAVE A PINCH OF BRAIN TO UNDERSTAND EVERYTHING. The rest.... The investigation... was under judicial secrecy and even after the release of some files, the big amount and I believe,the most important still under judicial secrecy.

    By the way, will be interesting to know how many complaints from the Public , the PCC received about articles where the Mccann's were been insulted? No-one. They are idols for Express group and ignored by the rest of the press. In comparison Amaral and PJ were vilified and I presume about this two, the PCC received big amounts of complaints.

    This is just a ridiculous attitude to give Gerry another excuse to say: ' You don't need to go too far to see what they write about us in the Internet'. AND I REPLY: 'I DON'T NEED TO GO TOO FAR TO SEE THEM COMING TROUGH THE SCREEN TVS OF MY HOUSE SPREADING LIES ABOUT MONSTERS WHICH CAME AT NIGHT TO SNATCH CHILDS FROM THE BED LEAVING NO TRACE. A NIGHTMARE FROM ALL PARENTS WHO HAVE TO DEAL WITH SMALL CHILDREN'. They care, when they spread such nightmare to all childs living or visiting Portugal? NO!!! BECAUSE THEY JUST THINK ON THEMSELVES... NO MATTER THE ANGUISH OF OTHERS, NO MATTER THE IMAGE OF PORTUGAL AND THE PORTUGUESE. THEY DON'T DESERVE ANY RESPECT FROM THE PUBLIC.

    AND WHAT ABOUT, LADY DI, M. JACKSON, SUSANNE BOYLE, AMY WHINEHOUSE, C. RONALDO, MOURINHO? HOW many times this persons have been vilified in the British Media? MANY TIMES. WHY THE PCC and the PARLIAMENT just consider Mccann's case? Another EXCEPTION? Another EXCEPCTIONAL TREATMENT? OR IS ON THE WAY A CENSORSHIP TO GAGG ALL THE BRITISH?

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  13. THEY WILL BE NOT UNTOUCHABLE FOREVER AND THE CASE COULD BE REOPEN ANY DAY in PORTUGAL, FOR THE NEXT 20 YEARS.
    In 20 years, the twins will be adults, many doubts, questions, answers will raise their minds, their lives, their surrounds. IMPOSSIBLE TO CONTROL EVERYTHING.
    In 20 years, how many Attorney Generals, Prime Ministers and Ministers of Justice will pass trough Portugal and UK? Enough time to have a revolution and change all the Pre-accepted situations. Just see O. simpson? He go from an idol into a demo in less then 20 years.
    In 20 years... The School, school friends, Nanny's, Housemaids... Somebody will see something inside Mccann's life, inside their houses, connected with their relatives or their friends, which will ring the bells to reopen the case. Just remember how many young adults and teenagers disappeared long ago in UK, and the crime was solved just now, by an accident which bring to day light evidences about the perpetrator and the victims. A CRIME LIKE MADELEINE CASE, NEVER FADE, NEVER GO AWAY. BEST FRIENDS, OVER YEARS BECAME ENEMIES AND THE COVER-UP ENDS. God will give health and courage to Amaral and his family to wait and see the JUSTICE DAY COME OVER. one day in THE NEXT 20 YEARS. A long way. MUCH, MUCH LONGER TO THE MCCANN'S AND THEIR FRIENDS WHICH HAVE TO LIVE AND MANTAIN THE LIES TO SURVIVE.

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  14. Anon 6.

    Exactly!

    All good pals together.

    It can't get much sicker that what is going on in the favour of these McCanns.

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  15. Anon 11

    I think what the poster is meaning is that Sr Amaral is brave taking on this pair in court and not caving in like most people have to do given the resources of this pair.

    I hope the upcoming case gives the chance for other information about this case to come out and also a mention of the Gaspars' statements, which would hopefully get publicity, as there may be others out there with more information to add to this.

    No doubt Gerry McCann would hate any mention of the Gaspars' statements, and of his and Payne's conversation.

    And that the Doctors Gaspars were so concerned when they heard Madeleine had gone missing they went to the police to report what they had seen and heard between McCann and Payne.

    This really should be made public by any means possible.

    This would no doubt have been shouted from the rooftops if it had taken place between other people, but somehow, as usual, the McCanns are managing to keep the lid on it.

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  16. # 12 "They care, when they spread such nightmare to all childs living or visiting Portugal? NO!"

    Well said.

    You are right, they don't deserve any respect of the public.

    I hope one day the McCanns have to pay back all the damage they have done.

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  17. I wish I was wrong about what I said on poster 7 I support Mr Amaral all the way he is wonderful, but only God can beat this pair, I feel so sorry for Mr Amaral. He needs all our prayers in this case. They are sure of winning it.
    A lot can happen in 20 years the Maccanns are only interested in what is happening now. The problem as I see it is the tapas lot break one of them and Bingo the truth will flood out. Problem is who can do that.

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  18. with the current round of cut backs in the UK it will be intresting to see if any of the intrested partys loose their jobs,

    a tapas or someone from the pcc who will consider selling out to the papers etc

    trainer

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  19. Superinjunctions are put into place to protect the guilty rich, once these are overturned take for example the John Terry case the anger of the press is unleashed and newspapers will devote pages and pages to these stories, they resent it as much as us when they are silenced especially as the Mccanns have sued several newspapers and have been defrauding the public to obtain funds. Newspapers are here to report the news and should be allowed to do so without the interference of lawyers trying to protect their guilty clients. Ordinary people would not be given the privilege of seeking a superinjunction against a newspaper this is what makes the Mccann case so suspicious; here we have two (very bad) liars seeking damages against all and sundry whilst being protected by expensive lawyers. There is clearly a case to answer; too many discrepancies and conflicting statements. Sn. Amarals factual book should have prompted a start to re-open the case. Why were the suspicions of the Portuguese police and sniffer dogs simply dismissed, Kate refusing to answer police questions, inconsistencies in statements, lack of co-operation from Tapas. This is hard evidence in any case and needs proper investigation. Meanwhile the smirking Mccanns hide behind their veil of ‘privacy’ whilst the rest of the world knows there is not a single shred of evidence to prove that Madeleine was abducted.

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  20. I appreciate what poster no 11 is saying about the McCann being brought to justice in the fullness of time. However, 20 years is also plenty of time for everybody to forget about the case. Once the McCanns with the assistance of a corrupt Portugese judiciary have defeated Mr Amaral, I believe they will disappear over the horizon as it were. As I stated in a previous post their imminent victory over Mr Amaral will be the equivalent of them found innocent in a Court of Law. As for O.J.Simpson, even he did not have the governments of two countries protecting him. And he was found innocent of his initial murder.

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  21. Forget about the case? You are kidding aren't you!! Nobody's going to forget. That would be like forgetting September 11th.

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  22. the analogy that poster 19 gives between the injunctions of John Terry and the McCanns is not accurate. The British gutter press have not been silent about the McCann case. They have supported the abduction fable all along. Hacks like Parsons and co. and hackettes like Fiona Philips and co have vilified Amaral and the Portugese Police. The McCanns have been elevated to celebrity status by the British media. If there is an injunction against any questioning them, then why don't they just ignore the ridiculous sightings, the runs for missing children etc.etc

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  23. The are guilty and they will be punished.
    Madeleine is going to make sure of that.

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  24. #21

    Seriously do not understand your analogy between MBM and Sept 11??? 4,000 people -v- 1 child....explain, please.

    Shall I try? 4,000 people going about their everyday business and killed (plain and simple (whether by terrorists or by government (who knows) - but killed nonetheless), some forced to commit suicide (because it was their best option - yet abhorred by their countrymen for doing so), phoning loved ones for that last desperate chance to speak to them (leaving messages on answerphones explaining the depth of their love), begging, absolutely begging, 911 to send help...

    and yet we are to remember the above in the same way MBM disappeared??? In my mind, this just does not equate.

    I will always remember exactly what I was doing on 9/11 - as for MBM...absolutely no idea (except for thinking all involved knew more than they were letting on (all IMO, of course).

    Regards xx

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  25. The analogy that poster 21 makes between the McCanns and September 11th is I think one that is not apt. However wicked the crime commited by the McCanns, it cannot be compared to the mass-murder of the terrorist attacks on America. The McCanns will be forgotten long before September 11th 2001. I stated in a previous post that once they have defeated Mr Amaral at the forthcoming libel trial, they will ride away into the distance as it were. They will make a concerted attempt to keep a lower-profile. With regards to poster 23, I do not know quite what he or she means. They will never be found guilty and punished by the Portugese that's for sure.

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  26. Jonathan Aitken lied with such conviction that I was convinced he was telling the truth. He was unravelled by an ordinary member of the public, saving the guardian quite a bit of wonga. Jeffery Archer was also caught with his frangrant pants down and had to pay back the libel money to some tabloid. Same fate awaits the Mccanns. There is no way that they will get away with this, someone somewhere is lying in wait and will pounce just when they are not expecting it and the rest will be history. I would say to Mr Amaral that the truth will always prevail. I am not educated and therefore not capable of deep legal analyses but I went with my instincts and of course my insticts maybe be wrong and it would be unfair to say that they are guilty just based on that but I know that some people have declared them completely innocent. This based on the fact that they are doctors. The haunting picture of Maddie dressed like a princess was the one that got me. I could not exlpain why but it was unsettling to look at and Kate parading in front of the cameras with cuddlecat on tow was car crash tv. The day they get cought the media will be on them like a pack of hyenas. Lazzeri will also turn in to a meerkat looking on from a very far distance.

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  27. Poster ≠20 said 'their imminent victory over Mr Amaral will be the equivalent of them found innocent in a Court of Law.'

    No, it won't, although they will of course try to pretend this is so, as they have tried to pretend since they took action against him. If they win the case it will be because Dr Amaral cannot produce proof that Madeleine is dead, ie he can't produce her body or prove 100% that she is dead, the type of proof that would be needed to bring charges. That's all, nothing more, nothing to do with what really happened to Madeleine. The police often know what happens in a crime, but they can't bring charges because they don't have the type of proof that's needed. Police lack of proof isn't the same as suspects being innocent, not at all, and I think most people are astute enough to know that.

    The British media will of course twist any court decision so that they back the McCanns; they nailed their colours to the mast in May 2007 and are unwilling to admit they might have been better to wait. I don't believe for a second there's some injunction or D notice stopping the media saying what they'd like to about the McCanns, it's just the cowardly British press afraid to look facts in the face, afraid to publish interesting things from the case files, afraid to annoy anyone in Team McCann in case the best Maddie stories go to their competitors - no wonder the sales of newspapers are falling year by year.

    BTW, only my personal opinion but I firmly believe that one day those who were responsible for Madeleine's disappearance will stand in the dock.

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  28. the British media had no other choice but to support the theory of abduction.

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  29. Sr Amaral has said he knows Madeleine is dead, and another investigator said there is 'stand alone' evidence.

    If this has something to do with the text messages that were not allowed to be used in court, then the investigators will not be changing their minds about Madeleine being dead, even though they may not be able to put it forth as evidence.

    Nontheless, the investigators are sure Madeleine is dead, and they are the ones who are privy to all the information.

    The same information the McCanns would like to get hold of.

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  30. The McCanns wont be finished if they win their case against Dr Amaral, they will then be after the guy who took over from him.

    So don't sit around waiting to defend yourselves PJ, get on the attack and get that case reopened Portugal. And reopen it as a MURDER INVESTIGATION because that is what it should be.

    Let's see how they spin on that!

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  31. Agree with poster 26 about the parading with cuddle cat being one of quite a number of images which made one feel very unsettled - outraged even. Cuddle cat poking jauntily out of a rucksack was so blatantly stage managed and in breathtakingly poor taste, but gave quite an insight into the McCann's attitude to their "situation". There is also the picture above, the one outside the church on that birthday, not to mention the romantic strolling couple, etc all give the lie to the carefully crafted image of suffering. Interesting also that depression wasn't in evidence during this time but seemed to have set in much later, after arguido time. Maybe that's normal, but all these images are out there and should be taken into account in the forthcoming libel trial. I also hope that mitigation is looked at also. Why wait a year after publication to complain? If there is no good explanation, any financial award should be negligible since they did nothing about the issue causing such pain, offence etc. If the delay was related to waiting until suffiencent funds were created to make suing worthwhile, that speaks for itself about how much of this is about pain and offence.

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  32. Anon 31

    Agreed.

    Also, if Kate is using some sort of doctor's report saying she is suffering from depression or whatever, caused by the publication of Sr Amaral's book, then this information should not be kept behind closed doors, but be made public so that it can be refuted by Sr Amaral's team if possible.

    Is this what happened at the last court case of the appeal where it has been revealed that the McCanns were able to put their case in secret and not in open court, even having the 'liar' Clarence Mitchell as a witness.

    How can Sr Amaral put up a defence against that if he doesn't even know what has been said in private.

    The whole thing stinks!

    We shall see, but if Murat gets to be denied his opportunity of bringing a case against Jane Tanner and the rest, then the smell of something rotten will be piling up.

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  33. Why is my analogy about Sept 11th not apt? I wasn't comparing the scale of the events in any way, but I was comparing the global awareness of the case. People in other countries may forget Madeleine McCann but I'll be shocked if anyone here in Portugal who has lived through it ever forgets what happened. And let's face it, it is only people in Portugal who understand the workings of the country's politics and justice who are ever likely to get to the bottom of why the Portuguese authorities have been complicit, seemingly to their own detriment.

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  34. If Kate and Gerry McCann can 'act' happy like in the above picture, what else can they act?

    They sure do look convincing.

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  35. Thanks 32. The entire trial seemed to have accepted different standards of evidence from the 2 parties concerned - so much for "justice". No 34, extremely good question and neatly sums up this whole affair. It seems acting isn't a problem as has been seen time and time again but the strange thing is they think people are fooled by it!
    Regards,
    Anon 31

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