1.Everyone shall possess the right to freely express and publicise his thoughts in words, images or by any other means, as well as the right to inform others, inform himself and be informed without hindrance or discrimination 2.Exercise of the said rights shall not be hindered or limited by any type or form of censorship Constitution of the Portuguese Republic, Article 37.º

The Lies, the Truth and the Flies - Paulo Sargento, Part 1

From the blog 'Câmara de Comuns', the translation of the first of two most interesting entries posted by Paulo Sargento, a renowned forensic psychologist and university professor, on the 24th and on the 26th of August 2008, respectively - posted here with permission:

August 24, 2008
The lie of the truth!

Maddie: is it better not to wake the sleeping flies?

Like everyone knows, the process concerning the so-called “Maddie case” was archived on the 21st of July of 2008. A press release from the Republic’s Attorney General referred in its first item: “By a dispatch dated of today (21.07.2008), issued by the two magistrates from the Public Ministry that have competence in this case, the archiving of the inquiry into the disappearance of the minor Madeleine McCann was determined, due to the fact that no evidence of the practice of any crime by the arguidos was obtained.” With this dispatch, Gerry McCann, Kate McCann and Robert Murat naturally saw their condition as arguidos cease, and consequently the coercion measures that had been imposed on them were extinguished.

The process was made public for consult 14 days later, but in an innovative manner: per request of those legitimately interested in the case, copies on DVD of the approximately 30 000 pages of the process were supplied. The fact that it was an unedited situation, both in terms of the publicity means and in terms of the amount of interested persons, resulted in a delay that was not very comfortable for the media pack that anxiously awaited the opportunity to discover the “secrets” that were contained in the process that was then under judicial secrecy. But there were little hopes to be upheld concerning this, given the well-deserved success of the launch of the book “The Truth of the Lie”, written by the former inspector of the Polícia Judiciária, Gonçalo Amaral. In fact, the launch of the best-seller “The Truth of the Lie” came to reinforce three aspects: the courage and the determination of the former inspector in the defense of his reputation and of the institution that he represented and which failed to defend him, to confirm the majority of the information that the media in general had already published, and to prompt the threats of lawsuits from Mr Clarence Mitchell.

Summarizing, the information gained credibility because it came from the source, it rendered evident that the grotesque and already assumed fact of the judicial secrecy being nothing more than little secrets or whispers that were dispensed in light and unexpected gushes from non-identified sources, and finally showed that the psittacidae also increment their repertoire of threatening vocalizations when they feel threatened.

But let’s return to the archiving of the process.

Twenty days before the press release that announced the archiving dispatch, another press release prepared the terrain. I now dare to transcribe it with the sole purpose of approaching an old and well-known theme of our Justice: the slowness of the processes. Well, the aforementioned note included the following:

“In the process of the so-called “Maddie case”, the final report that was elaborated by the Polícia Judiciária was appended and will be the object of careful appreciation and pondering.

The Public Ministry will analyze and globally evaluate the entire process (which contains tens of volumes) in order to determine whether or not other diligences are demandable, or if the necessary and sufficient conditions are reunited in order to close the inquiry and to elaborate the final dispatch.

The process will remain under judicial secrecy until mid-August.”

On the 2nd of July, nineteen days before the announcement of the archiving dispatch, the illustrious Attorney General was stating, in several media, that it was premature to speak about the archiving of the so-called “Maddie case”.

We could then be lead to think one of two things: the press release was not a foretelling of the archiving, or it would take some time for a decision to be reached, due to the peculiar characteristics of this process, namely the volume of the documents that would be the “object of careful appreciation and pondering”, as the “Public Ministry will analyze and globally evaluate the entire process (which contains tens of volumes) in order to determine whether or not other diligences are demandable, or if the necessary and sufficient conditions are reunited in order to close the inquiry and to elaborate the final dispatch”.

But if that is the case, how would it be possible to calculate that in mid-August the judicial secrecy would be lifted?

Let’s make some simple calculations and proceed with some naïve and simplistic interpretations.

If the process contains tens of volumes, in an approximate total of 30 000 pages, how much time would be necessary to make this process an “object of careful appreciation and pondering” and to “analyze and globally evaluate the entire process”? Some simple arithmetic operations will give us an immediate reply: if we spent 5 minutes on each page, we would need 150 000 minutes to read the whole process, that is to say, 2500 hours that represent approximately 104 days, or 3.5 months. If, according to what is referred in the note that accompanies the archiving dispatch, the competent judges that appreciated the process were two, sharing the workload, then the reading should be finished within 52 days. But as it does not seem reasonable to think that someone can read for 24 hours on 24 hours, during 52 days, and that in a brave effort, let us imagine, 12 hours per day would be spent on this important task, then the process should remain under judicial secrecy, at least, until mid-October, as the 104 days that were initially foreseen would have to be used. But this happened in only 20 days, and if the above described conditions are observed, then the illustrious judges read for an average 26,5 hours per day, during 20 consecutive days (!?!), which obviously is not possible.

Thus it becomes obvious that said analysis was performed using methods that differ from the one that was just presented. These methods should be made public, in order to avoid the arithmetic thinking that I used in the previous paragraph with the purpose of illustrating, metaphorically and ironically, some of the incongruence of the Portuguese justice’s speech before the gigantic pressures that originated from the most diverse sectors, produced under a set of needs and interests that are inherent to those sectors.

But the end of judicial secrecy was something that had been awaited with huge expectations by all those who, in one way or another, were, are and certainly will be compromised or simply interested in the case. For some, who are party to the theory of homicide with concealment of a cadaver, the time had arrived to confirm the veracity of the indicia that should have been valued as evidence and were not, who knows why. For others, creators and followers of the increasingly inconsistent theory of abduction, the time had come to shout “Victory” […], claiming innocence.

The days that followed the distribution of the DVDs were particularly illustrative of this strategy. The news were divided between the confirmation of the most incriminating indicia against the McCann couple and the defenses, with subtle threats of lawsuits, the new and the revisited sightings, and curiously the maintenance, in the ‘findmadeleine’ site, of the ridiculous item that someone decided to call an e-fit that, contrary to the requested reconstitution of the evening of the disappearance, seems to continue to be the major ex-libris of the defenders of the abduction theory and of the army of detectives who guarantee that they know everything, discover everything, but show nothing.

Such strategies were more than expected by some of us.

But some exceptions appeared. In Portugal, one particular case raised my attention. Newspaper ‘O Público’ opted to publish non-news, on the day after the process was made available, claiming that the McCann couple could not be accused of the crime of “exposure or abandonment”, after all. Its director, during a “press review” on SIC, returned to the issue of the long lunches with alcohol consumption by our inspectors and grew solidary with those who did not allow for the reconstitution to be carried out, arguing with the deterioration of memory and the likely consequent inconsistency of the statements. Concerning the fact that there is no evidence to accuse the McCann couple of the aforementioned crime, according to some illustrious jurists, this was an obvious issue because intent could not be proved. But could it be that a prestigious newspaper like “Público” had no other type of comment to make on the case, apart from the obvious question that was simply described? And its director? What pertinence does he believe to exist in the fact that he reiterates the irrelevant, and unconfirmed, news concerning the duration and the liquid contents of our investigators’ meals? And finally, why would the reconstitution certainly be fallacious due to the time that went by, while the testimonies that gave origin to late and inconsistent e-fits were not? The questions will linger in the air, but I dare to offer, right away, a benign interpretation of the facts. “Público” does not have a tabloid vocation, being a politically correct newspaper, and due to the fact that they did not have time to consult the entire process, they opted for a compromised “modesty”. At a time when the Portuguese media tended to publish facts that incriminated the McCann couple, to attack our Polícia Judiciária and to publish non-news (favourable to the English couple) might constitute a factor of differentiation in terms of editorial policy. All in all… choices.

In England, two newspapers raised my attention: the abominable “The People” and the almost sufferable “Sunday Express”. In the first case, the headlines of the 17th of August announced the exposure of two Maddie predators: former inspector Gonçalo Amaral and the sales of his best-seller, and the alleged attempt at profit from the sale of 24 new and bombastic photographs by the unsuspected independent journalist Duarte Levy. In the second case, on the same day, the front page attempted to connect the disappearance of little Maddie with the “sex scandal” of the Casa Pia case, in an unqualifiable manner, by abusing the serious testimony of lawyer Pedro Namora in order to present, in an evil and distorted manner, an image of the South of Portugal where paedophilia is supposedly more than instituted, and consequently the theory of abduction by a paedophile continued to make sense. Thankfully, the persons that were under attack are unsuspected and do not need anyone’s defense. But what name can we call a person that makes money (and quite an amount of it) for being the McCanns’ spokesman? And while we’re mentioning paedophilia scandals, the lists of paedophiles remind us of that old expression – “those who have glass ceilings…!” I never cry over the money that I spend, but the 5 euros that I paid for these two newspapers could have prompted me to cry a flow of tears that could only be exceeded by the falls of Niagara!

What are we to expect, then?

With time, and the possibility of reading the process in a more attentive and consistent manner, and the possible appearance of new testimonies or evidence the process will be reopened, or will slowly extinguish itself. But until then, positions will continue to extreme: the exhibition and re-exhibition of indicia and evidence that are consistent with the homicide theory, on one side, and the demonstration of supposed mistakes and omissions by the Polícia Judiciária to defend the abduction theory, on the other side.

But let us ask ourselves:

a) Why don’t the McCanns execute what they announced through Clarence Mitchell? Namely, why don’t they start a lawsuit against former inspector Gonçalo Amaral?

b) Why have the news about the case slowed down?

c) Why aren’t the sightings back?

d) Why was Robert Murat never mentioned again?

e) What new things have been done to search for Maddie, by those who still believe that she is alive?

Because… it is better not to wake up the sleeping flies!

We’ll let some days pass, and in a later post, some of these, and who knows, some other questions, may have an answer.


Paulo Sargento was head of a team that developed a 3d animated simulation of the evening of the 3rd of May 2007, when the disappearance of Madeleine reportedly took place, as well as an analysis of the e-fit of a suspect that was released by Team McCann early this year.

1 comment:

  1. Good article, It makes you wonder if they ever reviewed them given the speed of the archiving...skullduggery afoot cutesy of Gordon Bown me thinks.
    They wont sue Amaral, they arent even calling him a liar really, the reason...because they would have to prove what he wrote was libelous and what he wrote was actually the truth. Plus by ignoring him and his claims they hope it will die a quiet death....bit like their daughter!!


Powered by Blogger.