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

People in payout over Madeleine Fund libel

A public relations expert who helped in the search for Madeleine McCann accepted a donation to charity today over a claim that she overcharged the fund set up to find the missing child.

Justine McGuinness brought libel proceedings in London's High Court over an October 2007 article in The People.

Her solicitor, Amber Melville-Brown, told Mr Justice Eady that McGuinness was the communications strategist for the Find Madeleine Fund from June to September 2007.

The newspaper story alleged that she had charged the fund £20,000 in excess of her agreed fee and that, following a discussion with Gerry McCann in the summer of 2007, she was forced to part company with the fund.

Melville-Brown said: "In fact, Ms McGuinness did not overcharge the fund and indeed bore many of the necessary expenses herself. Neither was she forced to resign.

"As initially agreed with the fund, she left in September 2007 to meet other pre-arranged commitments."

Given McGuinness's commitments to providing support and assistance to the McCanns and the fund, and in order that her hard work and professional integrity should not be questioned, she felt she had no option but to bring proceedings to ensure that the true position was recognised and that the false allegations were not republished."

Melville-Brown said MGN Limited had accepted that the allegations were incorrect and apologised.

It agreed to make a donation to an undisclosed charity of Ms McGuinness's choice.

MGN's solicitor, Holly Mason, apologised for the distress and embarrassment caused.

source: Press Gazette, 16.09.2009


Madeleine McCann fund PR sues The People for libel - 5 March 2009


  1. This whole case is like a license to print money

  2. I don't know much about this portion of the case. Did the money to pay her come out of the fund? What did she do to help find the child?

  3. Here we go again. When will this circus stop! Isn't it about time that those responsible for Madeleines disapperance were brought to account for their actions.

    WTH is a Communications Strategist anyway. Just how much did Ms McGuiness earn from the find Madeleine fund for just 4 months work?

  4. Who was the lady assigned to the case by the government before Clarence? Did she work the same time as Justine M? If so why did they need to PR people to find the child?

  5. Looks like she is not contributing to THE FUND.

  6. astro the article should be dated 16/10/09

  7. Everyone seems to have had their finger in the pie. No wonder nobody wants this pathetic story to come to an end.
    Top extradition laywers, top spokespersons, top of everything except for detectives.

  8. An undisclosed charity of her choice? Don't say the money is going to The Fund! I would rather she spent it on shoes and handbags...

  9. @ joana Morais :

    Any news about former PJ inspector Amaral's new book " a mordaça inglesa" ?


  10. I doubt the Madeleine Fund will be Justine's "charity" of choice

  11. ... and the unnamed charity is ... Justine McGuiness?

    Sorry, my imagination got the better of me there for a moment.

    This then is the 'lady' who thought it was great fun to sit together with Kate McCann at the police station having a laugh at the expense of the investigating police force by sending out secret text messages on their mobiles whilst the police were desperately trying to find Madeleine and Kate McCann was refusing to cooperate.

    How she can have the brassneck to talk about professional integrity when she obviously doesn't know the meaning of the word is another of those questions which will no doubt remain forever unanswered.


  12. Why did the McCann's need PR people in the first place, let alone this past two and a half years.

    These were supposedly intelligent doctors who could surely have taken on the job of speaking for themselves, just like the rest of us would be required to do in similar circumstances. Unless, of course, they were ridden with grief and unable to see or speak to anyone, which certainly wasn't the case with the Doctors McCann and Healy! They went on the media campaign, personal appearances etc, right from the moment Madeleine went missing.

    And why hasn't the Charity that will receive the compensation donation been named? Could it be the Madeleine Fund? If it is, then to my mind that will be throwing good money after bad!

  13. Does Mr Justice Eady preside over all cases relating to the McCann's?

  14. Not much of an apology is it, where is it? Has it been printed on the front pages of the People?

  15. A Gentle reminder....

    Friday, September 07, 2007
    The LibDems Who Are Advising the McCanns
    Iain Dale 7:06 PM

    I've spent much of the day with Sky News on in the background. One could be forgiven for thinking that there was no other news today apart from the developments in Portimao regarding the McCanns.

    You wouldn't think there was a political angle to the unfolding drama in Portugal, would you? But there is. Kate McCann's lawyer is the former Libdem candidate and blogger Justine McGuinness and who did I spy accompanying Mrs McCann to the police station but none other than LibDem supporting PR consultant David Hughes?

    I suppose it's inevitable, given the huge media interest, that the McCanns have had to employ the services of a PR consultant, but I'm sure that most people wish the TV coverage wasn't so completely obsessed with speculating on what might or might not be going on. People's lives are at stake here.

    CLARIFICATION: One or two people in the comments have interpreted this post as an attack on the LibDems. I still can't quite see how, but can I just make it clear that it is not. David Hughes is a friend of mine and was one of my best customers at Politico's. All I was doing was observing that two LibDems were advising the McCanns. Nothing more nothing less. Two commenters have pointed out that Esther McVey is too. I hope all three are doing a good job, as it seems to me that they are about to be 'fitted up', if that's the phrase.


    I think Esther was fitted up as she has removed anything to do with the Mccanns from her web page a long time ago.

  16. Communications Strategist = damage limitation professional – well…in my book anyway.

  17. I find it rather strange that the charity is not named. At least she left early on in the saga.

  18. I have used google asking the question "What does a Communications Strategist actually do" The answers seems to explain that it takes a proffessional to craft your message. I would have thought that the best message anyone could possible give is "DO NOT UNDER ANY CIRCUMSTANCES LEAVE YOUR LITTLE CHILDREN ALONE"

    I now believe that COMMUNICATION IS THE RIGHT WAY FORWARD TO FIND MADELINE, Mr. and Mrs. McCann use COMMUNICATION, Answer the 48 questions.

    From a member of the British Public who believes that "EVERY CHILD MATTERS"

  19. It's very telling that the amount of damages is going to an undisclosed charity. I would wager that on this occasion, it's not going anywhere near the Madeleine fund.

  20. MADELEINE... the litle girl which become a MONEY MACHINE!!!

    All the characters which touched the litle girl tragedy one day, got profits... Money and more Money, from sueing and sueing.

    It is so RIDICULOUS, so close to the IMMORALITY.

    Wonder to see which charitable association, which cannot be named, is going to get that money? Annother SECRET.... SO MANY SECRETS!!!

  21. POOR MCCANN'S.... the case of the litle boy, which for few hours was believed to be inside a hot ballon on Colorado Sky, did not last ennough time to allow the Mccann's to send a supportive message to the family and stick on a new potencial abduction case.

  22. Hmmm - not necessarily bad news.

    Someone fed the story to the People.

    Who that person was no one can say perhaps. Certainly one cannot say it was necessarily someone associated with Team McCann. :)

    But the fact she gives the money to charity and that charity is not disclosed as the Madeleine Fund is perhaps of note.

    I think it's a good story in the sense that it casts yet another shadow over the murky doings of the Fund.

  23. It would have been much better to disclose which charity her payout had been donated to. Leaving this 'undisclosed', allows those who are still labouring under the illusion that the FMF is a charity, to believe that the money has probably been donated back to the McCanns to aid their continued 'search' for Madeleine.

    Interesting that it hasn't though- the FMF is NOT a charity, and the McCanns don't have any direct involvement with any charites as far as I am aware. That means that Ms. McGuinness has actively chosen to donate her payout elsewhere (unlike the Tapas 7, who apparently donated theirs to the 'fund'), and to publicise the fact. Is McGuiness making a deliberate statement here, albeit somewhat covertly? Looks to me that she may have decided to use the publicity around this to subtly distance herself.


  24. After two plus years of thinking that the split between McGuinness and the McCanns was very acrimonious we now find out that the contract was fulfilled and all was tickety boo.

    Quote :
    Melville-Brown said: "In fact, Ms McGuinness did not overcharge the fund and indeed bore many of the necessary expenses herself. Neither was she forced to resign.

    "As initially agreed with the fund, she left in September 2007 to meet other pre-arranged commitments

    It seems strange the McCanns did not refute the claims that were made about Justine McGuinness earlier. If I remember, at the time of the split there were all sorts of rumours that were flying about. All could have been killed by a simple statement.
    It seems this was another diversionary tatic adding more reflections of smoke on to the mirrors.


  25. What charity I wonder?

    One libel case after another, its about time libel laws were reviewed in the light of these farcical claims.

  26. As the McGuiness libel case is all about her integrity, could it be that it would offend her integrity to give the money to the Fund company? She prefers to donate the money to a deserving charity.

  27. Talk about propaganda... these "inocent" couple makes Joseph Goebbels look like an amateur.

    Great job, Joana, thanks.

  28. As someone already said, the McGuinness money hasn't gone to the FUND because that is NOT a charity.

    Well done Justine!

    Somewhere I read that she got "out" because she no longer believed Kate, although she did at the beginning. Obviously we know we can't believe everything we read, but it does make sense.



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