Why was Gerry McCann in Portugal?
Gerry McCann and one of the McCanns Portuguese lawyers, Isabel Duarte
«Dra Duarte said she made yesterday [26.9.2013] a request for the complainant G. McCann who is coming from the UK (she insisted twice on this) to be heard.» Anna Guedes report, McCann v Gonçalo Amaral Libel Trial in Lisbon - Day 5, 27 September 2013
«The McCanns’ spokesman Clarence Mitchell said last night: “I can confirm Gerry McCann is hoping to give evidence.”» Daily Star, Jerry Lawton, Madeleine's dad, Gerry McCann jets in to 'help find the truth', 27 September 2013
«The McCanns' lawyer, Isabel Duarte, said it was important that he be heard. She added: "I asked because I don't have two witnesses that I have appointed, so I have asked the court to substitute the two witnesses by Gerry, because nowadays he can give evidence."» BBC, Alison Roberts, Gerry McCann ready to testify amid £1m libel case delay, 27 September 2013
«The judge agreed to an adjournment because a member of one of the lawyers' families had a medical issue. Mr McCann was told the news as he arrived at the court in Lisbon after an early morning flight from the UK. He headed back to the airport. He said outside court: "Obviously we are disappointed. If I get another opportunity to be heard I will be back and will answer the questions I'm asked.» Sky News, Martin Brunt, Madeleine McCann: Gerry's Evidence Stalled, 27 September 2013
Civil Procedure Code (Effective Date: 01-09-2013*)
ANNEX - Civil Procedure Code
BOOK II - Of the process in general
TITLE V - Of the instruction of the process
CHAPTER VI - Testimonial evidence
SECTION II - Production of testimonial evidence
Article 510.º - Substitution of witnesses
1 - In the case of substitution of any of the witnesses, the statement is not allowed without five days having elapsed from the date the opposing party was notified, unless the opposing party waives that deadline; if it is not legally possible the adjournment of the examination, in order to respect that deadline, the substitution shall be of no effect, by requirement of the opposing party.
2 - It is not admissible the examination by letter of witnesses proposed in substitution of the ones originally submitted.
3 - The provisions of n.º 1 does not affect the possibility of the judge to order an examination, pursuant to article 526.º.
Article 526.º - Examination at the initiative of the court
1 - When, in the course of the action, there is reason to assume that a particular person, not submitted as a witness, has knowledge of important facts for the good decision of the cause, the judge shall order that it is notified to testify.
2 - The statement can only take place after five days have elapsed, if any of the parties requests the setting of a deadline for the examination.
Articles 510.º and 526.º of the Portuguese Civil Procedure Code, formerly known as articles 631.º and 645.º respectively in the previous CPC. No changes in both articles.
Effective Date: 01-09-2013 * Law nº 41/2013 of 26 of June 2013, published in Diário da República, 1st Series, nº 121, of 26 of June 2013 [PDF]
Transcript courtesy of the McCann Files/Nigel Moore
João C. Rodrigues: Hello. So, Gerry, I'm sure you was not expecting that?
Gerry McCann: No, errm... but we are where we are, so... we'll look forward to the next date.
João C. Rodrigues: Did you understand what happened?
Gerry McCann: I think, errr... Isabel will be able to explain that better.
Martin Brunt: Are you feeling disappointed?
Gerry McCann: Obviously we're disappointed, yeah, sure.
João C. Rodrigues: Are you coming back?
Gerry McCann: If I get the opportunity to be heard I'll certainly come back.
Martin Brunt: What is it you want to say to the judge who is in these proceedings?
Isabel Duarte: (interrupts) Nothing.
Gerry McCann: I'll answer the questions that I'm asked, Martin.
João C. Rodrigues: But maybe do you have new expectations about finding Madeleine?
Gerry McCann: I think, you know, all the investigation enquiries are being directed to Metropolitan Police at this time.
João C. Rodrigues: So, you are quite with the hope about what is going to happen in Portugal in a few... in the coming days?
Gerry McCann: Sorry, I missed that.
João C. Rodrigues: You have some hope of what is going to develop in the coming days?
Gerry McCann: I would just direct you to the Metropolitan Police. They're very much dealing with all enquiries regarding the investigation.
Martin Brunt: Gerry, why is it important that you give evidence at this trial?
Gerry McCann: Well, the law's changed and I think, errr... I think Kate and I know better than anyone else, errr... what we've experienced and what we've gone through and the facts of the file and, errm... the damage that's been caused to the search for Madeleine.
João C. Rodrigues: That justifies another coming back to Portugal?
Gerry McCann: We'll do what it takes.
Gerry McCann could not have testified on the 27 of September according to article 510.º of the CPC, which clearly states that «In the case of substitution of any of the witnesses, the statement is not allowed without five days having elapsed from the date the opposing party was notified, unless the opposing party waives this deadline (...)». According to reports from inside the court said request was only made one day before Gerry McCann arrived in Lisbon. So unless we are to believe Mrs. Isabel Duarte failed to inform her client, which I very much doubt, there was no legal way foreseen in the current, or former for that matter, Civil Procedure Code for Gerry McCann to have testified on the 27. Was this trip just a mere publicity stunt? It seemed a poor one, even if it was echoed and slightly distorted, as usual, in the UK media. The question that remains is: Why was Gerry McCann in Portugal?