A discussion document issued by the Madeleine McCann Research Group, 14 February 2012
On 20 October 2010, the Portuguese Appeal Court made a historic decision in the long-running case of Dr Gerald McCann and Dr Kate McCann -v- Dr Goncalo Amaral.
After a lower Portuguese Court had banned his book for 13 months, the Appeal Court decided, having regard to the right to freedom of speech and expression, that it was not libellous for his book, once again, to be freely sold in Portugal (and other countries, such as Brazil), where Portuguese is spoken.
We reproduce relevant extracts of the judgment below.
Not only has Dr Amaral’s book on the disappearance of Madeleine McCann, ‘The Truth About A Lie’, been freely available in Portuguese-speaking countries for the past 16 months, it has also, since various dates from September 2008 onwards, been available in no fewer than eight different languages, and all the countries that speak those languages.
We’ve done a calculation as to which countries have Dr Amaral’s book on sale in their main language. Here they are, in alphabetical order:
We estimate that around 1,100,000,000 people live in those countries: 1.1 billion, or nearly one-sixth of the world’s population.
Madeleine McCann was a British girl, born and bred in England, a land famed the world over for its freedoms, including the right of free speech. Yet Dr Amaral’s book cannot be published and sold in this country. Indeed, not only that, former Madeleine Foundation Secretary Tony Bennett currently faces a term of imprisonment for, amongst other things, referring to that book. In July 2010, for example, the Madeleine Foundation published a leaflet about Dr Goncalo Amaral, in which this statement appeared:
“In ‘The Truth About A Lie’, Dr Amaral explains why he and his team had good grounds for believing Madeleine had died in her parents’ apartment and covered up her death”.
That was and is a true - 100% factual statement. Yet as The Madeleine Foundation reported last year, the McCanns believe that the British public should not even be able to read that sentence. Carter-Ruck told the Madeleine Foundation that that sentence in their leaflet was libellous.
The world has turned upside down. Over a billion people worldwide can read the account by the initial senior detective in the case of the history of, conclusions arrived at, in his investigation.
But the people in the land where Madeleine was born, so the McCanns say, should not be allowed to read it.
There are in fact translations of Dr Amaral’s book available on the internet. Such is the power of the McCanns’ lawyers, Carter-Ruck, however, that we are not sure if we can give you the links here. So we won’t.
But what we can and will do is reproduce those parts of the Portuguese Appeal Court’s judgment which explain just how widely in the world Dr Amaral’s book can be bought and read:
On 24 July 2008, the defendant Dr Goncalo Amaral first published his book, through publishers Guerra e Paz.
In that book, Dr Amaral put forward the following hypothesis:
- That the child Madeleine McCann died in the Ocean Club apartment G5A in Vila da Luz, on the evening of 3 May 2007
- That the McCanns and their friends fabricated an abduction
- That Dr Kate Healy and Dr Gerald McCann are suspected of involvement in the concealment of their daughter’s body
- That the death may have been the outcome of a tragic accident
- That there are indications of neglect of the care and safety of the children.
Dr Amaral’s book was published in four editions by the end of July, a further nine by the end of August, and another 12 by end of September. Each edition was of around 10,000 copies. [Thus, in all, around 250,000 copies were printed]. At the time of our decision, the book had been sold out at practically all points of sale.
When the book was published, Dr Amaral gave an interview to the newspaper Correia da Manha, published on 24 July 2008. In that interview, he explained his analysis of the case. He also gave interviews later to all other media that asked him for an interview, each time defending the book’s thesis.
At the beginning of May 2009, Dr Amaral published his book in France, this time under the title: ‘Maddie, L’Enquete interdite: Les revelations du commissaire portugais charge de l’enquete [The revelations of the Portuguese co-ordinator of the investigation].
Dr Amaral also gave countless interviews to several media in France, including the one that was published by Le Parisien newspaper in both its paper and online editions. In those interviews, Dr Amaral continued to promote his hypothesis on the case. The book’s French edition was, and continues to be, systematically and prolifically promoted on the internet, for example on the following websites: [a long list of websites follows] .
Between the date when the Portuguese edition was published [24 July 2008] and the date of the book’s French edition [May 2009], Televisao Independente (TVI) broadcast a TV programme produced by Valentim de Carvalho for the company Filmes, Audiovisuais, SA [FASA], who hold the copyright of the documentary.
The first transmission of that programme was on 13 April 2009, the second on 12 May 2009. This programme was essentially based on the contents of Dr Amaral’s book: ‘Maddie: The Truth About A Lie’. In that documentary, Dr Amaral appears and continues to advance his theory (a) that Madeleine is no longer alive (b) that her death occurred within their Ocean Club apartment, and (c) that her parents, the McCanns, concealed their daughter’s body.
At least 2,200,000 people viewed the first screening of this programme.
At the end of April 2009, a DVD of the programme was made, with the following title and subtitle: ‘Maddie - The Truth About A Lie: A powerful documentary based on the best-seller ‘The Truth About A Lie’ by Goncalo Amaral. Already, 75,000 copies of this DVD have been distributed for sale. The DVD is published on FASA’s website.
All the actions within the investigation that Dr Amaral reports in his book are documented within the investigation file. Not only that, but the investigation documents were also made available in electronic format, not only to the national media, but to international media. These media proceeded to divulge the contents of the reports and statements from the investigation file. This publication of the electronic reports naturally enabled knowledge of the facts of the investigation to be circulated. Public comments were made and soon there was universal discussion of the contents of the investigation file. Any individual in the world can have access to these facts and to the documents of the investigation which enabled the facts of the investigation to be verified. All of this was only a click on the mouse away.
The friends of the McCanns did not make themselves available in Portugal to attend a reconstruction [of the events of 3 May 2007]. This is all documented on pages 4,636 to 4,638 of Volume XII of the ‘Investigation Processos’ files, complied by the Prosecutor’s office.
Dr Amaral’s book was published, through other editors, in several countries, as well as in France, as we referred to above.
The publications occurred as follows:
- In Spain, September 2008, titled ‘Maddie - La verdad de la mentira’
- This was distributed in the Spanish/Castilian language in Spanish-speaking Latin American countries
- In Denmark, in November 200, titled ‘Maddie - Sandheden on Lognem’.
- This Danish edition was then published in the Nordic countries of Norway and Sweden
- In Italy, December 2008, titled ‘Maddie - La Verita della Menzonga’.
- That edition was distributed in Italian-speaking countries all over the world
- In Holland, April 2009, titled ‘Maddie - De Waarheide Achter de Leugen’.
- That was distributed in Dutch-speaking countries throughout the world
- In Germany, in June 2009, with the tile: ‘Maddie - De Wahrheit uber die Luge’
- This was also distributed in German-speaking countries, including Austria and Switzerland.
- There is also an English version circulating on the internet, on the web site www.gerrymccannsblogs.co.uk/PJ/TRANSLATIONS.htm , where a Portuguese version can also be found.