Tuesday, 23 November 2010

One Flew Over The Cuckoo's Nest

A re-up for this previous common sense observation, and analysis on the same theme from Dr Martin Roberts.

Just Who IS loooking?
By Dimsie The Maddie Case Files.

I've never been sure who these people who've stopped looking for Madeleine because of GA's book actually are. They can't be the McCanns' friends and relations because obviously they believe every word Kate and Gerry say about the 'abduction' and so will be ignoring anything Amaral says to the contrary. They can't be the pro's that keep popping up in forums to tell us how we're all wrong and how dreadful Amaral is (and Tony Bennett too, of course), because they too are convinced Amaral is a monster for not believing in the 'abduction' and so they'll ignore him. They can't be members of the public because most members of the public have jobs to go to, families to look after, lives of their own to lead, and are far too busy to head off somewhere looking for Madeleine. So who are they? Who has stopped looking for Madeleine because of Amaral's book?

Come to think of it, who has STARTED looking for Madeleine? I haven't read any reports in the papers about the friends and relatives of the McCanns combing the wilder parts of the area around PdL where Edgar informs us she's being held. I can't see how the pro's who spend their time writing rubbish about the rest of us can have any time left over to join search parties; how many of THEM are in Portugal, knocking on doors and asking to inspect people's cellars? I don't know of any member of the public who's gone anywhere looking for Madeleine, let alone join Dave and Arthur for a tramp around the lawless wastelands of the Algarve, where presumably white man has not yet laid foot. I don't think either of Madeleine's parents is in Portugal, co-ordinating the search, though of course I could be wrong. Maybe we'll hear tomorrow that now that Kate has translated the files she's off to Portugal to tell the PJ how to start this most important search. But until I see it on tv I won't believe it.

Hmm, it seems NO ONE is looking for Madeleine, except a couple of incompetent (according to the Mail on Sunday) ex-cops, whose opinions change from one week to the next and who think that the way to find a child they're sure is entombed in a cellar in Portugal is to take a trip to Australia.

By Dr Martin Roberts
20 November 2010


So, esteemed Portuguese lawyer Isabel Duarte, acting on behalf of the McCanns, is progressing with plans to 'appeal the appeal', so to speak.

Just as Gonçalo Amaral had to present grounds for calling into question a judge's decision to uphold an injunction against him, Duarte has to furnish an argument sufficient both to endorse the original decision and to outweigh, rather than merely counter, the basis of the appeal court's reversal of that decision. In talking openly to the press she gives the impression of being quite confident she can do exactly that. Her optimism is founded on her view that 'essential facts' had not been taken into account by the appeal court judges. And what might these 'essential facts' be? Ms Duarte helpfully goes on to clarify:

1. Gonçalo Amaral's book was published to make money.

2. Gonçalo Amaral's book had inflicted pain and suffering on her clients, the McCanns.

3. Gonçalo Amaral's book had impeded the search for Madeleine by entertaining the hypothesis that Madeleine in fact died on the night of her disappearance.

It is as well to bear in mind that we are not talking about a professional 'also ran' here. Ms Duarte is a pre-eminent legal representative and a candidate for election to the presidency of the Portuguese equivalent of our bar association. Any client of hers is entitled therefore to suppose her own grasp of Portuguese law to be complete. As far as is possible, subtlety of interpretation should position her advocacy several degrees above mere recourse to common sense. So what do the McCanns get for their money?

Gonçalo Amaral published a book to make money

Who doesn't? The McCanns themselves have just announced an intention to reap the benefit of their own 'account of the truth' in due course. Gonçalo Amaral is not a public information service. Even if he were, he would be entitled to recover his costs, surely. How is he supposed to do that without making money? Think of public transport services even. Buses, trains etc. carry passengers, but not before they've bought tickets.

Some years ago I bought my own daughter a 'teach yourself flute' video. She and I were both disappointed to discover that lesson one amounted to 'open the box and put the instrument together.' Isabel Duarte's 'essential fact' number one is itself so obvious, as well as irrelevant, that like the many such leads previously filed by the PJ, it scarcely warrants a second glance. Does Ms Duarte really suppose the Supreme Court in Portugal is likely to see it another way?

Gonçalo Amaral's book has inflicted pain and suffering on the McCanns

We might be dealing with a case of double entendre here, in as much as the hypothesis of Madeleine's death, be it right or wrong, might well cause the McCanns pain either way. However, supposing that said hypothesis is in error, and painful for that reason, it would have been painful when first put before the public. Amaral's book was published, in Portuguese, in July 2008. The McCanns libel action was commenced over a year later.

Pain and suffering is something we generally try to alleviate at the earliest opportunity. To suffer unduly over time is indicative either of a masochist or someone more fearful of the treatment than the malady. Self evidently the McCanns' pain and suffering was not sufficiently acute for them to do anything about it for a year at least. And in January this year they arranged and attended a society dinner, to be seen and photographed in the company of a variety of T.V. personalities. At £150 per head, this particular social gathering was a serious fund-raising event, not a vehicle for the relief of pain and suffering, of which there has been no public sign whatsoever since the McCanns 'got over' the first 48 hours, much less since publication of A Verdade da Mentira.

Question: Ms Duarte, could you please quantify, or at least evidence, the pain and suffering endured by your clients as a direct consequence of the material discussed in Dr Amaral's published work?

No? Then let us turn to 'essential fact' number three:

Gonçalo Amaral's book has impeded the search for Madeleine

The search for something lost carries a transitive connotation. Besides the person or object searched for there are the locations searched. It implies an active endeavour on someone's part. We may remind ourselves, ad nauseam almost, that searching, in these terms, is something the McCanns themselves have completely failed to do. We know also that their various investigative mercenaries have been remiss in this very same regard. Not so the host of Portuguese and others who dedicated their time and energy to that very task, in the immediate aftermath of the McCanns' protestations on the evening of May 3, 2007. They 'searched' alright.

Are the McCanns therefore concerned that Amaral is in some way inhibiting the actions of those who have already done their bit? Should all these good people, having once searched in vain, search anew? If so, how frequently? The McCanns, as we know, retain a team of staff whose job it is to search, co-ordinate the search, or raise money to fund the search, none of whom will have been in any way dissuaded by disparaging comments written in a foreign language. 'He who pays the piper...' and all that. Perhaps by 'searching' the McCanns really mean to describe the actions of the countless conscientious citizens worldwide who might be inclined to keep a watchful eye out for any child resembling Madeleine's description and who could conceivably be she. If so, then we are no longer talking about searching per se, but addressing behaviour which would not be influenced by third-party opinion in any language.

Consider, if you will, a rather outlandish analogy: A hypothetical team of 'Indiana Jones' types believe they are just a few clues from discovery of the Holy Grail, when along comes Da Vinci Code author Dan Brown and explains, in print, why they are all wasting their time, because the Holy Grail is not actually a drinking vessel after all. So, to a man, the intrepid archaeologists give up their search. Having invested time, money and energy in pursuing their quarry, they down tools and go home, on Dan Brown's say so. Do they indeed? And if one or other of them happens to discover, in a not inappropriate location, a goblet conforming to his or her understanding of what the Holy Grail should be like, is that person likely to dismiss it as 'not the Holy Grail' because it contradicts Dan Brown's theory? Similarly, would anyone catching sight of a young girl with a conspicuous coloboma in her right eye and answering to the name Maddie ('She hated it when we called her that' - KM) ignore her completely on account of Gonçalo Amaral's opinion? This is a little girl's life we're talking about remember.

Question (We've been here already): Ms Duarte, could you please quantify or evidence the extent to which the search for Madeleine has been impeded by Dr Amaral's published work?

No? Then why on earth has this court been convened? Give the man his books back and stop wasting our time! And while you're at it you might just review your own career objectives (Plan B could come in handy).

H/t McCann Files. No permanent link.