14 - JUN 20 - N. Moore
Gerry McCann - The Travellin' Man mccannfiles
By Nigel Moore - 20 June 2014
To travel hopefully is a better thing than to arrive, as another Scot with a penchant for poetic licence, Robert Louis Stevenson, once wrote. It's a well worn saying, and you'd be hard pressed to have sat through any TV talent show and not heard a stream of 'Truman effect' wannabees blathering on about 'the journey' - usually just prior to the public ordering them a taxi home. But for the McCanns it's different. For them, the journey is a torturous, soul destroying and time consuming ordeal of booking the flight, arranging the hotel (the usual?), getting time off work (Kate?) and arranging childcare. Why, that's a whole 45 minutes hard work down the pan straight off the bat. It seems the McCanns are cursed 'above all cattle, and above every beast of the field' to enjoy fruitless journeys. Aside from being physically and emotionally worn down by the libel trial, who can forget their abortive poster-jolly (look at the pictures) to Huelva - where they arrived only to find most of the shops closed due to a public holiday. That particular journey must have slipped the McCanns mind outside the Palace of Justice, otherwise they would surely have raged about the 'FIVE times' Gonçalo Amaral had thwarted their plans. Forget pantomime villain, Dr Amaral is now taking on Svengali-like status with his supreme power to exercise control over the health and well-being of anyone that steps into his path. All he's missing now is a flowing black cape, a fiendishly coiffured moustache and a clap of thunder every time he appears. So, let's get all this travelling business out into the open, where we can see it, once and for all, and clear up any misunderstandings about Gerry McCann's two trips to Lisbon. As the good doctor himself has frequently said, speculation does nobody any good. So let's burrow down and get to the truth. And that's 'the truth', by the way, not an 'account' of it.
The first time Gerry packed his toothbrush and flannel was for the hearing on 27 September 2013. As we now know, the hearing that day was adjourned due to an illness affecting Gonçalo Amaral's lawyer's son, which required hospital treatment. As Vitor Santos de Oliveira said at the time: "My son is having an operation. I hope that because of this you won't be making a hullabaloo saying that Gonçalo Amaral is holding things up." The 'you' here presumably being directed at the press, although it could equally be applied to the McCanns, seeing as the two have been in a mutually beneficial and 'consciously coupled' relationship for 7 years now. That same press had led us to believe that Gerry McCann was coming to town for a showdown with his arch nemesis, Gonçalo Amaral, in a thrilling court room battle. He would appear in the witness box to give compelling evidence that would have the former police coordinator crying into his sardine lunch and muttering: "It's a fair cop, doc, you got me done up like a kipper."
As Clarence of the Yard said, in an official McCann press announcement: "I can confirm Gerry McCann is hoping to give evidence." Must be true then. And, amidst all this, what did the slippery fish that is Gerry McCann have to say as he arrived? "I am here for Madeleine, for justice, for the twins and ourselves," opined the heart specialist, neatly avoiding the issue of actually giving evidence. When he was pressed as to whether he would be making a statement in court, he replied unhelpfully: "I am not sure." Following the adjournment, Gerry was asked whether he knew what had just happened, and said: "I think, errr... Isabel will be able to explain that better." Smart move. It's always best to defer tricky questions to a lawyer... or just don't answer them at all. And in response to another question, he added: "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." Within a week, Gerry was back at the Palace of Justice, in Lisbon, for the Second Act. Mirroring his previous performance, he was not sure what would happen. "We are here to listen to the judge and hopefully be heard," he told reporters. As we all know, there is a perilous canyon between the towns of Hope and Reality. Twice every week people 'hope' they will win the EuroMillions lottery, even though there is only a 1 in 76,275,360 chance of doing so. Nevertheless, still better odds than there were that Gerry would get his 'day in court' that day. As we have already seen, Gerry possessed clear knowledge that the law had changed and so it makes sense to take a closer look at what the new law actually says (courtesy of Astro):
The Civil Process Code allows the parties in a civil case to make a 'declaration' to the court. This declaration has a purpose: the parties, not being witnesses and therefore not being able to add anything to the trial in terms of evidence, are given the opportunity to offer the court additional evidence and/or to make a confession. This declaration can ONLY be made AFTER all the evidence (witnesses and material evidence) has been presented, precisely because it is supposed to ADD to the evidence that the court has seen and/or heard. And because it is supposed to ADD to the evidence, it is up to the judge to decide whether or not he/she has been presented with enough evidence and whether or not he/she believes that the party or parties can add anything of use to the evidence that has been presented. In the former civil process code, there was no opportunity for any of the parties to confess. This is the main purpose of the new disposition.
None of the parties - Kate and Gerry McCann or Gonçalo Amaral - could ever speak in court before the witnesses had all been heard. That is how the process is designed, no exceptions. And because the judge's permission depended upon her assessment of the evidence that would be presented by the witnesses, she would never have been able to approve or refuse their request for a declaration BEFORE the last witness was heard. So, the truth is that Gerry McCann would have known exactly what would happen at the hearings he attended and what the judge would say - that she would be unable to rule on whether he could give evidence until after all the witnesses had been heard. Yet he was happy for the lie - that he was 'hoping' to give evidence in court but was then heartbreakingly thwarted - to perpetuate, and he was happy to use the press, and Clarence Mitchell, in the dissemination of this lie. Any other interpretation of events would suggest the McCanns' lawyer, Isabel Duarte, was incompetent in her duties and had failed to advise her clients correctly. She should therefore have had her mandate revoked immediately, having wasted Gerry McCanns precious time TWICE. A crime that would put her one rung above Maleficent, the self proclaimed Mistress of All Evil, according to the McCann book.
Whether Gerry travelled in full knowledge of the facts (and remember he told us himself that the law had changed thus demonstrating prior knowledge) or in complete ignorance, one fact appears clear: Isabel Duarte was either compliant to her clients charade outside the court (on two occasions) or she was complicit in a blatant and cynical piece of Lisbon street theatre. So, having no reason to be there, why was it so important for Gerry McCann to fly to Lisbon, on two futile journeys, and drain the diminishing coffers of Madeleine's Fund yet further - having already raided the Fund to pay expenses to all their witnesses? Maybe he thought his presence needed to be imposed on the proceedings, following the disastrous anecdotal musings, served up as 'evidence', by the witnesses he and Kate had cobbled together. Maybe he wanted to ensure Trish Cameron wasn't approached by the press for an unscripted quote. Maybe he felt the McCanns' reputation is so fragile and powerless he needed to divert attention away from impending bad news - since he chose to travel on the first day that Gonçalo Amaral's witnesses were due to be heard, and then came back again the following week to make sure the job was done. Pure coincidence, I'm sure. And, of course, the press lapped it all up like the thirsty little kittens they are. Clean plates all round.
Never mind. We move on. Street theatre only has a limited shelf life. Justice lasts a lifetime. And the good news, for justice, is that Gonçalo Amaral is in good spirits and has already appointed a new lawyer, whose name is currently being placed with the court. The trial will soon be concluded and then it will over to the judge, Maria Emília de Melo e Castro, to make her decision. What view she takes of all this sideshow nonsense will only be known by her but I am confident her decision will be grounded in the evidence presented before her in the court room, and not in the flights of fancy that have taken place outside it.