Gonçalo Amaral admet que des enquêteurs protégeaient les MC
27.07.2008 - Marisa Rodrigues (Jornal de Notícias)
For the first time since he began to talk publicly about the case of the disappearance of Madeleine McCann, Gonçalo Amaral, the co-coordinator of the investigation, analyses his own responsibilities (wishful thinking, as what follows will show) in the outcome of the case and in the conduct of all the work of the Judiciary Police.
Of the pressures and constraints that they were anticipating, more than feeling, of the virtually unlimited autonomy in the carrying out of the diligences and even in the mistakes that he himself now assumes to have committed, (there's only one, the fear of the media) particularly the group of investigators initial decision to show precaution with everything that concerned Kate and Gerry McCann. For fear of the reaction of public opinion. Today, he would not agree with decisions that he helped the group of investigators to take. In the book " Maddie, The Truth of The Lie " he does not say everything that he knows. A second book is not out of question.
Chapeau idyllique, par rapport à l'interview qui suit. Celui qui suit l'est moins.
GA semble soucieux de maintenir l'équilibre entre l'estime de soi et le poids des pressions qu'il sent venir, notamment lorsque l'ambassadeur de Grande Bretagne, suspendant toute activité à Lisbonne, débarque à PDL où se trouve déjà le consul, comme il est normal. La journaliste lui demande si sa hiérarchie a empêché certaines investigations. Il répond qu'il n'a pas reçu d'ordre et s'empresse de préciser qu'il ne l'aurait pas admis et aurait rendu son tablier. Mais, ajoute-t-il, nous nous sentions contraints ! Il n'est pas raisonnable d'imputer à la présence de l'ambassadeur la référence à l'enlèvement (si vous avez Madeleine, laissez-la revenir chez elle) dans le premier message télévisé, cette thèse étant présentée comme l'unique possible depuis la découverte de la disparition. Sentant venir les pressions, ou les imaginant, il prend le taureau par les cornes et anticipe. Cette anticipation se traduit par des précautions inusitées vis-à-vis du groupe de vacanciers, mais c'est l'équipe des enquêteurs qui délibérément choisit de les prendre. Quand la journaliste demande des noms, GA se dérobe, diluant les responsabilités.* Et d'avancer, pour justifier les précautions, la crainte de l'opinion publique en raison de la surmédiatisation : il s'agit de protéger les MC, d'éviter que le public ne se retourne contre eux. On croit rêver, l'empathie jouait à fond, la compassion était totale et universelle. Mais quand la journaliste fait remarquer que l'existence de suspects est normale dans une enquête criminelle, GA recule et admet qu'en fait il s'agissait pour les enquêteurs de se protéger eux-mêmes de l'opinion publique. La journaliste en conclut que les enquêteurs craignaient les médias, ce que GA réfute : ils ont seulement senti qu'il fallait prendre les médias avec une paire de pincettes. Et c'est là que GA reconnaît avoir commis une erreur, la seule. Il s'abrite derrière le groupe (comme s'il n'en était pas le coordinateur, autrement celui qui décide après consultation des autres) pour se disculper de ne pas avoir pris certaines mesures (non nommées, reconstitution ?) quand la mort accidentelle de MMC a dû être sérieusement envisagée. Mais, remarque astucieusement la journaliste qui semble jouer au chat et à la souris, pourquoi, si vous n'étiez pas d'accord, ne pas avoir claqué la porte car, souligne-t-elle, votre image était en jeu ? Il ne reste à l'ex-inspecteur que de botter en touche : il n'est pas un rebelle, ce qui est assez amusant compte tenu de la popularité dont il jouit dans le public des anti MC où il est tenu pour un héros de rébellion, précisément.
La suite de l'entretien est sur le mode "après mon départ, plus rien ou presque n'a été fait", ce qui n'est pas faux, quoique rien ne montre que cela soit dû au départ de GA.
GA fait appel de manière récurrente à la notion de crédibilité. Là où on attendrait des faits, il propose des croyances. Ainsi, Jane TB n'est pas crédible parce que ses témoignages varient. De quel témoin ne pourrait-on en dire autant ? Quand on lit les dépositions de JT, on est surtout frappé par ses hésitations et l'indétermination de ses paroles.** Les amis des MC, qui ont dénoncé un épisode douteux daté de plus de deux ans, sont considérés aussi crédibles que les MC. Pourquoi ? Parce qu'ils sont médecins !
* Une des grossières erreurs faites par précaution a été de laisser laver tous les vêtements de la famille MC, MMC incluse, le 5 mai. Une autre a été de ne pas faire photographier les protagonistes par la police scientifique (bien avant l'arrivée du consul).
** En revanche GA évoque une assistante sociale britannique qui essaya de s'imposer sans en référer aux autorités, puis insinua anonymement que la tête de DWP lui rappelait elle ne savait plus quoi, mais un cas douteux.
Gonçalo Amaral : The pressures were immediately felt in the morning following the disappearance of the girl. The British consul in the Algarve went to the Judiciary Police to find out about the investigation, which is not abnormal. Shortly afterwards, it was the turn of the ambassador to go there. It is not a normal proceeding with all the English subjects. At least, I had never assisted a similar situation.
JN : But were you prevented from advancing with the diligences that had been planned?
GA : To me no one says "do not do it". If that had happened the "broth would pour over" [Portuguese idiomatic expression meaning it would be over the top]. There my participation in that investigation would have ended. But we felt constrained.
JN : In what way?
GA : See, soon after the visit of the ambassador, a communiqué referring to abduction is launched.
JN : Was it the ambassador who pressurised the PJ?
GA : I didn't say that. The pressure was felt in the team of investigators. When, in the heart of the group, if it was discussed the realisation of a determined diligence there was always someone who would say "Better be careful".
JN : Who?
GA : I am not going say names. If in the book I was careful to never give names, (1) I am not going to do that now. It is one of those things that are kept. But in the team there were seven, eight, ten persons taking part, between co-ordinators, directors… When the question of the necessity of doing a determined diligence was raised, everything was discussed, namely, which was the importance, the objective that was wanted to accomplish and what were the consequences. And when there were issues that needed us to come even closer to the couple and the group of friends, we took care that they wouldn't be considered suspects right away, to prevent them from being accused in the public opinion, considering the existing media pressure.
JN : Are you saying that the PJ itself decided to protect them. Why so many precautions? It's natural to have suspects in a criminal investigation.
GA : Because, at that time we would have been crucified by public opinion.
JN : You were afraid of the media pressure…
GA : No. We felt it was necessary to treat them with ‘tweezers’. I recognise what we were mistaken.
JN : If you believed in the accidental death thesis and in the parents involvement what was the reason for you not to insist that determined diligences were done?
GA : When certain diligences were suggested, the arguments against them were considered valid by the whole team. It’s the investigation team itself that said “it’s better not to take that route”.
JN : If you didn't agree why didn't you close the door? It was your image, while co-ordinator, that was in question.
GA : Those were not times for rebellions. I always worked in group. If the arguments were valid, one had to respect them.
JN : Even without agreeing with them?
GA : At the time I agreed because I considered them to be valid. Perhaps now, at a distance, I do not agree.
JN : What remained to be done?
GA : Too much. The first version of the rogatory letter, which was changed after I was dismissed on 2 October, had several steps that were simply struck out. It was requested that the British dogs be used to search the house of the McCanns in Leicester and also those of their friends and that they smelled their clothes. It also asked to verify the existence of a chart on the refrigerator of the girl's parents, which showed that she had problems with sleep and used to rise several times at night. The chart is referred to by an English police officer. New interviews with the arguidos were proposed but were never done. The charter was amended by the prosecutors.
JN : With what goal?
GA : Probably the steps were not considered important after my removal.
JN : You said that with another prosecutor perhaps the outcome of the investigation would have been different. If there had been another National Director, not Alípio Ribeiro, recently criticised by Almeida Rodrigues, would the investigation have been conducted differently?
GA : I do not know, but probably not. The National Director is only one and has a very specific understanding and procedures, regardless of whom addressed.
JN : Who chose the laboratory from Birmingham to examine the samples ?
GA : The PJ decided that the samples had to be analysed by an English laboratory. Given the campaign that already existed at the time against the PJ. At that time, we had to be fully aware that if the results tested positive, in Portugal, there would be a strong reaction against the competence and capacity of our laboratories. We did so to show confidence in British laboratories. The choice of Birmingham was made by the English police.
JN : It was a strategy? Or was there fear that the samples had not been well received and that they had been contaminated?
GA : It was strategy. We had confidence in the strength of the traces and the competence of our technicians. It was all collected with the utmost care. During the collection, the Portuguese had the technical care to contact the English technicians and follow the information given to them by phone. In particular the samples collected under the tile of the room, so that nothing collapsed on the question of evidence from the collection to the handling and packaging.
JN : But the procedures are not universal? Or did you want to safeguard your position in case of failure?
GA : They are universal. But we wanted to follow to the letter the procedures of the English police because the samples were to be sent to an English laboratory.
JN : Were you not confident in the Portuguese technicians?
GA : I had and still have absolute confidence. But we wanted someone who the British police would also agree with what they were doing to that later, no one could see that the samples were poorly collected.
JN : It was a kind of defence before the attack?
GA : That's more or less it.
JN : The line is that you advocate accidental death in the apartment with the involvement of parents. But the book raises suspicions about David Payne. It seems a contradiction.
GA : Nobody can say that the two have no relationship until they are investigated. I have suspicions about this gentleman or against anyone. Only I can see that there are situations that were unclear. There is a testimony from a couple of British doctors who say that in September 2005, when holidaying with the McCanns in Majorca and other couples, they became aware of behaviours that are not normal for them and that they related to this gentleman. The couple went to British police as soon as they saw them on television and the evidence only came to Portugal on 26 October. They say they saw Payne put a finger in his mouth, and move it in and out, whilst rubbing his nipple with the other hand. And speaking of what Madeleine would do, next to the father, Gerry. These testimonials from doctors, as credible as the McCanns, should have had another treatment by the police. (2)
JN : And what did the PJ do when they finally received this information?
GA : Nothing. They didn't even include in the rogatory letter any request of investigation related to this episode.
JN : David Payne, in your opinion, may have something to do with the disappearance of Madeleine?
GA : I do not know why it was not investigated properly as it should, in my opinion, have been. He was the last to see Madeleine alive after 17.30 hours, when she left the nursery. Gerry was playing tennis and asked him to look in on Kate and the kids. Gerry replies that he was in the apartment and she (Madeleine) was there. He returned 30 minutes later. Kate says it was 30 seconds. Something that does not fit together.
JN : In the book you say that he was recognised by a social worker. What did you intend by reporting this episode?
GA : Only that people realised that it is one more situation that was not investigated. The following morning to the disappearance, a social worker of English nationality in the Algarve offers to help, but she was almost ill-treated/offended by the couple, apparently by indication of this man [David Payne]. This man is recognised by the social worker as already having passed in a process, in an investigation, without her being able at the time to tell if it was in the quality of a witness or something else. If he has or not some relation with the death, I do not know. But these are situations that could not have passed in clear/without being investigated, as they were. They should have been checked.
JN : How did Robert Murat become a translator for the accused?
GA : There were many difficulties in finding translators. We needed him because many had to listen to many people. It was the GNR who suggested the name of Robert Murat because he spoke fluent Portuguese and English. He was known by the military to have helped informally in some translations. He was now accused by a number of factors combined. There is a testimony of Jane Tanner that recognises him from the view of his back and assures that this is the man who she saw that night passing with a child. (3)
JN : But Jane Tanner was a credible witness?
GA : Never was. But there were other things. Phone calls from anonymous people who came to mention RM as a possible abductor.
JN : These anonymous phone calls took place before or after being recognised by Jane Tanner?
GA : I can't say, but it was certainly before he was made arguido. Anyhow, nothing has been found that links Robert Murat in this case. (4)
JN : Recently you said that there is much you know and have not written. Is there something that has been purposely left out?
GA : It is logical that yes.
JN : What and for what purpose?
GA : I cannot disclose it.
JN : It leaves room for a second book, for example?
GA : Maybe. Let's see. (5)
(1) Mais il n'hésite pas à évoquer des actes infamants dont sont accusés, anonymement ou non, David Payne et Robert Murat, en les nommant.
(2) Qu'est-ce qui permet à GA d'affirmer que le LC n'a pas enquêté là-dessus ?
(3) Il faut quand même reconnaître qu'elle n'a jamais été aussi catégorique.
(4) Mais entretemps on a bien sali sa réputation et GA continue à le faire avec ses allusions. Il y a eu un accusateur, et c'était naturellement après et non avant le statut de témoin assisté.
(5) N'est-ce pas du bluff tout simplement ? S'il avait vraiment des choses importantes à dire, pourquoi attendre ? Marketing ploy ? On sait que les OPJ y ont parfois recours dans un interrogatoire, afin d'arriver à la vérité. Mais pas dans un contexte d'interview, et surtout au moment où les médias cherchent fébrilement à recueillir les paroles d'un ex-inspecteur devenu auteur de best-seller ! Hélas, 10 ans et beaucoup de mésaventures plus tard, il n'est pas permis de douter que ce n'était que du vent.
Exclusive in English : Former 'Maddie Cop interview
02.08.2008 - Brendan de Beer (The Portugal News)
In an interview staged only a short walk from the regional PJ police headquarters in Faro over the weekend, Gonçalo Amaral, the former leading detective in the case involving the disappearance of Madeleine McCann, has an open and frank conversation with The Portugal News. Lambasted by the British media, and ignored by much of the Portuguese written press since the launch of his controversial book last week (which the Correia da Manhã newspaper has assisted in promoting), Gonçalo Amaral explains his reasoning behind certain methods of investigation, and stresses his actions to date have not been to accuse anyone, rather, he argues, his focus has been about the pursuit of truth.
The Portugal News : Did you leak information about the investigation to the media?
TPN : But how does that explain that some sections of the Portuguese press have printed confidential information that later proved to be accurate? GA: Perhaps they had good sources of information, but we cannot conclude that they were given information by police in the Algarve.
TPN : What do we know about Madeleine's disappearance?
TPN : How often were the children checked upon?
TPN : What did you find at the apartment?
GA: No signs of forced entry. There were no signs of glove marks on the window. We compiled a report of the evidence we collected, but we are not here to accuse anyone.
TPN: Do you think more could have been done before archiving or closing the case?
GA: In my opinion, a number of things are still lacking: We should have continued investigating the parents in order to either charge them or rule them out as suspects. If I represented this couple, I would have insisted that police investigations continue. Not everything we do is to incriminate a suspect. Often a phone will be tapped in order to obtain information that will clear a suspect. We worked long hours discussing a number of potential explanations for Madeleine's disappearance; we did not insist solely that she had been abducted.
TPN : You say that politics prevented you from doing certain things during the investigation. What were those actions you would like to have taken?
GA: I found the intervention of the [then] British Ambassador strange, as besides the British Consul in Portimão already being involved in the case from the first morning of Madeleine's disappearance, all diplomatic channels had been opened and were functional. With the arrival of the Ambassador, my colleagues and I thought it was odd, and to a certain extent made us feel limited in our investigations.
GA: No we did not receive any orders. I don't like talking about orders. But we felt limited.
TPN : Did the police offer a plea bargain to Kate McCann?
GA: We only explained the nature of certain crimes. Her lawyer was there, you can ask him.
TPN : Did Kate and Gerry McCann answer all the questions that you posed to them as fully as possible?
GA: Up until being declared an arguido, Kate, at the request of her lawyer, co-operated. When questions became of a nature that could incriminate her, she was made an arguido, her rights and duties were read out to her in English and thereafter she opted for the right to remain silent.
GA: He answered all questions, before and after being made an arguido.
TPN : When did the police first learn of the intention of the McCanns to leave Portugal?
GA: With the arrival of the sniffer dogs, I think back in August, the couple started showing a keenness to leave the country. As for these dogs, I have not seen or heard any scepticism in Britain, contrary to Portugal.
TPN : How can you explain the theory that Kate and Gerry used their hire car in the disappearance of their daughter when it was hired 25 days after she vanished?
GA: I don't know. I was not the one who hired the car. A bodily fluid was detected in the trunk of the car which was similar to that of Madeleine McCann in 15 of the 19 indicators of her profile.
TPN : Has this evidence been investigated further?
TPN : Why not?
GA: You will have to ask my former colleagues that question.
TPN : What evidence was there that someone had been watching apartment 5A prior to Madeleine’s disappearance?
GA: We spoke to a number of people who came forward.
TPN : Anyone suspicious mentioned in these statements?
GA: No. Perhaps just a British musician we later tracked down. But in a reconstruction, witness testimonies, such as that of Jane Tanner and others, including restaurant workers, could be clarified further.
TPN : At what stage did you become suspicious of the McCanns and why? GA: There were a number of inconsistencies detected during the first interrogations.
GA: We were initially told by the parents that when they checked on the children they would use the front door. But Kate later said they used the other door. Because had they used the front door, they would have detected someone had forced their way into the room [where Madeleine and the twins had been sleeping]. But during these initial rounds of questioning, my team and I believed these inconsistencies were due to the McCanns and their friends trying to cover the fact they had left their children unattended, along with their possible lack of trust in the Portuguese police. This had a lot of weight for me in the beginning, especially as the law in Britain is far tougher concerning the abandoning of children.
TPN : Did you look into sex offenders, and what was the outcome?
GA: It is very difficult that a paedophile pre-selected Madeleine. It had to be very well planned. But all known sexual predators were investigated.
TPN : Did you have any evidence that Robert Murat and the McCanns or their friends knew each other previous to Madeleine's disappearance?
GA: We tried to confirm this, but along with the assistance of the British police, we were unable to establish any connection. But we looked into all possibilities. Robert Murat purchased a last-minute ticket to come to Portugal a couple of days before Madeleine went missing, perhaps as it was cheaper to do so. But we had to investigate whether or not his visit coincided with Madeleine's disappearance a couple of days later and whether he had been contacted to come here.
TPN : How do you see the lawsuit that you might face over your book?
GA: My book is based on facts. It could be a good occasion to take all the case files to court and compare what I wrote with that which is contained in the files.
TPN : What next lies ahead for you?
GA: I have had a number of proposals, but in October I am intending on starting my practical training as a lawyer, as I already have a law degree, but never practised.