Lying in the Sun

Judge and Gerry McCann 3

Judge and Gerry McCann - 3

When McCanns were to appear at the libel trial it was for the purpose of making a 'statement' to the Court.

Some of us were surprised (myself included) to learn that they had been asked questions by the Judge and also by the lawyers present.

Thanks to the transcript and translation by Joana Morais ...

...we are not only able to understand what took place in Court but also why the McCanns were questioned, as opposed to giving what most of us would term a 'statement.'

If I am understanding correctly, in the Portuguese Court system it is the questioning by the Judge and the lawyers which is deemed to be the statement.  It is not a case of a witness standing before the Court and either giving a prepared statement or making an impromptu statement that is not allowed.

When Kate and Gerry McCann were questioned by Judge Maria Emilia de Melo e Castro, and the lawyers also, this was in fact what in Portuguese Court system is referred to as the 'statement.'   The answers they gave are the statement!

After Gerry McCann had made his statement as described above (answered the questions put to him) he then asked if he could make a statement.

What McCann wanted therefore was to make a statement in the style as most of us know a statement to be - either one he had prepared, or perhaps an impromptu one.

(I think we all know though that McCann would have gone to Court already knowing that he was going to ask permission of the Court to make what in essence would have been a 'prepared statement' - something not usually allowed in a Portuguese Court.   What is interesting about the statement he attempted to make but was interrupted by the Judge,  is that it was not about his little missing daughter, not some heartfelt appeal, a few words to tell the world how wonderful she is, it was to DISS THE DOGS, that is the alerts of the cadaver dogs.  They really have got under McCanns skin!)

From the translation and transcript by Joana Morais:

Gerald McCann - Can I make a statement?

JudgeThe statements in the Portuguese court system, unlike in England where people can give extemporaneous statements [see VPS], are the declarations, which consist on a series of questions put by the lawyers and judge and by the answers of the deponent, which you just gave.

You can say
something but it won't have any legal validity, nevertheless it will still be recorded.  


So the Judge was prepared to allow McCann a little leeway, allow him to make some sort of statement, although not usually permitted, but she had to STOP McCann when she realised where he was going with his statement...  

Gerald McCann - I want to speak about the sniffer dogs.  They never alerted to any blood in the car and they never alerted to cadaver odour...  

Judge (interrupts)  We are not here to ascertain that.  Our perspective here in this Court is to analyse your claim.  

Gerald McCann- But the book states that as a fact!  

Judge - To decide that, there are already forensics experts.  We are not here to prove if the contents of the book are truthful or not. Here, we are only trying to establish if the freedom of expression of the defendants has affected the rights of the claimants.   This Court cannot be a substitute of the criminal investigation.   (Judge turns to the interpreter - "Tell the gentleman he is excused.


I guess Gerry McCann was doing exactly that, trying to turn this libel case into a criminal one!

Has the freedom of expression, the rights of the defendants, Dr Goncalo Amaral and the publishers of the book/documentary) affected in a negative way, the rights of the claimants, Kate Healy and Gerald McCann?
11th July 2014

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