Friday, 27 March 2009

Thought For Today: How Did It Get This Far

It was reading this story about the release from a UK prison of Portuguese man Nicolas Bento that two things immediately sprang to mind, the stitching up by the West Yorkshire Police of a man they knew categorically could not be responsible for the crime for which he was charged and subsequently convicted, that poor unfortunate gentle giant of a man,Stefan Kiszko.

The other thing of course (in the Nicolas Bento case) was the involvement of the State owned apparatus the much sullied, tarnished and suspect, Forensic Science Service.

I'm not going to pontificate about the FSS, the FSS is only germane to this case inasmuch that it's services, along with that of the dogs et al, should never have been required at all.

What I am going to say a few words about, and I am well aware of the thousands if not millions of words already writ on the subject, are the shutters.

Fear not I shall not rehash the minutiae because what I have to say is not about such details but just the one fact that is fundamental to this case.

Notwithstanding the pressures the PJ found themselves under, be they real, imaginary, political or even commercial, given the dependence of Praia da Luz on tourism, it can only be said, as Goncalo Amaral freely admits (see below) that something was terribly amiss with the investigation.

What I am saying is not intended to thrash the PJ over the initial investigation, warrant it as they may, what I am saying however is that Gerry McCann and Co. have walked on the water because of the softly softly approach into the investigation.

Political interference or corruption apart, I cannot think of many countries in the world where had the conversion gone something like this:

Parent: "Someone has forced the shutters of our apartment and made off with our child."

Plod: The shutters show no sign of being forced, ergo your claim of abduction is a croc."

that the handcuffs would not have been out and the conversation would have continued down the local nick under entirely different conditions and one can only assume resulting in an entirely different outcome as the one we see today.

Bottom line: No forced shutters, no abduction, and that I'm afraid is just how simple and basic this whole sorry saga is.
It should have ended, or it should have been the beginning of the end, the moment the cops ascertained that there had been no interference to the shutters.

Footnote: The very idea and the irony of Gerry McCann swanning off to America to endeavour to achieve I don't know what is simply quite astonishing, had the McCanns repeated their practiced "well within the bounds of reasonable parenting" in the US, had such behaviour been discovered, even without the resulting tragedy, they would have been off to the slammer in an instant, the kids taken into care and who knows when any of them would have seen the light of day again.

Not might I add that I hold America up as any kind of shining example, the justice system is anything but that and as with most things they are totally over the top.

I only mention it as another example of what passes for reality in the mind of Gerry McCann.

Excerpts from Gonçalo Amaral admits that investigators protected the McCanns. this is but a general link to all interviews given by Goncalo Amaral.

Jornal de Notícias | Who has pressured the Judiciary Police (PJ) so that it could not advance with diligences?

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.

But were you prevented from advancing with the diligences that had been planned?

To me no one told me "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.

In what way?

Notice. Soon after the visit of the ambassador, an announcement goes out referring the thesis of abduction.

Was it the ambassador who pressurised the PJ?

It was not that what I said. 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 "Oh, oh, we have to be careful".


I am not going say names. If in the book I was careful to never give names, I am not going to do that now. It is one of those things that are kept. But in the group 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, one was careful for them not to be considered suspects so soon at that time, to prevent them from being accused in the public opinion, faced with the existing media pressure.

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.

Because, at that time we would have been crucified by public opinion.

You were afraid of the media pressure…

No. We felt it was necessary to treat them with ‘tweezers’. I recognise what we were mistaken.

Adam Faith - 1961

The time has come for me to hang my head in shame
The time has come for me to say that I'm to blame
The time has come for love's return but it won't be the same
Oh please believe me I won't make the same mistakes again.