Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Economic crisis overshadows revival of Madeleine McCann case in Portugal

The focus of attention in the Madeleine McCann saga is expected to shift uncomfortably back to Portugal soon with separate visits by members of the newly-formed special team from the Metropolitan Police and Madeleine's parents.

The groundwork for the visit by the Scotland Yard team was done by Joanna Kuenssberg O'Sullivan, Chargé d'Affaires at the British Embassy in Lisbon. Following discussions with her last week, Portugal's Judicial Police (PJ) offered to co-operate with the Met. The PJ will retain overall responsibility for the investigation, which was formally shelved in July 2008. The Met team will inject their “particular expertise” but it is not clear how that will be done, especially in view of the sensitivities of the case.

Critics in Britain, including two members of the Metropolitan Police Authority, have condemned the Met's involvement as politically motivated and a waste of money. They say it will deny justice to other victims of crime and wonder why the parents of other missing children abroad have not been given similar special treatment.

The Portuguese police have been heavily criticised in the past by the McCanns and the British press for their handling of the failed investigation and will probably not take kindly to any further insulting “we know best” attitudes from foreigners.

That said, there has been plenty of Portuguese-UK co-operation on this case since Madeleine disappeared in May 2007. An Embassy spokesperson told me that “the UK and the Portuguese authorities have been in close contact from the start, and this will continue.” 

It is thought that the Met team, led by Detective Chief Inspector Andy Redwood of the Homicide and Serious Crime Command, will want to conduct a “cold case review”, which basically means going through all the paperwork again. They will be looking for any vital evidence, anything overlooked or not fully developed during the Portuguese inquiry.

The Portuguese edition of Kate McCann's book, Madeleine, is to be published in Portugal next Monday. According to a report in The Sun newpaper, Madeleine's parents will be in Lisbon for the launch. Neither the McCanns' spokesman, Clarence Mitchell, nor a senior source within the company handling the launch could confirm this today.

Speaking about the Portuguese edition, Kate McCann has been quoted as saying, "I don't feel we have had the chance to tell our side of the story in Portugal yet. I am hoping people will read the book and realise what kind of people we are - loving parents."

Her husband added: “I think there are a lot of cultural differences and sometimes people there (in Portugal) didn't understand why we did certain things and the book will hopefully address that."

There has been little recent interest in the case in Portugal. The four-year-old Madeleine mystery is well down the list of concerns in a country wracked by an economic crisis which has brought  about tax increases, pay cuts, job losses, rising unemployment plus the prospect of further austerity measures and two years of recession.

A three-year €78 billion bailout plan to avert bankruptcy was approved unanimously by European finance ministers yesterday, subject to a raft of tough conditions. That and the general election two weeks after the Portuguese Madeleine book launch are currently the most pressing matters here.

7 comments:

  1. http://www.gerrymccannsblogs.co.uk/press/49may11/AOL_09_05_2011.htm#hh

    Thank-you for the article but Kate McCann has spent the week accusing the Portuguese police of covering up 5 child sex crimes plus the blatant lie that no one searched for her daughter. Link above from just one shocked and very sad lady and her opinion now of Kate. I believe the police that will accompany the McCanns are for security reasons after the weeks abuse she has hurled at Portugal through her book. I doubt there will be many who are interested in anything either of them have to say.

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  2. SteelMagnolia: i thank You a lot all You do .

    You are present all time searching by the truth.

    Me, like a Portuguese Citizen i hope they not return anymore to My Country !

    About Madeleine.... of course i will not forget Her and any Child dead; missing ; abused or without care.

    Maria, como muitas da minha idade.

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  3. Acho que tudo o que o Len diz neste artigo é verdade. Se o livro é mais uma farsa ou se é a verdade absoluta é provavelmente o mesmo que saber onde está a Maddie. Acho que as autoridades britânicas fazem bem em reabrir o caso. Oxalá o resolvam. BFP

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  4. TRANSLATION OF THE PREVIOUS COMMENT:
    I think that everything Len has said in this post is true. Whether the book is another farce or the absolute truth, it's probably all the same when it comes to knowing Madeleine's whereabouts. I think the British authorities are right in reopening the case. Let's hope they crack it. BFP

    Obrigado BFP. Comentários em Português são bem-vindos!

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  5. I find it extraordinary after the kilometres of print that must have been written on this case, that Kate McCann says: "I don't feel we have had the chance to tell our side of the story in Portugal yet"...

    How much more chance do they need?

    Let's hope this really brings an end to the whole story - particularly so that the village of Praia da Luz can face a summer without all this negative publicity still hanging in the air - but i guess if it does, there will be more books...

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  6. http://spudgunsspoutings.blogspot.com/2011/05/mccanns-stength-determination.html

    Here we have a rare bird, an investigative journalist, can he get anything about the McCanns published ? ALL editors say no, nothing to be written in a negative way thank-you very much, by negative they of course mean DO NOT tell the British public as to date Portugal have heard nothing about the claims branded around by Cameron.

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  7. In the running for 'Outstanding Diplomat of the Year' must be Joanna Kuenssberg O'Sullivan, the Charge d'Affairs in Lisbon who somehow has managed to persuade Portugal's Judicial Police that the new set of plods from the Met, sent at David Cameron's whim to crack the Madeline case, should be welcomed and are a good idea in the best interest of Portugal and its citizens. What next for Joanna? I suggest the Middle East, move over Tony!

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