Tuesday, 28 August 2007

The forgotten victim in the McCann case

(My version of some paragraphs of Matthew Parris column, from “The Times”, about the disgraceful hounding of Robert Murat)

A life has been destroyed after the abduction of Madeleine McCann. Perhaps two, for we do not yet know Madeleine’s fate, and perhaps we never will. But for Chief-Inspector Gonçalo Amaral, the man in charge of the investigation whom much of the British newspaper industry, not casually, decided to accuse, a life lies in ruins. There is no redemption for Mr Amaral now, not if the Angel Gabriel should appear on television to exonerate him. The name alone brings a shudder.

His reputation will not now be rescued even by the arrest and conviction of anyone else. Imagine today giving your name at a hotel reception as Chief-Inspector Gonçalo Amaral — or Colin Stagg, or Sally Clark. Linkages between a crime and a name are set up in the public imagination and persist even after the story has changed direction. “Chief-Inspector Gonçalo Amaral — wasn’t he the one suspected of framing Madeleine McCann parents? Or cleared of it? Whatever. Mixed up in it anyway.”

Now watch the British media at work. I will not exercise the same courtesy that Matthew Parris had, so I will post links to the newspapers that published stories about Gonçalo Amaral, the Portuguese Chief-Inspector that “tortured” the mother “of another missing girl” . Let the headlines and reports that follow provide a handy journalists’ guide to assassination-by-innuendo.

Kate McCann 'being framed by Portuguese police'
Kate McCann is being set up by Portuguese police to take the blame over Madeleine, it was claimed today. The husband of a woman serving 16 years in another missing child case in the Algarve said: "I am worried Kate will be framed for a crime she did not commit, the way it happened to my wife."
(...)
Three years ago Leonor Cipriano was convicted of murdering her nine-year-old daughter Joana although her body has never been found. The detective leading the hunt for Madeleine has been charged with criminal offences in the Joana case amid claims that a confession was beaten out of Cipriano.
(...)
Goncalo Amaral, who is co-ordinating the search for Madeleine, and four other Portuguese police officers, were charged in June with offences relating to the inquiry into the disappearance of Joana.

Chief Madeleine detective charged over 'beating' of suspect in another missing girl case
The detective leading the hunt for Madeleine McCann has sensationally been charged over his conduct in another missing child case. Goncalo Amaral, head of the regional Judicial Police, is one of five officers accused over the beating-up of a suspect during questioning. They are said to have attacked Leonor Cipriano, whose nine-year-old daughter Joana vanished from the Algarve in 2004.
(...)

Detective in McCann case is charged with assault
A senior detective co-ordinating the hunt for the abductor of the missing four-year-old Madeleine McCann has been charged with criminal offences over another missing child case. Goncalo Amaral and four other Portuguese police officers were charged over the weekend with offences related to the beating and questioning of the mother of a missing girl.
(...)

Madeleine officer on attack charges
A senior Portuguese police officer working on the Madeleine McCann case has been charged over an attack on the mother of another missing girl. Goncalo Amaral, co-ordinator of the Policia Judiciara in Portimao, Algarve, is one of five men accused of "scenes of aggression" against Leonor Cipriano, whose nine-year-old daughter, Joana, disappeared in September 2004. The little girl's body has never been found but Cipriano and her brother, Joao, were charged and convicted of her murder.
(...)

Madeleine Cop Charged Over 'Mum Attack'
A senior Portuguese detective hunting for Madeleine McCann has been charged over an attack on the mother of another missing girl. Goncalo Amaral, of the Policia Judiciara in Portimao, Algarve, is one of five men accused of "scenes of aggression" against Leonor Cipriano. Her nine-year-old daughter Joana disappeared in September 2004. The girl's body was never found but Cipriano and her brother Joao were charged and convicted of her murder.
(...)

The whole disgusting business, the whole media-driven infatuation with this little girl and her parents, the whole sick, morbid, sentimental campaign of news generation and news manipulation, has been a disgrace to the British media.

Paulo Reis
(Phrases in red, newspapers links and quotations are my own responsibility, the remaining text I reproduced it from the column of Mr. Matthew Parris'.

PS – A British friend send me an email, with a curious quotation from Humbert Wolfe (The Uncelestial City):

You cannot hope
to bribe or twist,
thank God! the
British journalist.
But, seeing what
the man will do
unbribed, there's
no occasion to.

3 comments:

Claude2 said...

Paulo,
Very clever...
A small point, however: aside from the press treatment of a particular individual, the original British journalist was criticizing "much" of the press in his own country and "parts" of the press in another country.

I am just wondering whether you really think the "assassination-by-innuendo" game is exclusive to the British media. I would have thought the same could be said of much of the "popular" press around the world.

Claude2 said...

Paulo,
Sorry if this comment comes up several times - can't work out how the comment system works!

Very clever...
A small point, however: aside from the press treatment of a particular individual, the original British journalist was criticizing "much" of the press in his own country and "parts" of the press in another country.

I am just wondering whether you really think the "assassination-by-innuendo" game is exclusive to the British media. I would have thought the same could be said of much of the "popular" press around the world.

jean-luc said...

Dear Mr Reis

Please could you confirm the fact that I've found in one of your previous blog:
""Robert Murat, was under close police surveillance since the morning of May 4, the following day to the child disappearance"?

Is true that Robert Murat had had the oppotunity to get into the McCann's flat and that he did translate some interviews of witnesses at the beginning of the investigation?

Thank You