Madeleine McCann reporters to give evidence at Leveson Inquiry

According to the Press Agency, today at the Leveson Inquiry journalists who reported the Madeleine McCann case will be giving evidence.

The article states:

Jailed reporter to give evidence
(UKPA) – 5 hours ago

A former Daily Mirror financial reporter who was jailed for purchasing low priced stocks and then recommending them to readers is to give evidence to the Leveson Inquiry.

James Hipwell received a six-month prison sentence in February 2006 for pocketing nearly £41,000.

He mentioned the stocks in the Daily Mirror’s City Slickers column and then quickly sold them as values soared.

Mr Hipwell claimed in July that journalists at the Daily Mirror and other newspapers hacked phones.

Publisher Trinity Mirror insists that its journalists work within the criminal law and the Press Complaints Commission code of conduct.

The inquiry into press standards, which after today will break until January 9, will also take evidence from three journalists who wrote about the disappearance of Madeleine McCann from Portugal in 2007 for the Daily Express, Nick Fagge, Padraic Flanagan and David Pilditch.

In March 2008 Express Newspapers paid £550,000 libel damages and printed front-page apologies to the missing girl’s parents, Kate and Gerry McCann, over a series of articles falsely alleging they were responsible for their daughter’s death.

Prime Minister David Cameron set up the Leveson Inquiry in July in response to revelations that the News of the World commissioned a private detective to hack murdered schoolgirl Milly Dowler’s phone after she disappeared in 2002.

The first part of the inquiry, sitting at the Royal Courts of Justice in London, is looking at the culture, practices and ethics of the press in general and is due to produce a report by next September.

The second part, examining the extent of unlawful activities by journalists, will not begin until detectives have completed their investigation into alleged phone hacking and corrupt payments to police, and any prosecutions have been concluded.


Witness Statement of David Pilditch

Witness Statement of Padraic Flanagan

Transcript of Morning Hearing 21st December 2011

Transcript of Afternoon Hearing 21st December 2011


51 comments on “Madeleine McCann reporters to give evidence at Leveson Inquiry

  1. Well I can see something being done in Portugal, because now the press are saying the leaks came from SENIOR INVESTIGATING OFFICERS… oh dear… and it happened under Goncalo Amaral’s watch.. oh boy

  2. Whilst looking for something else, I re-read an FOI response to various accusations as to why LP offered a link to the FindMadeleine site:

    “A number of law enforcement agencies, including Leicestershire Constabulary, have a link to the ‘Find Madeleine’ website. Whilst we encourage anyone with information about Madeleine’s whereabouts to contact the Portuguese police or their local  police, we recognise the fact that some people may not feel comfortable in doing so.  This link provides them with an alternative means of passing information. (…)What must be borne in mind is that at the heart of this tragic case is an innocent little girl who went missing in May 2007. Our focus has, and will always be, to do everything we can to assist our Portuguese colleagues who lead the investigation into Madeleine’s disappearance. I would hope that you will support us in this.”http://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/86682/response/220159/attach/html/4/0001%2000221411%20Resp%2013MADELINE%20MCCANN%20REQUESTS%2001.DOC.doc.html

  3. Afternoon Carana, I can’t believe what is coming out at the Leveson Inquiry.  It is truly amazing and the leaks according to David Pilditch were coming from senior investigating officers who were briefing ‘of the record’

    He says that senior detectives in the Portuguese police were briefing “off the record”.

  4. I found that to be quite a delicately phrased reply. 

    An oblique acknowledgment of press leaks?

    17 Processos Vol XVII Pages 4692 – 4706

    (…)The requesting entities recognise that part of the material provided by them was in the sequence of the Letters of Request. The requesting entities have always understood that this material would be part of the current process files. However, a large part of the information was provided in an informal manner, expedited spontaneously, so as to guarantee the speed and efficiency of the investigations, namely those covered by International and Community Rights applicable to legal and police cooperation.However, the requesting entities have learned that a decision was taken with relation to the state of the investigations, notice of its archiving having been given, in accordance with the public announcement of 21st July 2008.In addition, the requesting entities have noticed that numerous elements from the process have been published during the last weeks in the Portuguese press. Indeed, since the 22nd July 2008 the final report of the PJ has already been circulating on the Internet.
    But in some of the press is clear with respect to its intentions with relation to this process, as can be read, for example, in the editorial note on page 5 of the edition of the 22nd July 2008 of Correo da Manha: “The essence lies with the child who remains missing and for this reason the newspaper is not going to stop searching or questioning all the versions of all the protagonists, whatever inconveniences this may cause. The public interest lies here and not in the judicial secrecy.” (our highlighting)As a result, a large part of the information mentioned previously, could become known by those subject to the process and by the public in general, namely in the terms of article 86, no. 2 and 3, that are contrary to no. 6 and 90 of the CPP.


  5. Sorry. I hadn’t realised we were posting at the same time: I hadn’t seen your comments. Will read up. 😉

  6. 12.59pm: Sherborne wants to put it on record that there is nothing in the police files to suggest that Madeleine’s DNA was found in a car referred to in one of Pilditch’s articles.

    Leveson explains he is conducting an investigation into press ethics but is happy to put it on record that this is indeed the case.
    Everybody is agreed that there is absolutely no foundation at all for the allegation that emerged throughout the press at this time that Dr and Dr McCann were involved in any way, in any inappropriate conduct in relation to the disappearance of their daughter.That doesn’t need to be established for me.

    Oh dear, I can see tears before bedtime.

  7. Tears Carana, there is massive carpet chewing, irate tempers and Leveson is being accused of all sorts.

    They don’t like the truth do they?

    Mind you I am angry as ****simply because of how gullible I was and now that the truth is emerging, well for once I am lost for words.

    To think that GA got his feet into 3A and all the time it was his officers or him leaking stuff  ‘off the record’.  What did he know what he did and once the McCanns issued those libel writs back in September 2009 he decided that he needed money as his assets were frozen?  

    I really hope that they throw the book at him, because of him and his leaks, I for one, believed the shit coming out of Portugal and by me believing the crap that they were printing in the press I was hindering the search for a missing child.

    Too right I am angry, angry at the people who took me for a sucker, especially the PT people who were spinning his crap.

  8. I think Zenny at JATYK has summed it up perfectly.

    I physically feel ill. If it hadn’t been for Gonc and his cronies passing on lies to these journalists, the whole Truthseekers platform wouldn’t exist. The forkers have based all of their “truth” on what these journalists printed. They are responsible for these ghouls. They created the monsters that torment and torture the McCann family. It’s utterly sickening.

    I am so glad I woke up and smelt the coffe, but to hear this now of what was really happening, I feel angry and ashamed that I got so suckered in.

  9. Time now for Portugal to hold an enquiry into the whole fu***** mess  and corruption attached to this investigation.

    • It’s a young democracy… Laws, regulations, procedures, practice and a change in mentality take time. 

      Whatever the criticisms of the initial team, I still think the Lisbon PJ did the best they could once they’d taken over. 

      • I agree, but unfortunately it was too late, the initial team had not sealed the apartment, had re-let it and god knows what else.  They were trying to salvage something to keep the case open and keep the investigation going but couldn’t manage it, in my opinion.

      • It seems hugely complicated. The GNR seems to be the first port of call and I don’t think they had the powers to launch a missing child alert (even if it had existed) without a huge chain of bureaucracy.

        The GNR was your local bobby service: there were language problems and  thought the child might have wandered off. When they realised that she was nowhere to be found, they contacted the PJ and launched whatever search facilities they could. I have no doubt that they really hoped to find the child and did what they could – even if they had to wait around for instructions. 

        What I understand less is the stance of those who seemingly support the PJ… but apparently only the local PJ. 

  10. Totally agree Samantha, poor kid never stood a chance with that B*stard at the helm.  I would love to give him a piece of my mind at the moment… him and his f***ing hanger-ons.  They were spinning shite to the British Press and the likes of me fell for it.

    How many other people have fallen for the spin?  How many are still repeating the same mantra as back in the summer of 2007?  Freeze his assets, my god at the moment I could……..  (won’t repeat)

  11. If it’s any consolation, I think many people wondered at some point or another if the “leaks” might have had some basis in fact, including myself. 

    Objectively, there was no way to even imagine that the original local PJ team seemingly didn’t quite understand the reality of the forensic results. For example.

  12. Thanks Carana.

    I knew I had seen it somewhere, the list of interpreters,



    I wonder if they were getting their info from one of these people named.  

    • Perhaps no connection…

      “Like everything else about the case, the details of the prosecutor’s approach to the judge are covered, supposedly, by the judicial secrecy laws, under which the penalty ? in theory ? for making unauthorised disclosures is two years in prison.

      Thus it is that like almost everything else being broadcast and published beyond Portugal’s borders about the hunt for Madeleine, the claim that the police want to read Kate’s diary has reached its audience via Hugo Beaty’s bar.

      Every day there starts the same way shortly after it opens at 9am, with an informal briefing to the foreign Press by a locally resident British woman who normally makes a meagre living acting as an occasional interpreter ? for the Policia Judiciaria.

      Every morning, the woman ? who asked me not to publish her name ? goes through the Portuguese tabloids and translates their ever-more febrile articles.

      Every afternoon, the foreigners ? almost none of whom can speak more than the most basic Portuguese, nor claim a single, genuine source inside the police investigation ? recycle the tales for consumers abroad.”

      Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-482007/Lies-beatings-secret-trials-dark-police-handling-Madeleine-case.html#ixzz1hBNmZRnX

  13. Having to reply here Carana, yes I can fully understand initially that they thought Madeleine may have wandered off, but even when the PJ arrived they still didn’t seem to take control of the situation.  

    Even the PJ Forensic technician said so in his statement and the GNR were ordered to preserve the crime scene until the Sgt got there and still it was not preserved even after he got there, as per the technicians statement.

    My opinion is now firmly, that Goncalo Amaral, should never have been put in charge of that investigation, especially as he was being made an arguido himself the day after.  

    Perhaps we might have had a better outcome… who knows… 

    • *My opinion is now firmly, that Goncalo Amaral, should never have been put in charge of that investigation, especially as he was being made an arguido himself the day after.”
      Yes, I certainly agree with that. 

  14. I’m not sure it’s fair to lay EVERYTHING on a particular person’s doorstep…. but what on earth would have happened if it had concerned the disappearance of another Portuguese child without that much (strike out – replaced by INTERNATIONAL media attention?

    • Perhaps I am being too harsh, but he is to blame for a lot of things and it happened on his watch and at the moment I just feel angry that leaks were emanating like this to tarnish the parents as much as they could and it hindered the search for Madeleine.

      God knows Carana and that is the frightening thing, we would never have known about the Cipriano case and to be honest I do wonder if another family without all the help would have been sitting in jail right now, if it had been a Portuguese child.

  15. Reading the Leveson testimony:
    – Yes, I can understand that the journos were under pressure to provide copy. 


    – They could also have provided copy stating that none of the rumours were verifiable. 

    It COULD have been treated very differently and still provided copy. 

    Just as a certain person’s book could have been written very differently.

    • Very true, and if a certain person’s book had been written differently and a certain documentary NOT made, Bennett for one wouldn’t have based his rubbish on a thesis from a certain person.

      But unfortunately looking back on it, now it is as clear as the nose on your face, the groundwork for a propaganda campaign in favour of a certain person was being conducted on forums and blogs way back in August/September 2007.

      The truth is a lot of damage has been caused to the Find Madeleine Campaign, and all this ‘DNA in car’ and ‘She died in the apartment’ stuff has made people stop looking for her.

      The Express sold papers, they used a Missing Child to make profit, and then they paid out but I do wonder whether what they paid out was more than what they made in profit from selling those papers.  Somehow I still think they made a profit.

      • That made me remember the DE forum. I didn’t follow that much of it, but I did spot what seemed to be the usual rude exchanges between tabloid journos. 

      • I never ventured onto the DE, the only place I posted was the Daily Mirror Forum.  But looking back now, you can understand why the newspapers started to close their forums.  They knew the truth of what was really going on.

      • DE or DM – can’t remember which now. The one that got clunked without warning.

      • Oh it was the DM that got whooshed without warning, think it was about 23rd January 2008 in the afternoon.  I know the DE was around the same time.

  16. The more you read about this the sadder it gets.

    Q. It might be said if the truth is impossible to find,
    17 a journalist cannot properly say anything?
    18 A. Well, that’s right, because certainly in relation to the
    19 police investigation, in a story like this you’d expect
    20 that the primary information would be coming from the
    21 police, and in this case that just wasn’t happening, so
    22 you are in an impossible situation because obviously
    23 you’re trying to do everything to make sure that you can
    24 get to the bottom of what’s happened to
    25 Madeleine McCann. The parents were in the end left to

    1 do that job that the police would normally do.

    • Well, presumably the judicial secrecy meant that there was no established, official PJ press liaison service at that time.

      Would such a service be welcome to the PJ and the press to alleviate pressure?

      (I do think I spotted a venture in this direction the other day… so perhaps such processes are moving ahead?)

  17. “But looking back now, you can understand why the newspapers started to close their forums.  They knew the truth of what was really going on.”
    I’m not sure they did at that time… just that the whole thing was getting totally out of hand and impossible to moderate.

    • I am not too sure, remember the McCanns won in March 2008 and it was reported round about the 19th, now you don’t get into Court that quick and it was just under 8 weeks from DM shutting to DE Payout, so I wonder if the papers knew what they were reporting was false.

      Perhaps DE shut their forum down as damage limitation and if the DM got wind of the DE being sued (which I suspect they did) perhaps they decided to pull a few controversial articles and close their forum to be on the safe side.

      • No idea which got clunked first. I didn’t really follow what was going on in those forums. I’d skim through to see if there were potentially interesting threads and usually gave up fairly quickly: no news, just people hurling abuse.

  18. Open question.

    Judicial secrecy must be respected at some point in any process. 

    The press also needs to be able to report on investigations. 

    Where is that delicate balance?

    • I think what the British Press could not understand is that in the UK, Police give conferences, they ask the public for assistance and they try to get the last known sighting out to the public as quick as they can.

      Police work here in the UK does involve public co-operation and our Press are used to that.  I bet they did find it strange.

      Now I can’t remember what documentary it was on, but I can remember a Portuguese Journalist saying exactly the same as what was said at the Leveson inquiry.  Journos, have their sources in the Police and they speak off record and that is how things get in the press.  

      • I remember an interview in which a journo stated something to that effect. If I find the quote, I’ll post it. My recollection is that I read it in a magazine, way back in 2007. It may not have been uploaded to the Internet, however. 

      • I can see him now, he was chubby (not Levy) and dark haired and I think his hair had a wave to it but not curly.  If I remember rightly he was sitting down giving the interview and I think he wore a blue or white shirt.

  19. I’ll try to find time to read up on the Leveson testimonies in the next day or so. The snippets  that I’ve read are interesting, and confirm what I thought was going on.

    Some time ago, I tried to draw attention to what I found to be an excellent documentary by Al Jazeera entitled “The McCanns versus the Media” (May 2008).

    It’s in several parts. It starts here:

  20. I remember that, I posted it here Carana


    That is the one where Roy Greenslade says he got more hits on his blog if he posted about the McCanns

    • I remember you’d uploaded it somewhere…  but wouldn’t have had a clue when or where. 

      Thanks for digging that out. It’s even more interesting to watch again in the light of the Leveson inquiry. 

  21. You look for one thing and find another.  

    Panorama Interview:

    Crime reporter, ‘Diario de Noticias’

    Information started circulating from sources connected to the Portuguese police that the story was full of holes from the side of the McCanns and their friends. Indeed within two days of Madeleine disappearing, this crime correspondent was filing this piece in the Portuguese Daily: Diario of the Noticias: “Headline: a badly told story.” We started to receive information according to which the police suspected the theory they had apprehensions, didn’t believe the theory that she had been kidnapped. To conclude, the police started to suspect the parents from the word go.


  22. Oh and a Former PJ Officer said this:

    Former Policia Judiciaria

    There are people who guarantee that this is a couple who practice ‘swinging’ – i.e. sexual relationships between couples and then changing partners, and that this practice would allow in this type of…

    BILTON: When you say: “there are people who say…” I’m assuming you are quoting….

    DA COSTA: People who know obviously. I cannot reveal the source here because I would lose it.

  23. 14 LORD JUSTICE LEVESON: Then actually your sentence is quite

    15wrong in paragraph 24, because your sentence in

    16 paragraph 24 says:

    17 “Through the release of those documents [that’s the

    18 police file] and subsequent legal actions in Portugal,

    19 it’s now a matter of public record that the reports I’m

    20 writing were truthful and accurate.”

    21 A. Yes.

    • That paragraph is indeed ambiguous. 

      I think the confusion is that he meant that he really did have sources feeding him the latest PJ ruminations. 

      The objection is that it could be interpreted to mean that what he wrote reflected evidence in the files against the parents/T7, which is obviously not the case.

      The PJ at the time might just as easily have ruminated that Madeleine had been kidnapped by Voldemort’s helpers to thwart Harry Potter.  The sources would have passed on this “vital new clue” and resulted in the headline: “Is Maddie Harry Potter’s long-lost sister?” Followed by: “According to police sources…”.

      Far-fetched? Not really. It certainly never stopped insinuations, including a famous one by a so-called expert, as to the potential use of her pink comfort blanket… when the reality is it was given to the dog handlers to help search for her.  

      • That paragraph is indeed ambiguous. 

        I think the confusion is that he meant that he really did have sources feeding him the latest PJ ruminations.

        objection is that it could be interpreted to mean that what he wrote
        reflected evidence in the files against the parents/T7, which is
        obviously not the case.

        True Carana, but as expected some places are choosing to focus on 24  as proof .

        Selective reading?

        So its untrue until the police files are released and then its true. Can the
        McCanns sue for uncooborated stories even though, with the passage of time, they
        are shown to be true?


  24. Well that seems to justify why Sherbourne wanted to clarify the point. Not that it will stop the ghouls from quoting the journalist’s ill-phrased paragraph ad infinitum. 

    He’s certainly not the only one. 

    Amazing what one finds… Amongst those who seem to have avoided the limelight recently are Matt Drake and James Murray. According to a barely legible scan of a Sunday Express page, one article written by the two refers to:

    “(…) Portuguese detectives now believe that a phone call between Gerry McCann, 39, and Dr O’Brien is the missing link in Madeleine’s disappearance and could help find her body.

    Investigators are focusing on the exact whereabouts of Dr O’Brien when the call was made on June 10.

    Last night it was unclear exctly what was said during the debated call but it is understood that key words aroused police suspicions.

    The development is a massive blow to the McCanns (…)

    A bold bit: “Handsets can be tracked to an area of just a few yards”

    (It goes on to surmise that R O’B could shortly be made arguido/arrested… whatever).

    A shorter article on the same page, by Matt Drake, is entitled: Now Hunt Centres on Disused Barn” – and describes a towel in a disused barn on which Luminol had been used to discover blood spots… bla, bla, LCN tests, and fibres which may match the boot. 

    Would the Sunday Express care to explain?

    • Hiya Carana and Samantha, oh yes I remember when that broke, was there a towel involved or something.  They found that at this so-called barn.  I think it was also around the time that the bag of clothes was found on the roadside on the way to Faro, wasn’t it???

      • Ah the barn and the towel…..another one that was believed, and to this day still crops up occasionally
        Reme: Asked if the towel found with blood and fibers of the Scenic is in
        the police file.

        G.A.: He states categorically that there is no
        towel. He mentions that the dogs carried out their research on all clothing,
        furniture and so on.

  25. Some of those headlines on reflection are atrocious, mind you I think the Guardian sum it up perfectly

    A trio of Express reporters tried haltingly to explain why they had trashed the lives of the McCanns, as the inquiry had heard. They told the same story as Peppiatt. While rival NoW journalists ran a black market copy of Mrs McCann’s anguished diaries, the Express reporters sent out to Portugal filed endless cruel and defamatory fabrications about the couple. One said Desmond’s editor, Peter Hill, was “obsessed” with the McCanns and demanded a daily front page story because it sold papers “regardless of how strong the story was”. Another said: “It would be quite a brave reporter to call the desk and say ‘I’m not really sure about this’.”


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