Well I have been busy with real-life issues and I’m still catching up on the Leveson Inquiry and what was said at the hearing on the afternoon of the 19th March 2012 (Transcript) when Jeremy Lawton said to the Inquiry the following:
Yeah. It was about — I’m flying blind because I don’t know fully what Leicestershire did or did not know, but they were the UK arm of the Portuguese investigation, and it relates to the forensic test results, which became the key aspect. Portuguese police leaked in briefings in Portugal to their journalists that the forensic test results positively showed that Madeleine had been in or linked her to the hire car that her parents didn’t hire until three or four weeks after she’d disappeared, and that story became a — created a sea change, without overusing that word, in the way the story has been looked at.
Those forensic test results became a bone of contention between the UK and the Portuguese police. I was present when a Portuguese team of forensic experts and detectives arrived in Leicester to discuss these results. Of course, they’d already leaked a version of the results. Leicestershire police presumably knew — although it turns out obviously that those test results did not prove that and that the Portuguese police had somehow misinterpreted these results. I just felt that had this been — that Leicestershire police could have briefed, off the record, even unreportable, that the Portuguese police had misinterpreted those DNA results.
The above is in reply to paragraph 18 of his witness statement, where Jeremy Lawton states:
The only occasions upon which I have found forces unwilling to engage on what Iconsider a satisfactory level were Leicestershire Police while handling the UK end of the Madeleine McCann case and Avon and Somerset during the Jo Yeates’ murder inquiry. Unusually both forces refused to give any guidance on any of the multiple lines of inquiry that came in to mostnewspapers during those on-going investigations.
Mind you paragraph 54 of Mr Lawton’s witness statement is rather telling as well:
Referring to answer to question 15, it is surely of significance that the cases in which individual police forces have chosen not to engage with the press have resulted in some of the most vociferous complaints about coverage. Had Leicestershire Police chosen to give off-the-record guidance to the press about the state of the Madeleine McCann investigation then coverage mayhave been markedly different. Instead Leicestershire greeted every query with, “It is a Portuguese police investigation. You need to contact the Portuguese police”, in full knowledge – as you have previously heard in the inquiry – of the fact the Portuguese police refused to comment officially on any aspect of the case due to that country’s official secrecy laws.
With regards to the Madeleine McCann case it is now evident, that the forensic results were misinterpreted by the Portuguese Police and unfortunately Leicester Police by refusing to comment on that misinterpretation left the McCann couple having to deal with a barrage of unfounded accusations with regards to their alleged involvement in the disappearance of their daughter which is still being spread as gospel by the ex-detective Goncalo Amaral and his supporters.
No matter how you look at this, it clearly hindered the search for Madeleine McCann. If people were and still are believing that what the Portuguese Press were printing due to false and inaccurate leaks from the PJ are true, then they are not going to bother looking for a missing child. Even after many reporters stating, under oath, that what was being told to them via the Portuguese Police and Media was inaccurate, false and misleading; some people today are still peddling these false allegations and trying to convince people on social networking sites, forums and blogs that they are true.
I don’t know what the Leveson Inquiry can do about it, but the ramifications of the Portuguese Police leaking falsehoods are great. Because those falsehoods are still prevalent today and this must be hindering the search for Madeleine and be very upsetting for the parents of Madeleine who still are being accused, by some people, of being involved in their daughter’s disappearance.
Maybe it is time to remember this little gem that is circulating the internet about those car results where the anti-McCanns scream that the McCanns’ hid Madeleine’s body in the boot of the car. Accusations which we now know are completely untrue, malicious and libellous, as the media have found out, with certain papers paying damages to the McCann family for printing such libellous and defamatory stories.
Wonder if that little gem has been or will be put in the hands of the Leveson Inquiry, as it was dated September 2007 during the height of those unfounded allegations against the family of a missing child?