14-09-07

Madeleine’s Fund: Leaving No Stone Unturned Limited !


Madeleine’s Fund: Leaving No Stone Unturned Limited !

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Statement by the Board of Madeleine’s Fund: Leaving No Stone Unturned Limited

The Fund would like to thank everyone for their kindness, support and generosity.
Madeleine’s Fund was set up to:
Find Madeleine;
Support the Family;
Bring the abductor or abductors to justice and subject to that to help other missing children.

With the sudden dramatic and unexpected turn of events at the weekend the directors had to consider whether legal defence costs could be paid for by the Fund.

The Board has taken advice from Bates Wells & Braithwaite London LLP and Christopher McCall QC. The Board has been advised that payment of Gerry and Kate’s legal defence costs would be legally permissible subject to conditions about repayment in the event of a guilty conviction.

The directors of the Fund discussed this today. The two family directors, Brian Kennedy and John McCann withdrew from the meeting when the decision was made. Esther Mcvey chaired the meeting.

The Fund directors realise that there is not only a legal answer and recognise the spirit which underlies the generous donations to Madeleine’s Fund, which it is the directors’ responsibility to steer.

For this reason the Fund directors have decided not to pay for Gerry and Kate’s legal defence costs. We stress that Gerry and Kate have not asked for these costs to be paid. However, people have already called in offering their financial support. Any such fund to pay legal defence costs would have to be separately set up and administered.

At the heart of this campaign and Fund is a little girl confused, lonely and in need of her parents. This Fund’s money will be focused on finding that little girl and leaving no stone unturned.

12 September 2007

http://www.findmadeleine.com/fund/

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Sky News Video - McCanns May Sell Home To Meet Legal Bill:
http://news.sky.com/skynews/video/videoplayer/0,,31200-12...

21:18 Gepost in Algemeen | Permalink | Commentaren (2)

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Former BBC man to speak for McCanns Former BBC man to speak for McCanns

James Sturcke
Tuesday September 18, 2007
Guardian Unlimited


The parents of Madeleine McCann today stepped up their campaign to maintain their innocence with the appointment of a media expert to act as their spokesman.
Clarence Mitchell, speaking outside Gerry and Kate McCann's home in Rothley, Leicestershire, confirmed he had resigned from a senior post in the civil service to handle the intense international press interest in the case of Madeleine, who vanished while on holiday with her family in Portugal.


Mr Mitchell, a former BBC reporter, spent a month with the family as the representative of the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, during the summer.
Speaking with the couple at his side, Mr Mitchell said he had spent up to 14 hours a day with the couple and had never seen anything to suggest they had had anything to do with the four-year-old's disappearance.

"All I saw was a loving family that has been plunged into a dreadful situation - two parents trying to cope amidst their loss. To suggest that they somehow harmed Madeleine accidentally or otherwise is as ludicrous as it is nonsensical. Indeed, it would be laughable if it was not so serious," he said.

Mr Mitchell said he was "proud" to be able to help the McCanns deal with the pressure of the media interest.

The McCanns have been named by Portuguese detectives as official suspects.

Mr Mitchell said his job in the Cabinet Office as head of the media monitoring unit was "untenable" from the moment he accepted an invitation from the family, supported by their legal team and financial backers, to represent them.

"More importantly, I have [resigned] because I feel so strongly that they are innocent victims of a heinous crime that I am prepared to forego my career in government service to assist them."

He said the McCanns were happy to continue cooperating with the Portuguese authorities and that attention must return to finding Madeleine, who disappeared on May 3 from the family's holiday home in the Algarve resort of Praia de Luz while the parents dined nearby.

"The focus must now move away from the rampant, unfounded and inaccurate speculation of recent days, to return to the child at the very centre of this: Madeleine," he said.

Mr Mitchell said the family would like to appeal to the media to stop taking photographs of, or filming, the McCanns' younger children, two-year-old twins Sean and Amelie.

Mr Mitchell was reported to have been earning around £70,000 in his post at the Central Office of Information.

Later he told Sky News that his new job was being paid for by a "generous financial backer who wishes to remain anonymous". He was not receiving money from Mr or Mrs McCann or the Find Madeleine appeal.

As for accusations about DNA evidence against the McCanns, Mr Mitchell said that there "were wholly innocent explanations and Gerry and Kate will be able to explain everything if it gets to that stage. To suggest they harmed Madeleine is just plain daft."

During his time with the McCanns in the summer, Mr Mitchell spent most of the day with the family accompanying them on trips around the Algarve and to a number of countries to publicise the case.

Earlier, the Correio da Manha newspaper reported that Judge Pedro Daniel dos Anjos Frias had rejected a police request to have the McCanns brought back to Portugal for further questioning.

Instead Mrs McCann could be re-interviewed this week by British police acting on behalf of Portuguese authorities.

A UK police source said it would be "unusual" for British officers to carry out interviews on behalf of a foreign police force but stressed that "anything is possible" in a major inquiry. It is more common for officers from other countries to visit Britain to question witnesses or suspects in person with the assistance of the local force.

Sir Richard Branson has donated £100,000 towards the couple's legal costs, stating he "trusted them implicitly" and wanted them to have a fair trial if they were brought before a Portuguese court.

The Virgin boss confirmed that he had been in talks with other wealthy people to encourage them to contribute to a legal fund, and said at least one other anonymous donor had already been signed up.


http://www.guardian.co.uk/crime/article/0,,2171683,00.html

Gepost door: Rudi Claessens | 18-09-07

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No new evidence on Madeleine McCann's parents, says Portuguese prosecutor
From The Times
September 20, 2007

Steve Bird and David Brown in Portimão and Patrick Foster


The police case against Kate and Gerry McCann suffered a severe setback last night when a Portuguese prosecutor said that no new evidence had been gathered to justify reinterviewing the couple.

Luis Bilro Verão, the lead public prosecutor, said that the police had failed to produce new evidence against the couple during the 13 days since they were made official suspects in the death of their daughter.

In his first official statement, he said that the McCanns remained arguidos, or official suspects, and that the investigation against them continued. He offered new hope to the McCanns by stating that all lines of inquiry were being investigated.

The admission comes as the McCanns said that they feared that they were being bugged as part of the investigation. They also believe that the scientific evidence against them is deeply flawed.

Mr Verão said: “Since the police have not collected any elements of proof after the parents became arguidos on September 7 that justifies any new actions, I have not requested any new interviews.”

Last night’s statement follows a review of the evidence by Judge Pedro Daniel dos Anjos Frias, who had been asked to approve new interviews and searches requested by the PolÍcia Judiciária, the Portuguese equivalent of the CID. Detectives wanted to reinterview the couple after they refused to answer 40 key questions.

The Portuguese police case was so weak at the time the couple were made official suspects that they had to be released on the lowest form of bail and were allowed to return home to Rothley, Leicestershire, two days later.

Detectives hoped that samples taken from the couple’s hire car and holiday apartment would prove that Mr and Mrs McCann were responsible for accidentally killing their daughter while on holiday in Praia da Luz 140 days ago. However, Mr Verão has indicated that the evidence remains too weak to charge the couple with accidental homicide and hiding the corpse of their daughter. He could authorise further questioning if new evidence is found.

Clarence Mitchell, the McCanns’ spokesman, said: “This information has been conveyed to Kate and Gerry directly. It is now for their Portuguese lawyer to assess very carefully but, on the face of it, it does appear encouraging.”

Mr and Mrs McCann were convinced that their calls were tapped in Portugal because questions asked by detectives focused on private conversations with friends and family.

But the couple now believe that their calls are still being recorded as part of a surveillance operation.

“British police warned Kate and Gerry when they were in Portugal that their phones and e-mails might have been tapped into,” a source said last night. “Everyone involved is careful, particularly with their mobile phone calls and what they say. There was an assumption from the early days that mobile communications are unsafe and could be listened to.

“Gerry will often refuse to talk on a mobile phone. He prefers to use land-lines as he considers them safer. That is based on information that they have received during the investigation. It makes them feel really awkward in their own home. They feel they are being watched at all times.”

The source added that this did not suggest that their conversations were in any way furtive as a result. “They are entirely innocent and have nothing whatsoever to hide.”

The couple have, however, decided to avoid talking over the phone about how they would clear their names if charged by the police, fearing that it would give the Portuguese an unfair advantage.

Some of the McCanns’ friends who were with them on holiday in Praia da Luz at the time of Madeleine’s disappearance in May have also been told that they may be being bugged.

Portuguese detectives would have to file a mutual legal assistance request with the Home Office if they wanted phone calls to be bugged in Britain. Jacqui Smith, the Home Secretary, would have to sanction an application, which would be carried out by British authorities.

Neither the Home Office nor Leicestershire Constabulary would comment yesterday on whether any request had been received or put in place. A spokesman for the McCanns also refused to comment.

Under Portuguese law bugging telephones and computers is admissible evidence in court. The police are, however, required to get a judge’s approval. If they were unable to get permission before fitting the devices, they can apply to the courts retrospectively.

It is understood that one of the first applications made by the PolÍcia Judiciária to the judge was a retrospective application to continue bugging the McCanns and to use information already gleaned from the surveillance operation in court.

One option open to the police would have been to fit the McCanns’ car, hired 25 days after the child’s disappearance, with a satellite tracking device.

Detectives believe that the vehicle was used to dump the child’s body after it had been concealed. The tracker would have pinpointed where the car was driven.

The bugging claim is the latest salvo in the increasingly acrimonious battle being played out in the media as the McCanns, who under Portuguese law cannot comment on the case, and the police, who are bound by the same restrictions, try to win over the public.

The couple’s fears about their every move being monitored emerged as the Portuguese police were granted permission by the investigating judge to apply to Britain to search the McCanns’ family home. Detectives believe that the couple flew back with vital evidence that could help the police to establish whether they had some involvement in the child’s death.

Last night the McCanns insisted that there was an innocent explanation for sniffer dogs having detected the presence of human bodies in their Portuguese hire car. A source said that the Renault Mégane Scenic was used to ferry bags containing rotting meat and other rubbish to a nearby tip.

“There were not proper dustbins at the villa and as a result the family had to regularly transport their household waste including rotting food, rotting meat and soiled nappies to a communal disposal area,” the source said.

“The vehicle was used as a rubbish lorry for the family, so there would potentially have been the scent of rotting flesh, excrement and urine. Who’s to say that the nappy bag didn’t leak?”

Madeleine’s sandals are also believed to have been transported in the car, potentially allowing DNA from sweat to be transferred.

The source said that Kate and Gerry McCann’s legal team were working in a vacuum trying to prepare any defence for the couple, because of a lack of information from the Portuguese authorities.

“There is a lack of communication right down the line to them. The defence team is having to draw up a case without knowing what the allegations are. Gerry asks, ‘What have we been accused of?’ He doesn’t know and nor does anyone else.”

The McCanns’ efforts to fight police leaks about scientific evidence said to prove that they had some hand in their daughter’s death saw the couple criticised yesterday by the English organisation analysing samples seized from the scene of Madeleine’s disappearance and the family hire car. The Forensic Science Service is frustrated that DNA examinations they have carried out for the Portuguese police were being rubbished by the publicity campaign launched by the McCanns.

The Birmingham company is due to hand over a new batch of DNA test results carried out on samples taken from Praia da Luz. They are due to arrive in Portugal in the next few days.

The tests are looking for traces of her DNA from material gathered around Praia da Luz, including alleged blood samples found in an apartment close to the one from where Madeleine disappeared on May 3.


http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/world/europe/article2492626.ece

Gepost door: James | 23-09-07

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