Thursday, 13 September 2007

Justine McGuiness and Angus McBride met with editors of six British daily newspapers

Desperate attempt to stop a rising tide

Justine McGuiness, the McCann family Press Officer, held meetings, yesterday, with editors of several major British newspapers. She was accompanied by Angus McBride, the famous criminal lawyer Gerry and Kate McCann hired to defend them in what seems to be, now, an imminent accusation of hiding and disposing of a body – the body of their daughter, Madeleine McCann, allegedly kidnapped from a resort at Praia da Luz, Algarve, on May 3.

Those meetings were a desperate attempt to show that Gerry and Kate are not related with Madeleine McCann disappearance. During the meetings, it was explained to the editors that the fact that Portuguese Police can't find a body is a clear evidence of the innocence of Gerry and Kate. The McCann send, at the same time, a strong challenge to Portuguese police: "Find Madeleine's body and prove we killed her”, as the Daily Mail writes, in today's edition.

Detectives “surprised” with McCann’s challenge

That challenge was considered “strange” by Portuguese detectives directly involved in the investigation: “How can they be so sure that it's not possible to find the body of Madeleine? Let's say that a kidnapper took her and killed her, disposing of her body. How can they be so certain that the body can't be found, if this has happened?”

A similar reaction is reported by Daily Express: “The change in the family’s tone (...) surprised sources close to the investigation. : “It seems remarkable that just days after the McCanns were saying they thought Madeleine was still alive and missing, now they’re talking about a body,” a source said. “I don’t know if this is really the McCanns speaking or just one of the people working on their publicity campaign but it is not the kind of comment to impress a team of detectives who think you’re guilty.”

Another argument used, in the meetings Justine McGuiness and Angus McBride held with editors of British newspapers, was the fact that the McCann will ask for an independent forensic examination of the Renaul Scenic, in order to prove two main points: samples collected by Portuguese Police were contaminated and/or false evidence was planted by Portuguese Police, in order to incriminate Madeleine's parents.

Daily Express: Police planted evidence to incriminate the McCann

That possibility is raised on today's edition of The Times, who quotes a senior British Police source has having said that “the quality of the evidence and especially the way it has been collected gives me great cause for concern. There are quite a lot of issues about the way the forensic science material has been recovered.” Daily Express puts the question directly: “The couple both vehemently deny any involvement in their daughter’s disappearance. They fear they are being framed by police and that evidence against them is being planted.

The defence campaign of the McCann, through the British Media, got a precious help, yesterday: Sir Alec Jeffreys, from the University of Leicester, one of the world's leading expert in DNA, who invented DNA fingerprinting, raised doubts about the “strong evidence” that British Media thinks Portuguese Police has, to incriminate the McCann: samples collected at the hired car that, also according to British Media, have a 100% match (something impossible, from a scientific point of view) with Madeleine's DNA.

Sir Alec told BBC's Newsnight that “there are no genetic characters in Madeleine that are not found in at least one other member of the family (...) DNA doesn't have the words innocence or guilt in it - that is a legal concept. What it seeks to establish is connections and identifications." According to BBC, Sir Alec Jeffreys has offered to act as an expert witness in the Madeleine McCann case. Fasdf dfg

Other DNA experts helped to raise more doubts about the reliability of the DNA samples collected by Portuguese Police being used as evidence to charge Gerry and Kate McCann: “Dr Paul Debenham, a member of the advisory body the Human Genetics Commission, said there could be legitimate reasons as to how DNA from Madeleine found its way into the hire car (...) So there is a situation where there is a legitimate or a possible explanation as to how the DNA got on the back seat despite the individual not being there, but through some legitimate transfer of garments, clothes or soft toy”, according to The Telegraph (to be continued)

Duarte Levy
, in Rothley and Paulo Reis, in Lisbon