Monday, 12 November 2007

Lawyer from “Tapas 1”: “The lobby surrounding the McCann is frightening” (Full story from "El Mundo", November 11, 2007)

“My client must keep secret what he can do help the search for the truth and this is not due to the law secrecy in Portugal. That is is quite revealing of the strange circumstances around this case”, says the lawyer of one of the two McCann friends that were at Tapas Bar, on the night of May 3, and decided to have a close cooperation with Police, as “El Mundo” published, last Tuesday. “He is not afraid of the McCann but the economic and political lobby that exists, around that couple, frightens any person.”

“Police was called only after the group analysed the problems they could face for having left the children alone and until now, my client had no chance to talk for himself”, the London-based lawyer said. Since September, he represents one of the two friends of the McCann that contacted police and asked for an opportunity to be requestioned, in order to correct some details and discrepancies of the statements made by the group of nine persons that were on holidays at Ocean Club. “What my client wants is to get the truth out – meaning, he is not there to accuse or to clear anyone, that's a police job. He just wants to help police to know the truth about what happened before, during and after that diner, on May 3.”

Asked to comment the denial from Clarence Mitchell, the McCann spokesman who claimed he has been in touch with all the seven McCann friends and all of them told they gave no instructions to their lawyers to contact police and be requestioned, the British lawyer said: “When you look at all the pressure that has been put up over him and others, it's natural that my client would not tell Clarence Mitchell he decided to have his own legal representation and a more close cooperation with police.”

A strong critic of the Media frenzy about Madeleine's disappearance, the lawyer of this member of Tapas group considers that the case is “much more serious” than most people thinks: “I don't want to accuse anyone, but there are people close to the McCann that is not really helping them. However, my client intention is to bring the truth out, in this sad story, no matter who gets hurt.”

The support the McCann had from the Government is another aspect the lawyer criticises: “I understand that our Government had the legal obligation to help the McCann. What I don't understand is that they received such a help that goes further and over anything that would be normal, for a case like this. But, since the the first hours, it was clear that Madeleine's case was not just a normal police case. My client had no support, at all, from the British authorities – only through the McCann couple.”

Questioned about the British Government involvement and political connections related with the case, the London-based lawyer said: “It's not my job to explain why and how politicians had intervened in this case, but I'm afraid that those interventions have been prejudicial not only to my client, but also to the search for the truth.”

Duarte Levy and Paulo Reis

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