Friday, 7 December 2007

British Police want to question Foreign Office envoys and McCann spokesmen

Alex Woolfall, Sheree Dodd, Clarence Mitchell, David Hughes and Justine McGuiness are some of the personalities that may be questioned, soon, by British Police, in order to clarify specific details of the movements and contacts of the McCann couple, their friends and relatives, in the weeks following Madeleine's disappearance, according to sources from Leicestershire Police. These details are considered “important” to help Portuguese Police to collect more evidence, after investigations in UK produced a new set of informations, given to the PJ team that has been in Leicester, recently. But another inquiry is under way, to find out exactly what was the role of some of the elements sent to Portugal by the Foreign Office, after reports to the British Government raised suspicions about the intention and purpose of several contacts between some of those envoys and the Portuguese authorities.

British Government wants a quick end

The British Government may deny authorization for further questioning of the McCann couple, and suggest instead that formal charges are brought against them, as a way to force a quick end for the case. This possibility was considered as “strong”, yesterday, by sources close to the legal advisers of the McCann, while UK Media referred the British Government involvement in the investigation as a reason for Portuguese police to fear further political interference. Clarence Mitchell, then adviser in the Prime-Minister's Office, revealed on June that Gerry McCann and Gordon Brown had regular phone contacts and it was the British Prime-Minister pressure, allegedly, that took Portuguese police to issue a description of a suspect seen carrying a child, on the night Madeleine vanished. Request for these kind of interviews would be granted almost immediately but, as the Daily Express put it, “everyone is aware this is a very special case for many reasons” and Portuguese police “have been aware of a political shadow hanging over it.”

McCann don't want to return as “arguidos”

After PJ and Leicester Police met, last week, the McCann legal team requested access to the files of this case in the possession of British police, in order to be allowed to refute the evidence contained in the files given to British police and the results of the specific investigations that took place in UK. The lawyers advised the McCann not to came back to Portugal, as formal suspects, and they are planning to argue that, with the new Portuguese Penal Code, it would not be possible to name the McCann as formal suspects, with the existing evidence.

Searches videotaped

The work of the British Police special team that was at Praia da Luz, in August, was videotaped from beginning to the end, and copies of those videos were sent to Forensic Science Service. PJ detectives that followed those searches, with Keela and Eddie, the two specially trained dogs from South Yorkshire Police, had “every single detail of those operations recorded on video, including the collection of the samples sent to FSS”, according to a source from the Public Prosecutor's Office. “News from British Media about cigarette ashes found in those samples are just fabrication”, a source from FSS confirmed: “The samples we received were very small and with a high degree of contamination by house cleaning products, but we were able to get a good amount of results.” 

Duarte Levy and Paulo Reis

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