Saturday, 6 October 2018

Who is afraid of the McCann? South Yorkshire Police force, for sure, among many others...

  • Keela, the "no-more-wonder-dog-after-Maddie's investigation", with former South Yorkshire Police Force Chief-Constable, Meredydd Hughes
It took me more than one month to get a reply to three plain, simple and clear journalistic questions I addressed to South Yorkshire Police Force. They just ignored my two first emails. I had to file a request, under the FOI act, to get a reply. They told me I had to “refine” my FOI request, as the subject of any request under that act must be only related to “recorded information”.
So I did it and these are the questions SYPF Information Commissioner's Office accepted and answered, I must say very fast [the day after I refined my questions]:

5 October 2018
Paulo Reis
Dear Mr Reis
Freedom of Information Request - Reference No: 20181838

1. What is the date that the page dedicated to Keela was replaced by a age
progressed picture of Madeleine McCann?

2. Does South Yorkshire Police still use Keela on crime investigations?

I approached our Corporate Communications team for assistance with your request. A Communications Officer has provided the following response:

1 – We moved to a new website late last year. As a result of this, any old news
stories/webpages no longer exist.

Our formal response to this element of your request is therefore one of ‘no information held’.

2 – Keela is no longer a serving police dog.

The Information Commissioner's Office,

Yours sincerely
Lucy Moore


PS: The answer to the first question is not correct. The content of the page was replaced, first, with a fixed age-progressed picture of Madeleine McCann, and in the last weeks, with pictures of different missing people. This is visible, because the web address of the page still exists:

This wouldn't happen if the SYPF website had “moved to a new website late last year” and, as a result of that change, “any old news stories/webpages no longer exist.” If this was the case, the message for that link will be a "404", indicating that a specific Internet address cannot be found [because it does not exist anymore...]

Wednesday, 3 October 2018

The English version of Amaral's book, "The Truth of the Lie", may be published, soon, in UK

After the sentence of the Portuguese Supreme Court that acquitted Gonçalo Amaral and overruled a previous sentence, from a lower level court, banning the sales of the book in Portugal, several British publishers showed interest in printing a English version of “The Truth of the Lie”, for sale in UK and contacted several Portuguese lawyers, in order to have more details about the sentence, sources from the Portuguese legal area told MMDB (Madeleine McCann Disappearance Blog). 
We asked Gonçalo Amaral if he had received any contact from any British publisher about a possible publication of “The truth of the Lie” in UK, but he refused to comment. According to our sources, the fact that the sentence of Portuguese Supreme Court quoted the European Convention of Human Rights [which the European Court of Human Rights is in charge of upholding] and made references about rulings of that Court, in cases of conflict between privacy rights and Freedom of Expression, may have been some kind of turning point for those publishers, who see it as a “green light” to go on with a UK edition of “The Truth of the Lie”. 
The Portuguese Supreme Court, in its ruling, decided hat there was no defamatory content in Amaral's book, just a factual description of the first 5 months of investigation into Maddie's disappearance, with most facts having been already made public, through the Portuguese Media. Gonçalo Amaral was just exercising his legitimate, legal and fundamental right to Freedom of Expression, as stated in the European Convention on Human Rights, the Portuguese Supreme Court considered.

Those British publishers expect to be taken to court by the McCann, if they go on with the publication but, as one of them mentioned to a Portuguese lawyer, they consider they have another strong defense argument, to add to the sentence of Portuguese Supreme Court: the so-called “Spycatcher Case”, when the British government tried to stop the publication of the memories of Peter Wright, a former M.I.5 agent. The book was published in Australia but the British Government banned it in England. However, “Spycatcher” was on sale on Scotland, as British courts had no jurisdiction there. 
The Government also issued “gag orders” to all British newspapers, to avoid the publication of reports, reviews or excerpts of the book. At the time, the prestigious “The Economist” run a blank page with a boxed explanation: 
In all but one country, our readers have on this page a review of 'Spycatcher,' a book by an ex-M.I.5-man, Peter Wright. The exception is Britain, where the book, and comment on it, have been banned. For our 420,000 readers there, this page is blank – and the law is an ass.”

The book was cleared for legitimate sale on 1988, when the Law Lords acknowledged that overseas publication meant it contained no secrets, according to Wikipedia. But Wright was barred from receiving royalties from the sale of the book in the United Kingdom. In November 1991, the European Court of Human Rights ruled that the British government had breached the European Convention of Human Rights in gagging its own newspapers.

Coming soon, "A Guerra dos McCann" ("The McCann War")... [these are not 'drafts' for the cover, just me "playing" with "Paint" and a few ideas...]