EXTRACT FROM THE IPSO EDITORS' CODE OF PRACTICE:IPSO will take forward complaints from any individual or organisation that an inaccuracy has been published on a general point of fact.Clause 1 Accuracyi) The Press must take care not to publish inaccurate, misleading or distorted information, including pictures.ii) A significant inaccuracy, misleading statement or distortion once recognised must be corrected, promptly and with due prominence, and - where appropriate - an apology published. In cases involving the Regulator, prominence should be agreed with the Regulator in advance.iii) The Press, whilst free to be partisan, must distinguish clearly between comment, conjecture and fact.+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++Below I reproduce ny complaint, sent to IPSO and the Sun today. I reproduce the whole original text of the article from 2 May. In blue, interleaved, I outline the specific complaints made.Mr David DinsmoreEditorThe Sun1 London Bridge Place
SE1 9GFcustserv@the-sun.co.ukDirectorIndependent Press Standards Organisation Gate House
1 Farringdon Street
London EC4M 7LG
Telephone: 0300 123 2220 firstname.lastname@example.orgTuesday 5 May 2015+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++TEXT
Monster who made a mint out of Maddie
The Sun (paper edition, pages 36 & 37)
EIGHT YEARS ON, HOW 'SUPER SLEUTH' FAILED THE McCANNS
By ANTONELLA LAZZERI - Saturday, May 2, 2015
COMPLAINT: The article represents Dr Goncalo Amaral as a ‘monster’. That is a description usually used of someone of exceptional cruelty or depravity, for example a person who commits brutal murders, cruelly abuses children or acts like those from ISIS currently beheading the innocent.
The Oxford English dictionary gives these definitions of the word ‘monster’: “An inhumanly cruel or wicked person” and “A large, ugly and frightening imaginary creature”.
It should be self-evident that a detective doing his job, even if he did not do it well (which I do not accept is the case), should only be described using the extreme term ‘monster’ if there is something exceptionally wicked or cruel about his conduct. Alleged breach of Clause 1(i) – misleading and distorted description and Clause 1(iii) failing to distinguish between comment and fact.
ADORING women flock around him, chanting his name, throwing red roses and blowing him kisses. Smiling and waving, their idol laps up the attention, posing for photos, signing autographs and even giving a lucky few a peck on the cheek. For all the world you may have thought the man at the centre of the fuss and flashing a diamond earring stud was an ageing pop star greeting his fans at the stage door. In fact the setting was the entrance to Lisbon's Palace of Justice and the man was former Portuguese police chief Goncalo Amaral.
This is the man Madeleine McCann's parents hold responsible for virtually destroying every hope there was of finding their daughter in the first crucial hours and days after she went missing on May 3, 2007.
And he is a man who has continued to add to their torment in the years since by claiming over and over that their beloved daughter is dead.
He has raked in nearly £400,000 from spouting these claims in a book and TV documentary.
COMPLAINT: The above statement is seriously inaccurate for the following reasons:
1. Dr Amaral gave up his police career to write ‘The Truth About A Lie’, as the Sun knows perfectly well. It is understood that he retired 7 years early, this sacrificing 7 years’ salary, which would have amounted to hundreds of thousands of pounds.2. Moreover, he simultaneously forewent the equivalent pension which he could have accrued for a further 7 years.
3. Again as the Sun knows, Dr Amaral has effectively been financially ruined by having written the book and assisted in the making of the TVI TV documentary, for these reasons:
(a) at an ex parte hearing in September 2009, a judge decided to ban his book, thus depriving him of further income from the book. He only found out that there was a court hearing when its decision was announced on the radio
(b) his book remained banned until the Portuguese Court of Appeal overturned the judge’s verdict on 20 October 2010, thus the judge’s decision deprived him of income from his books for 13 months(c) the judge in September 2009 froze all his assets, so he has not been able to spend much of the income from his book, which has not been available to him for 6 years(d) the 6-year libel action against him, begun by the McCanns issuing a writ in June 2009, has resulted in his having to pay a series of lawyers to represent him at several dozen days of hearings, including at the Portuguese Court of Appeal and the Portuguese Supreme Court, over a period of 6 years.Thus, far from ‘making a mint’, as the lurid headline proclaims, and far from ‘raking in nearly £400,000’, he has suffered serious financial losses. Alleged breach of Clause 1(i): inaccurate, misleading and distorted.++++++++++
He even hired an agent and was at one time charging £75,000 for an interview.COMPLAINT: This sentence is a reference to a single e-mail sent by Dr Amaral to Martin Brunt of SKY News, in May 2009, in response to Mr Brunt’s formal request for an interview. It is correct that in the e-mail, Dr Amaral asked for an interview fee of 80,000 euros. As a matter of record, the fee mentioned is inaccurate. It is worth £58,000, not £75,000, at the current rate of exchange of 73 euros to the pound sterling.
As to whether Dr Amaral ‘hired’ an agent, that is not known. An agent acted for him on one occasion, that is all we know - see below. We do not know if the agent was being paid.The news of Dr Amaral allegedly demanding a fee came in a private e-mail sent by Dr Amaral to Martin Brunt. Mr Brunt immediately wrote about it on his blog, thus:QUOTE
The cost of a Madeleine interview Sky NewsBy Martin Brunt - May 06, 2009 1:27 PM
If you were wondering why there was no interview with former Algarve police chief Goncalo Amaral in our recent Madeleine coverage, here’s why.
His agent emailed us: “Since he left Policia Judiciaria his main concern is to reveal to the general public the facts (which) occured [sic] during the investigation.”
Then he wrote: “He will be available, but will charge a fee of 80.000 euros VAT.”
Yeah, we wondered if he meant 80 euros, too.
We didn’t wonder for long.
Nem pensar, Jose!
The circumstances of Dr Amaral writing to Martin Brunt, via an agent, were set out by a Mr Nigel Moore, who for nearly 8 years has maintained an encyclopaedic website about the disappearance of Madeleine McCann, titled‘McCannFiles’, at www.mccannfiles.com. Here is his article on the subject, titled ‘Incorrect’:QUOTE
The amount was mentioned in a blog article by ‘Redsquare’who had interviewed Goncalo Amaral about the contents of this private email and the costs being charged [screenshot available].
Gonçalo Amaral: The truth about the charges
by Nigel Moore - Friday 08 May 2009 10:08 AM
Two days ago, Martin Brunt, Sky News Crime Correspondent, decided to use his blog to reveal the contents of an email Sky News had received from Gonçalo Amaral’s agent.
The private email stated that it would cost 80,000 euros to facilitate an interview with the former PJ co-ordinator.
With unsurprising relish, Jerry Lawton, of the Daily Star, has today regurgitated the information contained in Mr Brunt’s blog into a full-blown article.
Speaking exclusively to mccannfiles.com today, Gonçalo Amaral revealed the reasoning behind the decision.
He said: “I want you to know that I made the decision to get paid for any interview given to any British media, but that doesn’t apply to anywhere else in the world.
“It’s quite simple. I have given so many “free”interviews to the British media that were never published. They were censored and thrown to the trash. Next time they do it, I’m sure they will think twice about the money they pay.”
Only this week, in Amsterdam – to launch the Dutch version of ‘the Truth of the Lie’ – Gonçalo Amaral and Sofia Leal gave their time freely to members of the public and press. In a ‘question and answer’ session, scheduled for 30 minutes, they stayed for 1 and a half hours discussing the case.
Mr Brunt, who has published details from a private email, and Mr Lawton, who, like so many Britsh journalists, is unable to write the name of Gonçalo Amaral without prefacing it with ‘axed’, ‘disgraced’ or ‘shamed’, need to question what they are doing to help find the truth about what happened to Madeleine. And how much are they getting paid for doing it?
Clarence Mitchell raged in the Daily Star: “It is scandalous that anyone should seek to make money out of Madeleine’s abduction.”
But should a man currently taking wages from Madeleine’s Fund – which, let’s not forget, draws from the pocket-money and savings of children and pensioners and was donated in good faith to search for Madeleine – really be adopting such a high moral tone?
And why do the McCanns even need a PR person? Can they no longer speak for themselves outside of a scripted TV studio or film set?
And, as Columbo would say, one final thing…This interview with Gonçalo Amaral didn’t cost one penny. Or euro.UNQUOTE
Thus Dr Amaral has put on record:
(a) that he has been interviewed numerous times without demanding any fee
(b) that he has not demanded a fee except that on one occasion (his e-mail to Martin Brunt), after frequently (he says) giving interviews to British journalists without payment but rarely being quoted or properly represented by them, he decided to charge a fee for his interview.
Furthermore, there is no evidence from any British journalist that any newspaper or TV medium ever paid him a penny for any interview. It can be seen, then, that the demand for ‘80,000 euros’ was never meant to be taken seriously. It was an abrupt response to one of the British mainstream media who were constantly interviewing him but not reporting his views on the case.Thus, examining this sentence: “He even hired an agent and was at one time charging £75,000 for an interview”:
1. He may have used an agent but there is no evidence anyone is aware of that he ‘hired’ an agent2. The amount he quoted was 80,000 euros, i.e. £58,000, not £75,0003. The claim that ‘he was charging’£75,000 is incorrect because there is no evidence that apart from that one private e-mail to Mr Brunt he ever asked for a fee from anyone else, and
4. As he has explained via Mr Moore, and as the Sun will be well aware, Dr Amaral only mentioned such a large sum to make a point about the conduct of British journalists in not reporting his comments.Alleged breach: Clause (i): incorrect, misleading and distorted.
Before long he was driving a flashy Jag and living in a plush villa.
Tomorrow marks the eighth anniversary of the disappearance of Madeleine, who was three years old.
The scenes of Amaral preening in front of besotted fans outside court were witnessed by parents Kate and Gerry more than two years after that terrible night.
Back in October 2007 it was his comments made during a similar lunch that saw him taken off Madeleine's case.
Journalists overheard him loudly complaining that the McCanns were getting special treatment because they were from the UK, and criticising British police. He was removed after his comments were reported.
But it was surprising that Amaral was ever in charge in the first place.
Because at the time he was himself an "arguido" – an official suspect – in a case involving another mother of a missing child.
COMPLAINT: The case referred to by the Sun is that of Joana Cipriano. She was not a ‘missing child’ at all. She was an 8-year-old girl who was reported missing by her mother in 2004, but convicted, in 2005, along with her brother and Joana’s uncle, of the brutal murderer of Joana. The pair both voluntarily confessed to the murder and explained how they cut up her body and disposed of it. Their conviction was appealed to the Portuguese Supreme Court who unanimously upheld the murder conviction and the 16-year jail sentences they had received. I hold a copy of a translation of the Supreme Court’s record of the appalling, proven facts of that case.Moreover the investigating co-ordinator responsible for the successful conviction of the two murderers was Dr Goncalo Amaral. Alleged breach: Clause 1(i) and 1(ii) It was wholly inaccurate, misleading and distorted for the Sun to describe this case as a‘missing child’ case, when the child had been murdered and the murderers had been convicted and jailed for long terms. These errors should be corrected and Dr Amaral given the credit he should have had in the article for having brought the murderers to justice.++++++++++
TEXTIt was December 11, 2009, and incredibly, it was the first time Kate had ever set eyes on him.
'Kate driven to tears by missed opportunities'
As the mum was to write later in her book Madeleine: "It was also the first time he had laid eyes on me.
"It is extraordinary that he could have said and written so many awful things about a person he had never met."
This week the couple finally won their libel battle against Amaral that had begun back on that December day more than five years ago. He was ordered to pay them £433,000 and his book, The Truth of the Lie, was banned.
Kate, 46, has mostly kept a dignified silence on the subject of Amaral,
COMPLAINT: This is contrary to the known facts. Both Gerry and Kate McCann, and their spokesman, Clarence Mitchell, have frequently and strongly attacked Dr Amaral; numerous examples could be given. For the purposes of this complaint, I will give just one, from her book, ‘madeleine’, published in May 2011. She wrote: “…that man has caused us so much upset and anger because of how he has treated my beautiful Madeleine and the search to find her. He deserves to be miserable and feel fear.”
That, it should be noted, was in marked contrast to the comments made by Kate McCann about the individual who abducted Madeleine. She said she would be ‘willing to forgive him’. Alleged breach: Clause 1(i) It is simply inaccurate, misleading and distorted to claim that Kate McCann has ‘kept a dignified silence about Dr Amaral’. On the contrary, in a book read by hundreds of thousands, she portrayed him as a man who ‘deserves to be miserable and feel fear’.
but in one interview she revealed how son Sean, now nine, had told her: "Mr Amaral said you hid Madeleine."
When Madeleine disappeared from a holiday apartment in Praia da Luz, Portugal, Amaral, now 56, was quickly drafted in as the super-sleuth who would crack the case.
At the time he was the co-ordinator of the Policia Judiciaria's Criminal Investigation Department in Portimao.
But during the investigation he only met Gerry once and seemingly had not thought it relevant to even meet, let alone talk to, the mother of the child he was tasked with finding.
This isn't surprising given Amaral's arrogance and self-importance. Having met him several times he is unlike any police chief I have ever known.
At court, in his heavy gold chain and with his bulging belly, he conducted himself like a celebrity.
He gave TV interviews at every opportunity and wined and dined his fans – who all seemed to be women of a certain age with a fondness for bright red lipstick and fur coats – over long lunches.
He was being investigated for falsifying documents in a case involving three of his officers accused of torturing the missing girl's mum and uncle to get their confessions.
Little Joana Cipriano, eight, had disappeared in September 2004 from her village seven miles from Praia da Luz. She has never been found.
COMPLAINT: These comments about Joana Cipriano are wholly inaccurate, misleading and distorted: Alleged breach: Clause 1(ii). Please see my comments on this particular case above.++++++++++
TEXTThe officers were cleared, but in May 2009 Amaral was convicted of perjury and received an 18-month suspended sentence.
Years later, as Kate combed through police files, she was to be driven to tears of frustration and rage by all the missed opportunities. So many leads and sightings had simply not been followed up.The reason? From an early stage in the investigation, as Amaral later admitted in his book, he decided Madeleine had died in an accident.
Then, he reckoned, her parents panicked, hid her body and made up the story about her abduction.
So while Kate and Gerry were clinging to the hope that a huge manhunt would soon bring their daughter back to them, Amaral's team were in fact searching for clues and evidence to implicate them.Even the cop assigned to be the McCanns' family liaison officer was in fact looking for hints of guilt, it emerged during the libel case.
Conclusions based on bizarre 'evidence'One night, he told the court, Kate had phoned him to beg for a hilltop in Praia da Luz to be searched, because she had had a dream that Madeleine was buried there.
From this, he reported back to Amaral, he believed that Kate was admitting Madeleine was dead – further proof of the couples "guilt".
It seems absurd that a top police chief would base his conclusions on bizarre "evidence" such as this. And yet, much to Kate and Gerry's complete despair, he did.COMPLAINT: The burden of these sentences above is to suggest that Dr Amaral based his conclusions just on ‘bizarre’ evidence. As the Sun knows perfectly well, this is a travesty of the truth, as is plain from two key sources:
a) The extensive police files released on DVDs by the Portuguese Police in July 2008 which clearly reveal the evidence which led to the McCanns being declared suspects, and
b) The contents of Dr Amaral’s book.
The allegation above is that Dr Amaral and his team ‘based their conclusions on evidence such as Kate McCann’s dream’.This is clearly refuted as follows.
In his book, Dr Amaral wrote:QUOTE
It is at this time [late May] that, suddenly, the parents seem to admit the possibility of their daughter's death. Afterwards - and to this day, if I am not mistaken -they take exception to this hypothesis. Perhaps we were being naive, but it had seemed to us that Kate was going to provide us, indirectly, with indications about where her daughter's body was to be found. Thus, at the beginning of June, she informed us that the body could have been hidden in the outlet of a sewer pipe at Praia da Luz, or on the cliffs to the west of the beach, where she happened to run. She will say later that this information had been given to her by mediums possessing psychic power.Kate heard of a man called Krugel, a former South African army colonel, who had allegedly perfected a machine enabling him to detect the presence of a body. A decomposing body emits particles: if hair from the deceased person is placed in the machine, it detects identical particles. On June 9th, Kate asks friends to go to her home in England to collect some of her daughter's hair and send it to Krugel.
On June 28th, the McCanns request Krugel's presence in the Algarve. They want to make his intervention official and seek the agreement of the PJ. Thanks to Madeleine's hair, the South African allegedly determined a sort of imaginary line that allowed him to state that the body was in the Vila da Luz area. The Portuguese and English police learn, with amazement, about these supposed cutting-edge technologies dedicated to locating bodies. Of course, we knew that such apparatus existed, especially in the United States, but Krugel's mysterious, "machine," leaves us all speechless. Kate and Gerry, they stick to their guns. They saw a television programme in which the effectiveness of Krugel's method was demonstrated, and so are persuaded that the man will be able to move the investigation forward. Without being convinced as to the validity of the method, the police end up acceding to their request.UNQUOTE
What is clear from this passage is that the McCanns themselves were making a very determined effort to suggest that Madeleine was already dead, so much so that they insisted on the Portuguese Police taking notice of a highly dubious claim that a South African man with a machine could detect the whereabouts of Madeleine’s body via one of her hairs. The subsequent hiring by the Portuguese Police of Mr Krugel to come over to Portugal with his machine was clearly not driven by the Dr Amaral or the Portuguese Police; it was driven by the McCanns.Moreover, there is no suggestion in Dr Amaral’s book that this activity with Mr Krugel influenced the thinking of his team about what really happened to Madeleine. As the Sun knows and must surely concede, the decision to make the McCanns suspects was made substantially on the basis of the alerts of the two cadaver dogs brought to Portugal by top British police dog handler- now with the F.B.I. - Martin Grime, and a range of circumstantial and other forensic evidence as set out in an interim report of Inspector Tavares de Almeida dated 10 September 2007 and made public in July 2008.The Sun’s article suggests, basically, that Dr Amaral and his team made their decisions in the basis of bizarre, so-called ‘evidence’.This is false. The evidential basis for the McCanns being made suspects is clearly set out in Dr Amaral’s book and in the released Portuguese files. Alleged breach: Clause 1(i) This part of the Sun’s article is inaccurate, misleading and distorted.Also misleading was this statement: “Even the cop assigned to be the McCanns' family liaison officer was in fact looking for hints of guilt, it emerged during the libel case”. As the Sunknows very well, in any criminal investigation one of the roles of any Family Liaison Officer is to contribute evidence to the case. Many a Family Liaison Officer has provided crucial evidential information in a criminal investigation. Alleged breach: It was misleading and distorted to criticise Dr Amaral in respect of his Family Liaison Officer ‘looking for hints of guilt’.++++++++++
TEXTNo wonder Kate wrote in her book: "What probably galls me the most about Amaral's interviews is the way he presents himself as a person who, perhaps above all others, really wants to find Madeleine and get to the bottom of her fate.
"I cannot begin to express how much this outrages me."Amaral began his attacks on the McCanns soon after being taken off the case and in July 2008 published his book, a bestseller in Portugal.
Amaral is well thought of in Portugal and his utterings were clearly turning locals against the McCanns.
As Kate told me despairingly: "If people believe Madeleine is dead they will stop searching for her." Yet she never wanted to enter into a long libel battle against him.It was Portuguese lawyer Isabel Duarte who told Kate and Gerry, 46, that they had no choice but to do it, declaring: "That man has accused you of burying your daughter!"
Meanwhile, Amaral's second wife Sofia Leal, 45 – with whom he has a daughter the same age as Madeleine – has said he has been "completely destroyed" by the case.And recently Amaral himself, who is now retired, said: "It's hard to accept that I have to live this way just because I did my job."
For Kate and Gerry those words must cut deep.Because they believe if Amaral HAD done his job their beloved Madeleine may now be with them.
COMMENT: This is a wholly one-sided article which, taken as a whole, is therefore inaccurate, misleading and distorted. Complaint could be made about other aspects of the material in this article. I confine my specific complaints, however, to the ones listed above.
Finally, I add that I do not complain on Dr Amaral’s behalf. My complaint is founded on a seven-year long in-depth study of various aspects of the disappearance of Madeleine McCann and a detailed working knowledge of the six-year-long libel trial of Dr Amaral in particular. I simply record my objection, from my own working knowledge of the case, to any British newspaper covered by IPSO printing inaccurate, misleading and distorted information.Yours sincerely