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MCCANNS v BENNETT - The committal to prison trial will take place for 1 or 2 days, sometime in April or later Mm11

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MCCANNS v BENNETT - The committal to prison trial will take place for 1 or 2 days, sometime in April or later

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Post by Tony Bennett on 22.01.12 23:20

As a result of a letter from Carter-Ruck dated 13 January and received by me on Friday after I returned from a short holiday, I can now confirm that the ‘Committal Hearing’ where the McCanns are seeking to have me committed to prison, fined, or have my assets seized (and all three are possible in a serious contempt case) will not now take place on 8 February.

The McCanns asked for the date of 8 February to be used for a Directions/Procedure hearing called a ‘Case Management Hearing’, to which I agreed as I need a lot more time to prepare my defence.

Mr James Tipp, Deputy Court Manager and Court Co-ordinator, has agreed and in an e-mail to Carter-Ruck also dated 13 January, he wrote:

“The committal hearing on the 8th February 2012 will now be listed for a two hour directions hearing as requested [by Carter-Ruck]”.

THE DRAFT ORDER

Carter-Ruck have drafted the Order they would like the Court to grant. It provides as follows:


  • I must file my reply no later than 4pm on 22 February
  • The McCanns to have a chance to reply by 21 March
  • The McCanns’ committal-to-prison application be heard after 10 April
  • The trial to be fixed for either 1 or 2 days
  • ‘Costs in the case’.

I am likely to seek to change those proposed directions, if only to seek a great deal more time to prepare my defence. The McCanns on their own admission began together with Carter-Ruck to prepare their Committal application back in June. They served it to me, unannounced, six months later, by two men in a limousine on 1 December, in a box containing five thick Lever Arch files and 2,000 pages of argument and evidence.

LEGAL ADVICE AND COSTS

For the record, I have taken the advice of a local Solicitor who advised that the terms of the undertaking I was forced to give in November 2009 were unusually wide and there were good grounds for them at least to be varied.

He did advise that I should be legally represented if at all possible, but after making enquiries via solicitors and the Legal Services Commission who run the Legal Aid scheme, no Legal Aid is possible to anyone who has savings over £8,000, which I have. He then quoted me figures for advising and said that in view of the many complexities and unusual features of this case, he would need to seek a written Opinion from an experienced barrister. Because of the sheer amount of material which the McCanns have placed before the court, and the need for both the solicitor and barrister to read and consider all the documentation, plus look up and apply all relevant law and case precedent, the cost of being advised alone would run to a 5-figure sum.

My solicitor is not one of the very few solicitors who has what are called ‘rights of audience’ in the Royal Courts of Justice, which means that if I wish to be represented in court, this would mean I would again have to hire a barrister. Again, I have been advised that if you include court attendance on say 3 days of both barrister and solicitor and possibly solicitor’s clerk myself, and dealing with all the preparation of the case, correspondence with the court and Carter-Ruck, preparing Witness Statements, Skeleton Arguments of the case and so on and so forth, the whole bill for legal representation alone would cost potentially tens of thousands of pounds, money I just haven’t got.

I therefore have to struggle on, on my own and unaided, on what feels like a very unequal contest indeed.

The main bone of contention for the McCanns is the opinions I have given on this very forum and on the Madeleine Foundation website.

They accept that I have adhered strictly to the undertakings I gave (1) to close our former website, (2) not to sell or distribute the ‘60 Reasons’ booklet and (3) not to sell or distribute the ‘10 Reasons’ leaflet, the only exception to that being the sale of a book to a photojournalist, Mike Gunnill, who under the name of Michael Sangerte insisted that he needed a physical copy of the book ‘for the purposes of historical research’ - after I had initially refused to sell him a book.

THE HEARING ON 8 FEBRUARY - WILL I BE ENTIRELY ON MY OWN?

I have asked via a unit called the Masters Support Unit at the High Court if the hearing on 8 February will be in open court or in chambers, and have also asked if I could bring a relative or a friend to take notes at the hearing. I got a very short note back saying that all the answers are in a book called ‘Civil Court Practice’, otherwise known as the ‘White Book’, which I could buy from a legal bookshop. Even to get that answer took four e-mails dated 23 and 30 December and 5 and 20 January. I am still trying to find out if anyone is allowed to accompany me to the hearing.

CARTER-RUCK's COSTS

I have raised the question of costs with Carter-Ruck, given the following statement by Dr Kate McCann in her book, ‘madeleine’. On page 287 of that book, she wrote: “Adam Tudor and his colleague Isabel Hudson continue to do a vast amount of work for us, without payment, most of it quietly, behind the scenes”.

Not so in my case, it seems. By way of response, Carter-Ruck have clarified the position so far as claiming costs against me is concerned. This is what they have said:

“In relation to your queries about our clients’ costs, we entered into as fee-paying retainer with our clients in relation to this Contempt of Court application. As previously indicated ,our clients intend (as they are entitled) to seek an Order for the repayment of their costs by you in the event that their application is successful”.

I think I have previously indicated that the McCanns claim I have breached the undertaking I gave the High Court in November 2009 in 149 instances, once by selling a book to Mike Gunnill, and on 148 other occasions by words I have used in postings, articles and leaflets published between January 2010 and August 2011.

SURPRISING CLAIMS OF LIBEL

There are not a few surprising claims of alleged libel.

Alleged breach of undertaking number 148 is described as ‘The 48 Questions video recording created by and featuring the Defendant”. When this was brought to our attention by Carter-Ruck in August, we decided to voluntarily remove that video from YouTube, despite the fact that we could not see how a mere recital of those 48 questions could possibly constitute libel when they consist of a list of questions made public by the Portuguese Police, and are still available to read on the BBC website, and have been published in numerous British and Portuguese newspapers and elsewhere on the internet.

Alleged breach of undertaking number 2 is described as “The Madeleine McCann Case Files, Volume 1, booklet published by the Defendant”. Once again, seeing that this is merely a compilation of a selection of documents made public three years ago by the Portuguese Police, it is hard to see where the libel lies in reproducing them. Furthermore, Carter-Ruck do not specify what parts of that book are said to be libellous. For example, is it possible to view Inspector Tavares de Almedia’s interim report containing the police team’s assessment of what may have happened to Madeleine McCann as ‘libellous’?

I should add here that “The Madeleine McCann Case Files, Volume 1”, was first published by us in late January 2010. The McCanns have made no objection to the publication of this booklet during their occasional correspondence with me during 2010 and 2011 and I confess I was hugely surprised to find that they regarded this as libellous. In their recent letter of 13 January 2012, they say:

“You are continuing to publish some of the publications complained of in our clients’ application against you for Contempt of Court - most notably, by continuing to offer the booklet “The Madeleine McCann Case Files Volume 1’ for sale via your website”.

We honestly cannot see on what grounds the reproduction of e.g. the 48 questions, the interim report of Inspector Tavares de Almeida, the evidence of Martin Grime, the Gaspar statements and excerpts from the lengthy ramblings of Jane Tanner can constitute either libel or a breach of my undertaking.

Therefore our 108-page book remains for sale on our website, price £4 including postage; now may be your last chance to get a copy to give to your relatives, friends an acquaintances before it is banned, like 60 Reasons and 10 Reasons.

A BATTLE - PICKED

On page 290 of ‘madeleine’, Dr Kate McCann writes this:

“We have taken action against one or two websites, but it has proved almost impossible to get this stuff removed from some of them, particularly those hosted in the USA. Friends flag up some of the worst offenders for us, but in the end it comes down to picking your battles”.

Well, I have been well and truly ‘picked’.

I don’t mean this in any way unkindly, but for those of you who can type away your opinions on what really happened to Madeleine McCann without fear of inviting a libel action, think yourselves fortunate. It’s a freedom that might be curtailed later, if I lose this battle and if Lord Leveson has anything to do with changing press freedoms and internet law.

Finally, thanks so much to all of you who say kind things about my stand. They may not stop me going to prison, paying a heavy fine, or losing all my savings and my home, but I assure you they are a solace and a comfort at a time of stress, and I appreciate each and every one of them.
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Post by frank zappa on 23.01.12 0:18

Tony, there is no chance in hell of you going to prison. Any Judge worth their salt will know the remains of MBM could be found at any time, with serious implications for the parents.
High court judges dont like to be made look stupid.
Have faith and all the best.

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Post by Guest on 23.01.12 9:26

I really do hope you're right Frank Zappa but I have no faith left in the integrity of anyone in the Establishment.
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Post by The Slave on 23.01.12 9:30

Dear Tony, I can only give you my admiration . You have been a thorn in their side, like Goncalo Amaral and in their eyes you must pay.
This is revenge. It has nothing to do with finding Madeleine. They are sick people.
Try to remain as dignified as you can in the circumstances. They cannot run forever.
I hope common sense prevails.
I feel your pain.
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Post by Cristobell on 23.01.12 11:33

Absolute Madness. If this committal hearing succeeds, British justice will be shamed in the eyes of the world.
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Post by puzzled on 23.01.12 11:41

I'm sure we'll all do what we can to help Tony, just say the word.
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Post by Nina on 23.01.12 11:45

Tony, you know as always that I support you. I am shocked to see that you cannot have legal support though when the people you are fighting are using such as they are, though financed by the money donated for the search of their daughter according to them.

Is anyone going to follow this story in the press? And I don't mean just local papers but national ones. Is there anything at all that I / we can do to help you?

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Post by Kololi on 23.01.12 12:04

Surely if your fees are likely to run to such a huge amount then the costs of their legal support is also likely to be massive too.

I understand a retainer agreement to be a sum of money placed up front with the solicitor. It is placed in a trust fund and drawn upon as work is completed. Where would the money that was required up front have come from? I am guessing from Madeleine's fund or from one of the people who it is said is sponsering their legal costs. Heck I am just working class so maybe that sort of money with no strings attached is a spit in the ocean for a wealthy sponser but it still seems odd to me when you start to see the potential amount in black and white.

With no offence meant to you Mr Bennett why would they spend all this money on attacking somebody that, in the great scheme of things, is potentially small fry. The newspapers makes more sense but your reach to Joe Public is not as big as a daily or weekly paper.

Good luck and no sneering from me if you are able to settle this without going to court. You have your family, your home and livelihood to think of so do what you need to do to look after yourself.
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Post by Tony Bennett on 23.01.12 12:09

@Nina wrote:Tony, you know as always that I support you. I am shocked to see that you cannot have legal support though when the people you are fighting are using such as they are, though financed by the money donated for the search of their daughter according to them.

Is anyone going to follow this story in the press? And I don't mean just local papers but national ones. Is there anything at all that I / we can do to help you?
Yes, much is made these days of achieving 'equality of arms' in legal contests in the U.K., but in libel cases this is rather a sick joke.

In terms of firepower and resources, it is a bit like a bloke with a sling or a bow and arrow up against a bloke with a nuclear arsenal at his disposal.

Mind you, the case histories of William Tell and David provide a measure of encouragement...ironically it was the death of King David's child by Bathsheba that got Dr Kate McCann reading one section of her Bible very avidly, in 2 Samuel Chap 12 vv 14-24, well worth a read if you've got a dust-laden Bible on your shelves. Shortly after, they had another child. Solomon. So it wasn't all bad news.

As for what you and others can do, Nina, thanks very much for asking, I would suggest:

* keep digging,

* publicise all relevant facts about the case,

* support Goncalo Amaral's support fund and, if possible,

* come and support me by being at the trial, it will be great to be among a few friends when I go down - or stay up.

Oh, and if you haven't already done so, please sign the petition calling for a full public enquiry into all aspects of the disappearance of Madeleine McCann; our support for this petition is listed as 'Breach of Undertaking No. 89' on the Carter-Ruck list of my 149 alleged breaches of my undertaking; to sign, click on the Care2 icon on our home page: www.madeleinefoundation.org.uk

As the petition itself is listed as a possible breach of my undertaking, there is a real risk that the court, after the trial, might order its removal.
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Post by Tony Bennett on 23.01.12 12:46

@Kololi wrote:Surely if your fees are likely to run to such a huge amount then the costs of their legal support is also likely to be massive too.

REPLY: Someone at Carter-Ruck has had to take instructions from the McCanns, probably Senior Partner Adam Tudor, but it is usually Isabel Hudson's name that the letters go out from.

Someone at Carter-Ruck has had to read, select, photocopy many times and collate 2,000 pages of 149 alleged breaches of my undertaking.

Someone put Mike Gunnill up to trying to buy a book in the name of Michael Sangerte (Alleged Breach of Undertaking No. 1, by the way).

Carter-Ruck and the McCanns probably had to read every single one of my 3,700-odd posts on Jill's forum before deciding which 50 or so, in their terms, breached my undertaking (the other 3,650 or so presumably were not breaches of my undertaking) and they had to presumably read every single one of our articles on our website before deciding which 10 out of the 60 breached my undertaking). It looks like the McCanns think I crossed some 'line' in 50 postings here, but not the other 3,650. I have to say it is very hard to know where the line should be drawn.

Carter-Ruck have written three letters to me before August 2011 and they and the McCanns would have had to read and deal with my replies.

Then there are the hours every day they spend on this forum hunting for possibly libels - Jill has all the daily records from Peter carter-Ruck's I.P. address.

The question has certainly been asked before: exactly who is paying for all this?

According to Dr Kate McCann on page 289 of her book 'madeleine', all the work of Adam Tudor and Isabel Hudosn is being given 'without payment'. Until they decided to bring contempt proceedings against me, it seems.

I understand a retainer agreement to be a sum of money placed up front with the solicitor. It is placed in a trust fund and drawn upon as work is completed. Where would the money that was required up front have come from?

REPLY: As a matter of law, Solicitors and their clients cannot, except in truly exceptional cases, be forced to disclose their source(s) of funding. The McCanns could make a voluntary disclosure; if so, that would of course sit very well with their oft-repeated claim to be 'open and transparent' about all that they do (excepting of course Clarence Mitchell's oft-repeated dictum that nothing may be disclosed about all their private investigations 'for operational reasons').

I am guessing from Madeleine's fund or from one of the people who it is said is sponsoring their legal costs. Heck I am just working class so maybe that sort of money with no strings attached is a spit in the ocean for a wealthy sponser but it still seems odd to me when you start to see the potential amount in black and white.

With no offence meant to you Mr Bennett why would they spend all this money on attacking somebody that, in the great scheme of things, is potentially small fry. The newspapers makes more sense but your reach to Joe Public is not as big as a daily or weekly paper.

REPLY: I think there may be two elements as to why the McCanns have, in their words, picked me for their 'battle'. One is that they may have a perception that our 'reach' with our booklets, leaflets, website, petitions etc., is greater than it actually is. The second reason may be [withheld for legal reasons].

Good luck and no sneering from me if you are able to settle this without going to court.

REPLY: I doubt it this time, though I have made an offer to the McCanns which I am not at liberty to disclose.

You have your family, your home and livelihood to think of so do what you need to do to look after yourself.
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Post by Tony Bennett on 23.01.12 12:55

@puzzled wrote:I'm sure we'll all do what we can to help Tony, just say the word.
Actually, I forgot to mention that there is actually a way that some of you on here could help me in a practical way.

I have begun preparing a written witness statement for my defence. I need help with it.

As well as constituting my defence, I hope it might also, one day, constitute some form of record, though because of our libel laws and the court hearing it may not be able to be published for some time to come. (I am not at this stage sure of what I will be allowed to say in my defence in open court).

I would gladly accept help and advice from anyone who has the time and the inclination to look through my witness statement as it's being drafted, and offer to correct it and make any suggestions. This would be on the strict understanding that my drafts were not disclosed by you to anyone else. If you would like to help me in this way, simply e-mail me at ajsbennett@btinternet.com, many thanks
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Post by david_uk on 23.01.12 13:01

endlessly facinating yet disturbing! this whole affair.

Mr Bennett, please may I ask if you have considered inviting the press to comment, take aninterest or attend the court hearing?

Thoughts are with you and best of luck

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Post by aiyoyo on 23.01.12 14:19

Whatever be the reason for mccanns postponement of their case against TB to coincide with the date of their case against Amaral, there is a good reason behind it. And I suspect it is not a coincidence but a manipulation on team mccanns' part to have it postponed to until their case against Amaral is heard.

IMPO, they are afraid of the verdict of their case against Amaral. A ruling against them will have a very significant impact on their litigations against TB. A verdict in Amaral's favour means TB can cite the ruling to his advantage.
No sane UK judge will disregard another court's ruling completely. even if it is the ruling of a foreign country jurisdictions because all jurisdictions are based on principles of justice and truth.

This Chinese New year (lunar calender) sees us into into the year of the black water dragon. This water dragon year will be a very auspicious and good year for Amaral, being born in year of the boar. This water dragon is very good for birth sign of rooster and boar.

Kate and gerry are both born in the year of the monkey. Although rat, monkey and dragon are allies hence compatible, the feng shui in this water dragon year still favours the boar more than monkey. So this year's feng shui is more in Amaral's favour than the mccanns.
The mccanns have to watch what they say this year and can expect to lose their money this year from what I read of feng shui so far.



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Post by Guest on 23.01.12 14:29

I also think they are delaying for a reason.
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Post by Jill Havern on 23.01.12 15:13

@Tony Bennett wrote:Oh, and if you haven't already done so, please sign the petition calling for a full public enquiry into all aspects of the disappearance of Madeleine McCann; our support for this petition is listed as 'Breach of Undertaking No. 89' on the Carter-Ruck list of my 149 alleged breaches of my undertaking; to sign, click on the Care2 icon on our home page: www.madeleinefoundation.org.uk

As the petition itself is listed as a possible breach of my undertaking, there is a real risk that the court, after the trial, might order its removal.

The McCanns don't want a full public enquiry into all aspects of the disappearance of their daughter?

How very odd.

It's not like they haven't lied under oath* before and got away with it, is it?

(* Leveson Inquiry)
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Post by Miraflores on 23.01.12 15:40

I'd be interested to see if the UK press reports this. Assuming that it does get reported, however hard they spin it in the McCanns favour, (which they will), there are bound to be people asking just why the McCanns are doing this and how it helps them find their daughter.

I imagine that the McCanns are hoping that Tony will throw in the towel and be an easy victory for them.
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Post by PeterMac on 23.01.12 15:46

Just suppose, for one minute, that the sky falls in and that TB is committed to prison.
And then, just suppose, that Madeleine' remains are discovered, or one of the Tapas 7 decides to tell the whole truth, or the SY team reached the same conclusion that the PJ did, and some action is taken again TM.
What would be the damages to be awarded to TB.
Perjury - resulting in wrongful imprisonment, not to mention the libel aspects.
I would guess it might run into hundreds of thousands.
The "Fund" would by then have been wound up, so the entire award would be borne by TM.
Nice house in Rothley for sale ?

Since you are clearly watching, C-R and McCanns. Think about it very carefully !

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Post by Kololi on 23.01.12 16:25

@aiyoyo wrote:Whatever be the reason for mccanns postponement of their case against TB to coincide with the date of their case against Amaral, there is a good reason behind it. And I suspect it is not a coincidence but a manipulation on team mccanns' part to have it postponed to until their case against Amaral is heard.

IMPO, they are afraid of the verdict of their case against Amaral. A ruling against them will have a very significant impact on their litigations against TB. A verdict in Amaral's favour means TB can cite the ruling to his advantage.
No sane UK judge will disregard another court's ruling completely. even if it is the ruling of a foreign country jurisdictions because all jurisdictions are based on principles of justice and truth.

This Chinese New year (lunar calender) sees us into into the year of the black water dragon. This water dragon year will be a very auspicious and good year for Amaral, being born in year of the boar. This water dragon is very good for birth sign of rooster and boar.

Kate and gerry are both born in the year of the monkey. Although rat, monkey and dragon are allies hence compatible, the feng shui in this water dragon year still favours the boar more than monkey. So this year's feng shui is more in Amaral's favour than the mccanns.
The mccanns have to watch what they say this year and can expect to lose their money this year from what I read of feng shui so far.




If I have read it right, it is Mr Bennett who is likely to ask for the schedule to be altered so that he has time to prepare his defence. That reads to me as if he may ask for a longer time so it's not them asking - or have I missunderstood totally?
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Post by T4two on 23.01.12 16:43

@Kololi wrote:
@aiyoyo wrote:Whatever be the reason for mccanns postponement of their case against TB to coincide with the date of their case against Amaral, there is a good reason behind it. And I suspect it is not a coincidence but a manipulation on team mccanns' part to have it postponed to until their case against Amaral is heard.

IMPO, they are afraid of the verdict of their case against Amaral. A ruling against them will have a very significant impact on their litigations against TB. A verdict in Amaral's favour means TB can cite the ruling to his advantage.
No sane UK judge will disregard another court's ruling completely. even if it is the ruling of a foreign country jurisdictions because all jurisdictions are based on principles of justice and truth.

This Chinese New year (lunar calender) sees us into into the year of the black water dragon. This water dragon year will be a very auspicious and good year for Amaral, being born in year of the boar. This water dragon is very good for birth sign of rooster and boar.

Kate and gerry are both born in the year of the monkey. Although rat, monkey and dragon are allies hence compatible, the feng shui in this water dragon year still favours the boar more than monkey. So this year's feng shui is more in Amaral's favour than the mccanns.
The mccanns have to watch what they say this year and can expect to lose their money this year from what I read of feng shui so far.




If I have read it right, it is Mr Bennett who is likely to ask for the schedule to be altered so that he has time to prepare his defence. That reads to me as if he may ask for a longer time so it's not them asking - or have I missunderstood totally?

According to Mr. Bennett it was the McCanns who called for a "Directions/Procedure hearing prior to the full hearing and in place of it on February 8 thereby effectively postponing the date of the full hearing. Mr. Bennett agreed to this to give himself more time to prepare his case.
Mr. Bennett: The McCanns asked for the
date of 8 February to be used for a Directions/Procedure hearing called a
‘Case Management Hearing’, to which I agreed as I need a lot more time
to prepare my defence.
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MCCANNS v BENNETT - The committal to prison trial will take place for 1 or 2 days, sometime in April or later Empty Re: MCCANNS v BENNETT - The committal to prison trial will take place for 1 or 2 days, sometime in April or later

Post by pauline on 23.01.12 17:04

I think it is very important that tony has legal representation but I understand it will be expensive.

So I suggest Tony puts up bank account details so that those of us who can make a donation to his costs do so. This is one positive thing we can all do; some may find £5 a struggle, others may be able to donate much more.

Please don't settle out of court. That is what they want.
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Post by Nina on 23.01.12 17:08

@pauline wrote:I think it is very important that tony has legal representation but I understand it will be expensive.

So I suggest Tony puts up bank account details so that those of us who can make a donation to his costs do so. This is one positive thing we can all do; some may find £5 a struggle, others may be able to donate much more.

Please don't settle out of court. That is what they want.

Pauline I agree, just what level of people are they?

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Not one more cent from me.
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Post by AskTheDogsSandra on 23.01.12 17:14

When this story finally breaks, the UK public will wonder why our media have not reported this.

Won't they Mike Gunnill?
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Post by Guest on 23.01.12 17:19

MCCANNS v BENNETT - The committal to prison trial will take place for 1 or 2 days, sometime in April or later 977352 Mike Gunnill! I'm sure we're all underwhelmed that you've joined us again.
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Post by tiny on 23.01.12 17:32

Mr Bennet i am so sorry you are having to go through this ordeal for Madeleine when her own family are not bothered about her,its a darn shame the lilly livered uk press let the mccanns pull thier strings when they know about the official pj files,plus the booklets you have written to get the word out that Madeleine was not abducted.god bless you.
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Post by scotclogs on 23.01.12 17:34

@Cristobell wrote:Absolute Madness. If this committal hearing succeeds, British justice will be shamed in the eyes of the world.

Here here clapping For you tony roses youaretheman
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