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Retired lawyer faces jail for 'harassing' Kate and Gerry McCann - Telegraph Mm11

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Post by Guest on 29.01.12 10:22

Retired lawyer faces jail for 'harassing' Kate and Gerry McCann

A retired lawyer who has repeatedly accused Kate and Gerry McCann of covering up their daughter Madeleine's death is facing jail for harassment.



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Tony Bennett has waged a campaign since 2007 against the Kate and Gerry McCann Photo: PAUL GROVER


By Robert Mendick, Chief Reporter

8:20AM GMT 29 Jan 2012


For almost five years, Kate and Gerry McCann have suffered the anguish of not knowing what happened to their daughter Madeleine.


Through it all, they have also had to contend with a sustained campaign of harassment conducted by a small band of fanatics convinced they had a hand in their daughter's disappearance.


Now, one of their main tormentors is facing jail for refusing to leave the McCanns' alone.


Tony Bennett has waged a campaign since 2007 against the couple – repeatedly accusing them of covering up the girl's death in leaflets, books and on internet postings.


On one occasion, the Madeleine Foundation, which he runs, handed out 1,500 pamphlets in Rothley, the couple's home village in Leicestershire, entitled "10 key reasons which suggest she was not abducted."

Another booklet has been posted by registered delivery to the McCanns' home.

Next month, a court will decide whether to jail Mr Bennett, 64, for contempt of court.

The action is being brought by Mr and Mrs McCann who have grown increasingly disturbed by Mr Bennett's attacks on them.

Mr Bennett is accused of flouting an agreement in the High Court – made in November 2009 – that he would stop repeating allegations that the McCanns were in some way involved in their daughter's abduction.

Since then, Mr Bennett, a grandfather-of-two from Harlow in Essex, who is obsessed with the case, has posted on the subject of Madeleine McCann's disappearance an astonishing 3,800 times on one website alone.

Lawyers acting for the McCanns accuse him of breaching the undertaking on at least 149 occasions. The list of alleged breaches is not exhaustive.

The McCanns' spokesman Clarence Mitchell said: "This has gone on for a long time and Kate and Gerry now feel enough is enough. It is obviously very distressing for them. The fact they are taking legal action speaks for itself.

"Tony Bennett is his own worst enemy by persistently doing what he does, he has brought this action on himself."

The couple, both doctors, live in hope their daughter may still be alive and continue the search for her.

A Metropolitan police review of the evidence, put together by Portuguese detectives, continues but is not thought to have produced any significant new leads in the search for Madeleine.

A draft order seen by The Sunday Telegraph, which a judge is expected to rule upon at a hearing in February, includes an option for Mr Bennett to be "committed to HM Prison for a period" to be determined.

Mr Bennett could also be fined and ordered to pay costs that are likely to bankrupt him.

The undertaking Mr Bennett signed – he will now claim he only agreed it under duress – prevents him from making a number of claims in relation to Madeleine's disappearance from her parents' holiday apartment in the Portuguese resort of Praia da Luz on May 3rd 2007.

At the time she was just three-year-old.

The agreement signed in court states: "The defendant [Mr Bennett] undertakes not to repeat allegations that the claimants are guilty of, or are to be suspected of, causing the death of their daughter Madeleine McCann; and/ or of disposing of her body and/ or of lying about what happened and/ or of seeking to cover up what they had done."

The undertaking also included the destruction of a book "What really happened to Madeleine McCann? 60 key reasons which suggest that she was not abducted" and a leaflet "What really happened to Madeleine McCann? 10 key reasons which suggest that she was not abducted."

But since that November 2009 undertaking, Mr Bennett has continued many of his activities.

The list of 149 alleged breaches, compiled by the McCanns' lawyers Carter Ruck, includes a book: "The Madeleine McCann Case Files: Volume 1" and a series of postings on the social networking website Twitter.

Mr Bennett runs the Madeleine Foundation, whose website has been subject to scrutiny by the McCanns' legal team, while also putting up 3,800 posts on another website The Complete Mystery of Madeleine McCann at a rate of about five a day.

Speaking to The Sunday Telegraph, Mr Bennett was largely unrepentant and seemingly happy to repeat some of the allegations that put him under threat of contempt.

He first became interested in the case while watching it unfold on television in 2007.

He attempted to bring a private prosecution against the couple in November 2007 for child neglect – on the grounds the couple were eating dinner with friends when Madeleine was abducted – but the case was thrown out in a magistrates' court.

Mr Bennett said: "I have done my best to comply with the undertaking but I would argue to the courts it was an unreasonably wide undertaking to sign.

"In the last two years I have not written specifically about the details of how she [Madeleine] might have died or how the body was hidden.

"It is my sincere conviction that one day I will be proved right. I truly believe that one day the truth will be told. And yes I am risking a breach of the order by saying that."

Asked how he felt about harassing a couple, grieving over the disappearance of their daughter, Mr Bennett replied: "The thing that came closest to harassment was when we distributed the '10 reasons' leaflet in Leicestershire in August 2009.

"Three of my colleagues in the Madeleine Foundation distributed a small quantity of leaflets in Rothley. I would honestly say that perhaps that was a leaflet distribution too far.

"If Madeleine was abducted I would accept what I have done is a wicked campaign of harassment. If I am wrong I am evil. But if I am right, I am a victim of simply having the desire to pursue the truth."

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/newstopics/madeleinemccann/9046508/Retired-lawyer-faces-jail-for-harassing-Kate-and-Gerry-McCann.html
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Post by Tony Bennett on 29.01.12 11:17

This article arose out of a telephone call out of the blue from the Telegraph's Robert Mendick on Tuesday this week.

As it happens, I had an invitation from the British Museum to a free showing of the Hajj exhibition which opened at the Museum on Thursday - interesting occasion, met the Saudi Arabian Ambassador to the U.K. there. Fine exhibition, but left out of the exhibits was any reference to the tragic loss of lives which have happened in recent years as the numbers of Muslim pilgrims making the annual Hajj pilgrimage has risen to 3 million; thousands have been crushed to death in the milling crowds. It does seem an awful bother to go all that way to walk 7 times anti-clockwise around a 30-foot high black cube (the Ka 'Ba) and then collect exactly 49 pebbles and fling them with all your might at three pillars.

I also that day handed in a letter to Sir John Thomas, President of the Queen's Bench Division at the High Court, setting out the difficulty faced by defendants who are forced to act in person to defend themselves because they can't come near to matching the resources of litigants like the McCanns who can call on huge financial resources - and recommending changes that would assist litigants-in-prson in the future.

Then it was on to Carter-Ruck. On the last day of my holiday, I got a frantic 'phone call from Debbie at Carter-Ruck. By mistake, she had sent me TWO identical thick large Lever Arch files for the next (and I hope final) Court hearing (on 29 February) re Smethurst, when he will deliver Carter-Ruck's claim for costs against me. When I got back, there was another frantic call from Mary at Carter-Ruck wanting to send up a courier to collect the extra file which they needed back urgently. To save Carter-Ruck the expense of a courier, I offered to deliver the file back to them in person and did so later that afternoon. They actually said 'thank you'.

The photographer who took my pic was Paul Grover.
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Post by Guest on 29.01.12 11:35

Hehe, that was rather a bit of an advert, how very unhelpful of them laughat

Mr Bennett runs the Madeleine Foundation, whose website has been subject to scrutiny by the McCanns' legal team, while also putting up 3,800 posts on another website The Complete Mystery of Madeleine McCann at a rate of about five a day.
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Post by pennylane on 29.01.12 12:33

Wowee, things are suddenly moving fast it seems! Tony, you are even on a first name basis with some staff at Carter Ruck and hobnobbing with some bigwigs at the museum too..... move over Kate the name dropper Retired lawyer faces jail for 'harassing' Kate and Gerry McCann - Telegraph 921124 TCMOMM gets a mention too! Retired lawyer faces jail for 'harassing' Kate and Gerry McCann - Telegraph 444319


Just want to say again, I am humbled by your courage and determination to fight on for justice, in spite of the arrogance and bullying of those sitting on a mountain of money, and who have used that money at every turn to suppress the facts from coming into the main stream. Thanks to Clarence Mitchell's media connections, a woefully uninformed public has donated millions to the McCanns, and vast amounts of that money donated for "the search" have been used to vamp up their murky image, and squelch out any dissenters. Money talks, and talks, but doesn't seem to do much searching from what I have seen. Unfortunately for TM, we have watched them and recorded them from the beginning and have seen their changing version of events with our very own eyes, and we will NOT be silenced.

God bless you, and keep you strong Tony! xx
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Post by Gillyspot on 29.01.12 13:07

Well said Pennylane. Tony we are all behind you and wish that you will be successful in your court cases. As regards Smethurst remember he actively had to accept his facebook friends they are not forced on him.

I notice that there is no mention of the McCann's other ongoing libel cases.nor the fact that donated monies are more than likely helping them sue people who as Tony says are at a massive disadvantage not having £millions of donated money to spend.

Justice may work in silence but it would seem that in libel cases at least justice is not equally available for all only for those with the deepest pockets..

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Post by Tony Bennett on 29.01.12 13:15

@Gillyspot wrote:Well said Pennylane. Tony we are all behind you and wish that you will be successful in your court cases. As regards Smethurst remember he actively had to accept his facebook friends they are not forced on him.

I notice that there is no mention of the McCanns' other ongoing libel cases...[SNIPPED]
Yes, I was disappointed there was not even a brief reference in the article to the 3-year-long case of McCanns v Amaral.

I did my level best, though.

On Wednesday night I sent this e-mail, which is self-explanatory, to Robert Mendick:

++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

Wednesday 25 January 2012

by e-mail

Dear Mr Mendick

During our 'phone conversation yesterday, I mentioned the twists and turns of the McCanns' parallel libel action in the Lisbon courts against the former detective in charge of the investigation into Madeleine McCann's disappearance, Dr Goncalo Amaral.

In case you proceed to file an article, I thought I would just set down a timeline of events in that case, because of what I think is the significance of the libel action against Dr Amaral in the whole case:

Sep 7 & 8 2007 McCanns pulled in for questioning and made 'arguidos' (suspects)

Sep 10 2007 Devastating interim report by Chief Inspector Tavares de Almeida giving a history of the police investigation and including persuasive reasons for thinking that Madeleine McCann died in her parents' holiday apartment (made public by the Portuguese public in late 2008)

Oct 2 2007 Dr Goncal Amaral notified by fax that he has been removed as head of the investigation

July 2008 Attorney-General archives the police investigation under 'Hiding a body or abduction' but says there is no evidence to prosecute any individual in respect of Madeleine's disappearance


July 2008 Days later, Dr Amaral publishes his book, A Verdada da Mentira, 'The Truth About A Lie'. The McCanns threraten to sue him for libel but do not. The book sells 250,000 copies in Portugal,and during the next year is translated and published in eight other European languages, but not in the U.K. A powerful documentary on the case, fronted by Dr Amaral, is transmitted by media company TVi in Portugal to record audiences

June or July 2009 After the book has made about £1 million net profit in sales, the McCanns decide to issue a libel writ in the Lisbon equivalent of our High Court. They claim that Dr Amaral's book has ruined their life, caused massive ill-health problems for them both, and has harmed the search for Madeleine. They claim £1 million damages

September 2009 Interim hearing in the case. Judge bans Dr Amaral's book and further transmission of the TVi documentary and orders all copies of it to be impounded and handed to the custody of the McCanns' lawyer

January 10-12, 2010 Three-day hearing in the Lisbon High Court of Dr Amaral's appeal against the September decision. During this court case it emerges (a) that British police advised and helped the Portuguese Police to bring cadaver dogs to Portugal and (b) that top National Police Intelligence Unit criminal profiler Lee Rainbow recommended that the facts suggested that the McCanns should be prime suspects

February 18-19 2010 Final hearing of Dr Amaral's appeal and verdict. The ban on his book is upheld, Dr Amaral lost his appeal.

October 2010 Dr Amaral appeals to the Portuguese Court of Appeal. After considering Article 10 of the European Convention on Human Rights, the Court rules that the book can be sold and distributed again. The ban is lifted. Costs awarded agaisnt the McCanns. The McCanns appealed to the Portuguese Supreme Court.

March 2011 McCanns' appeal against the Appeal Court ruling rejected. Costs again awarded against the McCanns. The British media report neither the Appeal Court nor the Supreme Court decisions. The book 'The Truth About A Lie' continues to be able to be distributed, and of course remains on sale in 8 other European countries.

February 9 & 10 2012 The case had been listed for final trial for these two days but has now been adjourned to April 2012 or later.

I look forward to meeting you 1pm on the corner of Chancery Lane/Fleet Street.

Sincerely

Tony Bennett
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Post by Guest on 29.01.12 14:02

@Tony Bennett wrote:
The photographer who took my pic was Paul Grover.

Do you mean the same one involved somehow in the unsettling photos of Madeleine? How bizarre.
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Post by juliet on 29.01.12 14:22

This article seems very biased towards the McCanns. Isn't there some sort of sub judice law to stop the Telegraph writing something so slanted before the case comes to court?

(edited to add) The reporter says from the start that the McCanns "don't know what happened to their daughter"...thus declaring that they are the ones with right on their side and Tony Bennett is the lying beast causing them anguish.
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Post by Tony Bennett on 29.01.12 14:36

@juliet wrote:This article seems very biased towards the McCanns. Isn't there some sort of sub judice law to stop the Telegraph writing something so slanted before the case comes to court?
My fate (if any) will be decided by a judge. If this was a criminal charge, and there was going to be a jury trial, yes, this would almost certainly be sub judice. But in law judges are such experts at what they do that they are regarded as being wholly incapable of being influenced by anything they may read in the newspapers or hear on the news.
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Post by juliet on 29.01.12 14:53

Hope it's not that Hogg woman, then!

Sincere good wishes, Mr Bennett. I do so hope the truth prevails.

Surely someone in authority (or the media) isn't either corrupt or afraid?
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Post by Gillyspot on 29.01.12 14:54

Tony this article by Robert Mendick is a disgrace. You furnished him with many facts and he simply chose to include those he wanted leading to a totally biased article. I am ashamed to think I used to read and believe that the Telegraph was an honest newspaper interested in getting ALL the facts out to us. Clearly I was mistaken in this thinking.

Good luck Tony roses

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Post by Tony Bennett on 29.01.12 15:09

@Gillyspot wrote:Tony this article by Robert Mendick is a disgrace. You furnished him with many facts and he simply chose to include those he wanted leading to a totally biased article. I am ashamed to think I used to read and believe that the Telegraph was an honest newspaper interested in getting ALL the facts out to us. Clearly I was mistaken in this thinking.

Good luck Tony Retired lawyer faces jail for 'harassing' Kate and Gerry McCann - Telegraph 725573
In truth, I don't have any serious complaint about the article, indeed to some extent I think the Telegraph needs some credit for covering this very sensitive subject it at all. At least it wasn't the Sun's 'vile sickos' again.

Obviously it will be good one day when the mainstream media does an in-depth article, e.g. looking at why the McCanns and their Team chose one [suspected] criminal and con-man (Kevin Halligen) after another criminal (Antonio Gimenez Raso), both now in jail, to be their lead investigators in 2007 & 2008, and starts putting the spotlight on characters like Marcos Aragao Corriea, but regrettably we are a million miles from that sort of analysis anywhere except on free-running McCann-sceptic discussion forums like this one. And the McCanns are known to be very litigious and have already bagged £550,000, maybe more, from the libel courts. All the media have to tread very carefully.

On the face of it, it does look mad for someone to be warned of ruinous libel action, then sign an undertaking, and then appear to break it. Robert Mendick at least gave me a chance to explain myself.

I see the numbers of visitors are nicely up on the forum today.
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Post by juliet on 29.01.12 15:16

Paul Grover, whose name is on some of the very dodgy pictures of Madeleine, says he simply got them from the family album.

Now he's taking your picture (snatched or properly organised?) which seems bizarre in the circumstances.

I do hope you took the opportunity of asking whether the pictures of Madeleine were from Gran McCann's album, and who owns the copyright...
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Post by Guest on 29.01.12 17:28


@xklamationJoana Morais


This should read: Retired lawyer faces jail for not believing in the #McCann thesis & stating his opinion on the matter http://is.gd/ZVyKHZ


17 minutes ago via web

http://twitter.com/#!/xklamation
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Post by TheHare on 29.01.12 18:44

candyfloss wrote:
This should read: Retired lawyer faces jail for not believing in the #McCann thesis & stating his opinion on the matter http://is.gd/ZVyKHZ


As usual Joana is 100% right. Hopefully this is going to backfire spectacularly
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Post by jay2001 on 29.01.12 19:46

This isn't a very good article, but at least it will probably make some people think and start checking the info available on the net.

I find it ironic that a couple who wouldn't co-operate with PJ, wouldn't answer 48 questions, wouldn't give back the books to GA can flout the law themselves. Are they above the law?
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Post by Shibboleth on 29.01.12 20:16

I think this article reads very well for Tony. There is a reason, an important one, that none of the UK newspapers will print anything bad about the McCann. Is there a legal prohibition in place, a black-out? It is not unknown. And yet, the Telegraph story has put forward the possibility that Madeleine is dead, and that the McCann hid the body. (I believe that an article, stating that Maddie died of a drugs overdose, is still on the Telegraph web-site). It makes Tony a symapthetic character, a retired person, a grand-father; not a *sicko* or a *nutter* but a person who is educated, who has thought of all this very carefully, a person who may just have something worth listening to.

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Post by Daisy on 29.01.12 20:21

@Tony Bennett wrote:In truth, I don't have any serious complaint about the article, indeed to some extent I think the Telegraph needs some credit for covering this very sensitive subject it at all. At least it wasn't the Sun's 'vile sickos' again.
I reckon this is the right attitude to be taking.

^ I know 'look for the positives' sounds like just another tired old cliche but the positives are there.

TB's case has been reported in the mainstream media, it could have been ignored completely - media blackout. Instead, this coverage has drawn attention to his case that otherwise it wouldn't have had. And despite what the McCann supporters might be squarking, I'm convinced there's now a lot more folk out there that are aware of how desperate the free speech stifling, money grabbing McCann's have become.

Of course, I wouldn't have done things quite the same way as Tony, but hold on a minute, the only thing I've ever really done in the search for the truth for Madeleine is post on the internet, so I'm in no position
to criticise.

Good luck & much respect Sir






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Post by Pershing36 on 29.01.12 20:51

What a horrible article.

As the McCanns portray themselves to be right all the time, maybe you should take their example and call in Carter Ruck for defamation case.

Got to be worth a few million to retire on.

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Post by T4two on 29.01.12 22:02

@Shibboleth wrote:I think this article reads very well for Tony. There is a reason, an important one, that none of the UK newspapers will print anything bad about the McCann. Is there a legal prohibition in place, a black-out? It is not unknown. And yet, the Telegraph story has put forward the possibility that Madeleine is dead, and that the McCann hid the body. (I believe that an article, stating that Maddie died of a drugs overdose, is still on the Telegraph web-site). It makes Tony a symapthetic character, a retired person, a grand-father; not a *sicko* or a *nutter* but a person who is educated, who has thought of all this very carefully, a person who may just have something worth listening to.

Agree. IMO your assessment is spot on. Interesting that the Telegraph approached Mr. Bennett and have allowed him to have his say and actually printed what he said. Until now, The Telegraph has been conspicuous for taking a pro McCann stance; this represents a definite change. It is interesting to see Mr. Bennett simply described as being a retired lawyer, without any recourse to cheap jibes of the internet scum or nutter variety. Certainly this approach will awaken the readership's curiosity concerning the Madeleine Foundation and the publications mentioned. The Telegraph has exposed a chink in the McCanns' armour; let's hope that other media outlets follow suit.
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Post by tigger on 30.01.12 18:16

I find it encouraging that the word 'harassing' is printed like this. They could have left the quotation marks out as they cannot be in the original accusation against TB.

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Post by Guest on 30.01.12 18:26

To me, the word harassing means something a lot more personal and in-your-face than the things which Tony has supposedly done. It is more applicable in the case of a deranged person who stalks someone with whom possibly they were once involved, following them around, loitering outside their home and phoning at all hours. That sort of behaviour should rightly be stamped out and the person punished.

It is hard to imagine how Tony or anyone else saying the same things can be reckoned as having a similar detrimental effect.

Perhaps, as unlikely as it seems, the McCanns have consciences which are troubling them and they are more susceptible to trivial things which other people would ignore?

P.S. Link to definition of harassment.

http://www.swan.ac.uk/registry/academicguide/conductandcomplaints/dignityatworkandstudycombatingharassment/2definitionandexamplesofharassment/
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Post by BillyCake on 30.01.12 20:18

Hello,

This Sunday Telegraph report is a complete lie and the ‘reporter’ has not read up on any cases of breach of High Court Undertaking. Tony Bennett and others should complain in the strongest possible terms about this.

A person who is accused of a breach of an undertaking RARELY if ever has to spend a single day in prison. Yes, in theory, a judge will say 4 weeks in prison, SUSPENDED for so many years, so as long as there is NO REPETITION of the alleged current offences, then there will be NO INCARCERATION of a person who is entitled to a warning only. PRISONS are for people who are a threat to society, not an elderly Grandfather who happens to speak his views.

AS FOR THE BREACH OF UNDERTAKING hearing: This trial would certainly not bankrupt most people unless they only had a couple of thousand pounds to their name or nothing saved. Likely costs of a contempt of court case would be around the £2,500 mark.

There’s another thing the reporter failed to warn Tony about. The Judge may have already decided that a suspended sentence (and a warning) is all that is required. But there is a cooling period (I forget the name for it but will look it up) between the time of the claim and the actual trial. Anything that the defendant posts in that time that is deemed to contravene that original Undertaking will be taken into account, so, what should have been a SUSPENDED sentence COULD EASILY now turn into a full 3 or 6 month prison sentence.
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Retired lawyer faces jail for 'harassing' Kate and Gerry McCann - Telegraph Empty Re: Retired lawyer faces jail for 'harassing' Kate and Gerry McCann - Telegraph

Post by bristow on 30.01.12 21:57

@Shibboleth wrote:I think this article reads very well for Tony. There is a reason, an important one, that none of the UK newspapers will print anything bad about the McCann. Is there a legal prohibition in place, a black-out? It is not unknown. And yet, the Telegraph story has put forward the possibility that Madeleine is dead, and that the McCann hid the body. (I believe that an article, stating that Maddie died of a drugs overdose, is still on the Telegraph web-site). It makes Tony a symapthetic character, a retired person, a grand-father; not a *sicko* or a *nutter* but a person who is educated, who has thought of all this very carefully, a person who may just have something worth listening to.

I quite agree Shibboleth, I think it reads very well for Tony too, apart from the using the word harrassment.
I'm pleased this site is mentioned, hopefully it will make new readers aware that we're not all a bunch of vile sickos, just normal everyday folk who dare to question the spin we are fed.
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Retired lawyer faces jail for 'harassing' Kate and Gerry McCann - Telegraph Empty Re: Retired lawyer faces jail for 'harassing' Kate and Gerry McCann - Telegraph

Post by Newintown on 31.01.12 2:57

@bristow wrote:
@Shibboleth wrote:I think this article reads very well for Tony. There is a reason, an important one, that none of the UK newspapers will print anything bad about the McCann. Is there a legal prohibition in place, a black-out? It is not unknown. And yet, the Telegraph story has put forward the possibility that Madeleine is dead, and that the McCann hid the body. (I believe that an article, stating that Maddie died of a drugs overdose, is still on the Telegraph web-site). It makes Tony a symapthetic character, a retired person, a grand-father; not a *sicko* or a *nutter* but a person who is educated, who has thought of all this very carefully, a person who may just have something worth listening to.

I quite agree Shibboleth, I think it reads very well for Tony too, apart from the using the word harrassment.
I'm pleased this site is mentioned, hopefully it will make new readers aware that we're not all a bunch of vile sickos, just normal everyday folk who dare to question the spin we are fed.

It looks to me that Robert Mendick has been quite crafty in the way he has written this article. On first reading it it looks as if he is on the side of the McCanns and is showing up Tony as been a nuisance and is detrimental to the McCanns "search" for Madeleine, but really Mendick has managed to also put in the other side of the story as Shibboleth has said, opening up people's eyes as to where they can find out information for themselves on the forums and to make up their own minds without been brainwashed by the McCanns' version of events.

Tony, I wish you luck in the forthcoming court case with the McCanns.
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