We are currently in Lisbon for the trial to determine whether the injunction against Mr Amaral’s book and DVD should remain in place. This trial is about whether the book is a true reflection of the official judicial process in to Madeleine’s disappearance and whether its contents damage the ongoing search for Madeleine, her siblings and our reputations.
Mr Amaral’s book and DVD contains some information from the PJ files but there is a lot in the files which is not in Mr Amaral’s book. Hence it is highly selective and therefore biased. Mr Amaral’s book contains his opinions rather than fact. His opinions differ from the findings in the PJ file. The conclusions of the latter are: 1.there is no evidence that Madeleine is dead and 2. there is no evidence that Gerry or I are involved in Madeleine’s disappearance. This is very different to the theories and conclusions of Mr Amaral. It is logical and common sense that spreading these theories as Mr Amaral did (and continues todo) damages the search to find our little girl. If the general public (and the Portuguese people in particular) are bombarded day in and day out with such theories, this will eventually ‘colour’ their understanding and judgement -lies and inaccuracies become fact. If people subsequently believe that Madeleineis dead and that we are involved in her disappearance then they will not look for Madeleine, will not consider any suspicions about others which they may have and will not come forward with information. We consider this highly detrimental to the search for Madeleine.
There are few points which have been raised in the last few days which I would like to address specifically:
Abduction theory:For us, there is only the abduction theory possible because we were not involved in Madeleine’s disappearance and we know Madeleine did not wander off by herself. It is obvious and right that the police should consider other theories initially.
The window: I described to the police officers exactly what I found that night, as it was and is highly relevant and I knew that every little detail could be helpful in finding my daughter which is our only aim. The window which is a ground floor window was completely open and is large enough for a person to easily climb through it. Whether it had been opened for this purpose remains unknown. It could of course have been opened by the perpetrator when inside the apartment as a potential escape route or left open as a ‘red herring’
The dogs: We realise that the behaviour of the dogs was the turning point in the investigation for the PJ. The use of dogs has proved to be problematic and unreliable in previous cases
(please refer to the Jersey ‘Haut de La Garenne’ case and other research published about their use and reliability). It is vital to note that alerts by such dogs are classified as intelligence rather than evidence, as police officers familiar with their use will verify. These alerts must be supported by forensics in order to be used as evidence. The results of the forensic examinations did not identify any blood or Madeleine’s DNA. To suggestor use the dogs´ reactions as evidence is simply wrong and abusive.
The proposed reconstruction: The suggestion of a reconstruction of our movements and other key witnesses at the crime scene and/or surrounding area in the early days following Madeleine’s abduction was declined by the PJ as ‘not usual’ for Portugal. When the PJ finally requested a reconstruction to take place in 2008, Gerry and I were still arguidos and as such would have attended for a reconstruction. Some key witnesses (including some of our friends)declined to attend the planned reconstruction as they were not convinced of the aims and usefulness of it. In particular, as the reconstruction was not to be shown to the media (and hence the general public), they did not feel it would help to find Madeleine. Had the intention been to show it to the general public, it may have ‘jogged’ memories and encouraged people to come forward with information. It should be added that other key witnesses were not invited to attend.
Our team is confident that the injunction will remain in place because none of thewitnesses thus far have been able to prove in court that Mr. Amaral’s right to express his opinion is superior to the rights of our family to peace, respect and protection of reputation, and above all, the right to continue the searchfor our daughter Madeleine effectively and without hindrance. As has been made clear this week, Mr Amaral’s ‘thesis’ is not supported by any evidence. The search for Madeleine must go on until we find her and bring her abductor(s) to justice.