As Gerry and Kate McCann lose their libel case in the European Court of Human Rights, it is time for the pointless and totally wasteful £14 million search for their daughter to finally wind down.
This morning in Strasbourg, the European Court of Rights unsurprisingly ruled against Gerry and Kate McCann, the parents of the ‘missing’ since 2007 child Madeleine McCann, and in favour of the “thorn in their side” ex PJ police coordinator Gonçalo Amaral.
Bringing an end to an almighty and very costly charade where costs and damages will likely run into the hundreds of thousands for the McCanns and their foundation, Mr Amaral’s victory in this highest of courts ends the prospects of the British couple being able to pursue him further.
In a judgment issued online, “the European Court of Human Rights held, unanimously, that there had been: no violation of Article 8 (right to respect for private and family life) of the European Convention on Human Rights.”
Going further, the court added:
“The case concerned statements made by a former detective inspector – in a book, a documentary and a newspaper interview – about the applicants’ alleged involvement in the disappearance of their daughter, Madeleine McCann, who went missing on 3 May 2007 in southern Portugal. Before the Court, the applicants alleged that there had been a violation of their right to reputation and to their right to be presumed innocent.”
“The Court considered that, even assuming that the applicants’ reputation had been damaged, this was not on account of the argument put forward by the book’s author but rather as a result of the suspicions expressed against them, which had led to their being placed under investigation in the course of the criminal investigation (the prosecutor’s office decided to take no further action in July 2008) and had led to intense media attention and much controversy.”
“The information had thus been brought to the public’s attention in some detail even before the investigation file was made available to the media and the book in question was published. It followed that the national authorities had not failed in their positive obligation to protect the applicants’ right to respect for their private life.”
“The Court also considered that in the Supreme Court’s judgments of January and March 2017 – concerning the civil claims lodged by the applicants – it had not made comments implying any guilt on the part of the applicants or even suggesting suspicions against them with regard to the circumstances in which their daughter had disappeared. The applicants’ complaint concerning their right to be presumed innocent was thus manifestly ill-founded.”
Responding, journalist and anti-corruption in charity campaigner Matthew Steeples, who has written extensively about the case since 2007 and who was introduced to Mr and Mrs McCann by the “Chanel-clad” former charity boss Baroness Meyer remarked:
“The vexatiously litigious McCanns have failed in their efforts to sully the name of Gonçalo Amaral. They have, with clear tenacity, gone after this Portuguese police officer again and again since 2008 and when Portugal’s highest court ruled that he was entitled to ‘freedom of expression’ in 2017, they still did not give up.”
“Today, having wasted yet more money in regard to a case of a ‘missing person’ who will likely never be found on top of the £14 million ($16 million, €15.9 million or درهم58.8 million) of public money already squandered, I suggest that it is time for this merry-go-round to stop and it is also time for Mr Amaral to be left in peace.”
“Whatever occurred on the evening of 3rd May 2007 in Praia da Luz, Portugal was most certainly a tragedy and a tragedy most definitely for Madeleine McCann – a 3-year-old child who had a full life ahead of her. It was right that the case was investigated, but over 15 years have passed.”
“As I have said again and again, there are other missing people out there and there are cases that with resources could and can be solved. These cases get little to no support and the disproportionate allocation of resources to the search for Madeleine McCann – a child who would by now be an 18-year-old adult – is clearly never going to lead anywhere.”
“Enough is enough. The end of the road has been reached and it is time that the Metropolitan Police finally wound down the disgraceful waste of money and resources that is Operation Grange.”
Meanwhile elsewhere, again today, we remind readers that Christian Brueckner – the current main ‘suspect’ in the case – has still not been charged. Strange that; very strange indeed.
Pictured top – ‘Missing’ since 3rd May 2007 Madeleine McCann (left) as a child and her parents out running in the days after their daughter supposedly vanished off-the-face of the planet.
Many questions about what happened on the evening of the disappearance of Madeleine McCann remain. Some that have been highlighted by the press and discussed online include: