Saturday, June 18, 2011

Madeleine: Investigation a 'fiasco' as bungling Portuguese police fail to send crucial documents to British authorities

The Madeleine McCann investigation has been branded a fiasco as it was revealed Portugal's Attorney General had not sent crucial documents to the British authorities.

Portugal's most senior law official has failed to send vital legal documents to Britain and police claim the delay has brought their investigation to a standstill.

Embarrassingly, detectives leading the hunt were convinced the documents were sent three weeks ago and had briefed journalists that Home Secretary Jacqui Smith was to blame.

Senior detectives said this week that it was "impossible" that the papers had not been sent, and questioned why the Home Office had taken almost a month to respond.

The vital documents, which took months to prepare, asked for British police to re-interview Kate and Gerry McCann's friends, set out a list of questions for them to face and asked for the seizure of items including Mrs McCann's diary and her husband's laptop.

Portuguese newspapers reported that the Home Secretary had delayed the case by failing to respond to them, and the Home Office took the unusual step of formally denying it had been sent the papers.
Then in a humiliating public climbdown, the Attorney General's office in Lisbon was forced to admit that it had not yet sent them to Whitehall.

A spokeswoman said: "The letters of appeal will be sent via the Attorney General, who will oversee their delivery."

It is yet another delay in an investigation which has been dogged by bungles, gaffes and mistakes, and friends said the McCanns were "beyond angry" about the latest setback.

A friend of the family who asked not to be named said: "We are beyond being angry about it now. The whole process is just geared up for non-activity. It's a fiasco."

The Portuguese newspaper Correio da Manha said it was "unthinkable" that the letters had not been sent.

Detectives have said they cannot proceed with the investigation until they have quizzed the seven friends who dined with Mr and Mrs McCann on the night of May 3.

They want to question the group about alleged contradictions and inconsistencies in their witness statements and are then expected to ask to re-interrogate the couple.

A police source told the Portuguese newspaper 24 Horas: "This is a fundamental procedure to attempt to understand what really happened that day in Praia da Luz.

"Without carrying out new interrogations it is not possible to finish the case."

McCann spokesman Clarence Mitchell said: "How long does it take to send documents between two countries?

"If the police want to talk to anybody to clarify any inconsistencies then let's get it done as soon as possible.

"Kate and Gerry believe it will go a long way towards clearing their names and eliminating them from the inquiry. We have got nothing to hide."

Meanwhile police have said they are no longer investigating sightings of men who resemble the e-fit sketch released by the McCanns two weeks ago.

Mr and Mrs McCann, both 39, commissioned the image based on a sighting by witness Gail Cooper, 50, who saw a "creepy" man lurking in Praia da Luz a week before Madeleine vanished.

Sightings of the man pictured have been reported in Portugal, Gibraltar, Chile and Argentina since the image was sent to Interpol and reproduced on a million posters.

But a police source told the newspaper 24 Horas the sketch "was no longer being investigated as all the reports of people seeing similar men have already been dismissed".

He added: "The possibility of an abduction has not been dismissed but we have no evidence whatsoever which points in that direction."

Mr Mitchell said the McCanns' private detectives still wanted to identify the man "as a priority" and added: "We believe he could possibly be Madeleine's abductor."

He said: "We would be concerned if the police dismissed this out of hand. We would hope that any information given to the police would be given proper consideration.

"This man has yet to be traced, we are re-urging people to drag through their memories and if anyone recognises him, to get in touch."

The McCanns' £50,000-a-month private detectives, Metodo 3, have continued to distribute the sketch of the suspect, and to interview witnesses around Praia da Luz who believe they may have seen him.

But police have dismissed it as having "no credibility" and have said the picture of a man with long hair, prominent teeth and a droopy moustache could identify "dozens or hundreds" of men.


Metodo 3 were at their most active, the AGENDA to keep the news of the Rogatory Letters OUT of the media and concentrate on ludicrous sightings.