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Rebuttal of "Fact" 24

Page history last edited by Chinagirl 13 years ago

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24. When asked by a Portuguese journalist from Sol to give some details about Madeleine’s abduction, the McCanns’ friend Dr David Payne said: “This is our matter only. We have a pact of silence. All comments must go through Gerry McCann”.


Verdict - Unsubstantiated.  There is no primary source to support this claim.  The McCanns and their friends issued a statement which strenuously denied it.

Source - Media articles.




Summary of Verifiable Facts

  1. This quote appeared in a Portuguese publication.
  2. The McCanns and their friends issued a statement which strenuously denied it and that they had told journalists that Portugal's stringent Judicial Secrecy laws prevented them from discussing the case.
  3. This was reiterated by Gerry McCann in an interview with Portugal's Sandra Felgueiras.




Portuguese Secrecy Law

From Q&A on BBC Website:-


All criminal cases in Portugal - and elsewhere in much of Europe - are governed by the law of judicial secrecy.


This means that once a criminal investigation is under way, police cannot reveal anything about that investigation, including any details about potential suspects.


Any leaks could jeopardise a trial.


From Portugal News Online:-


Secrecy Law Explained


In effect, this legal constraint was designed to protect suspects not only from being tried and convicted by the press, but also from lynch mobs while also safeguarding the presumption of innocence of a suspect. 



David Payne's Alleged Statement 

There is no primary source for David Payne making this comment.  The closest to a primary source is the quote which was published by the Portuguese journal "Sol." (citation needed)


From the Portuguese Sol on 30th June 2007

The article is long, but the following would appear to be the phrase in question 


 Temos um pacto. Isto é um assunto nosso. Só a nós diz respeito», diz David Payne, outro elemento do grupo. 


There has been considerable debate regarding the translation of the phrase "um pacto" which can be translated as either "pact" or "agreement".  The McCanns and their friends strenously deny that they had any pacts and state that they had merely told the journalist in question that in order to comply with Portugal's strict secrecy laws, they could not discuss the investigation



The Telegraph 29th October, 2007


"We wish to state that there is categorically no ‘pact of silence’ or indeed anything secretive between us - just the desire to assist the search for Madeleine," they said in a joint statement, released by the McCanns’ spokesman Clarence Mitchell.


"From day one, the police in Portugal told us not to discuss our statements.


"It is incredibly frustrating for us that the fact we have done as we were asked to by the Portuguese police is still being looked upon as suspicious.


"Everything we have done, and continue to do, has been to help with the search for Madeleine and to end this nightmare for Gerry and Kate." 


Interview with Kate and Gerry McCann.  Clip begins at 6.30:-


SF: And what about your friends? Did you have a pact of silence with your friends?

KM: Do you know judicial secrecy?

SF: I know it but we don't have it anymore.

GM: You have to put it into context of the situation that we were in...

SF: But now is the time to... to you... to explain all...

GM: That... that... that article that was written, in June, was directly as a result of a journalist phoning all of us and saying: 'what can you tell us about it'. And we were under explicit instructions that we were not to talk about, errr... the details of the case at... under judicial secrecy. So that's all that people did. And, errm... I don't think, you know, there should be considered a pact of silence. We were told, that's what we were to do. And you wouldn't expect witnesses in other cases, in any country, to be going out divulging information that may be useful to the perpetrator of the crime.




It is reasonable to conclude that if Dr David Payne did make a comment to journalists, then his reasons for declining an interview pertained to Judicial Secrecy and not to some sinister pact between the McCanns and their friends.  Indeed, even if such a pact existed, it would be very strange for Dr Payne to tell a journalist about it.


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