Madeleine McCann: “Landmark television event” prompts new defamation action

The “landmark television event” promised by Australia’s Channel 7 network yesterday (click here) went down like a lead balloon: hardly anyone ‘involved’ (whether wittingly, or otherwise) has a good word to say about it, with criminal profiler Pat Brown being one of the least enamoured with the bizarre editing style.

Indeed, Brown – who visited the Algarve five years ago in a bid to ‘try and find some answers’ in the long-running mystery – has instructed lawyers who, she says, have “identified multiple legal claims” against presenter Rahni Sadler and the show’s producers, Seven Media West.

“The most egregious part of this whole thing is that they used the bit with me saying: “They are lying and concealing guilt” three times – once in the promo and twice in the show”, said Brown.

“They really wanted the viewers to believe I made that statement when what I actually said was edited out.

“They wanted the viewers to believe I said the McCanns were guilty of a crime.

“Then they did not use any of the important evidence I put forward.

“They also misled me as to what kind of show it was by claiming it was a “public affairs show” which is a very straight forward news show, not some pro-McCann tabloid using me as the representation of conspiracy theorists.

“Of course, they also made it seem in the promo that Gonçalo Amaral had given them an interview and that there would be a groundbreaking lead which could solve the crime (what was it?)”

Brown’s attorney Brian Close is understood to be looking at an action for “intentional misrepresentation, false light and defamation”.

He said in a statement that the broadcast damaged Brown’s professional reputation, and will continue to do so as it is viewed around the world.

In the Algarve, locals have taken to Facebook to vent their outrage, with comments boiling down to the perennial frustration that Praia da Luz has been presented as a form of village of the damned.

Said long term resident and businesswoman Nicky Weijdom: “Channel 7 asked us again and again for interviews so they could portray Luz as a thriving and uplifting village. They said it was all about Luz and would hardly mention the McCanns. Well, the media have proved again what utter scum they are. Feeling disgusted!”

Amaral too is certain to have a reaction to the fact that the remarks used by the station were not even made to Channel 7.

But as the spin-cycle circus revolves ever more manically towards May 3 – when Madeleine’s tragic disappearance will finally reach its 10th year moment – observers put the hysteria into some kind of perspective.

Said former British police superintendent Peter McLeod, whose ebook “What Really Happened to Madeleine McCann” is freely available online, after 10 years and two police investigations – one of which has spent upwards of €15 million: “we have NOTHING”.

“No point of entry, no method of entry, no time window, no search, no items taken, no marks of any sort, inside or outside, no trademark, no witnesses”.

With the Met’s Operation Grange only sure of funding to next September, Portuguese PJ deputy director Pedro do Carmo has nonetheless insisted that the case remains open.

“We have never had a case like it, nor have we since”, he told Lusa – admitting that police have every interest in knowing what happened, “as this way, we will be able to make deductions in future situations”.

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