After a written campaign that involved countless emails, letters and negotiations, a man who himself has been the target of legal action by the parents of Madeleine McCann succeeded in getting an apology from the Daily Express newspaper. Written at the bottom of page 21 in today’s edition is a box, headed ‘Amplification and Clarification, Gonçalo Amaral – Correction’. Amaral had NOT lied in court, the paper conceded.
It was not a huge victory, Tony Bennett writes on the Jill Havern Forum, but it has publicly corrected an error that saw the former PJ policeman “publicly accused” of having lied about a death cover-up claim.
The full text of the Express correction was as follows:
“On the 29th April 2015 we published a headline on the front page which said “Maddy detective did lie about death cover-up claim”. We would like to make it clear that there was no determination by the Portuguese court that Mr Amaral lied. In fact the court ruled that Mr Amaral had breached the McCann’s right to reputation and ordered him to pay damages to them”.
Those damages are currently being appealed by Mr Amaral, who almost certainly had no knowledge of Tony Bennett’s efforts to clear the tabloid’s slur.
Was it worth it? Mr Bennett questions in today’s write-up: “He did not lie. I am personally content that I have not wasted my time and effort.”
Although the citing of the apology, at the bottom of the page, did not go unnoticed.
The full ruling on this point, adjudicated through the Independent Press Standards Organisation, will be available next week, Mr Bennett adds – while he has been forbidden from publishing any of the correspondence that went back and forth as he fought Amaral’s corner.