Wednesday, 30 December 2009

Wednesday, 23 December 2009


Daily Star justified in calling Rothley leaflet distributors 'sickos' -
Press Complaints Commission decision

Tony Bennett 23.12.2009 at 7:55 am

Late yesterday I received by e-mail the text of the decision of the Press Complaints Commission regarding complaints we made about coverage in the 'Daily Star' of 15 August 2009 (the 'sickos' article) and 16 August 2009 (the 'stalker' article).From: Scott Langham Subject: 093429 / 093527 Sunday Express / Daily Star

Date: Tuesday, 22 December, 2009, 17:19

By email

Our references: 093429 / 09352722 December 2009

Dear Mr Bennett

Further to our recent correspondence the Commission has now made its assessment of your complaint under the Code of Practice.The Commission members have asked me to thank you for giving them the opportunity to consider the points you raise. However, their decision was that there was no breach of the Code and a full explanation appears below. If you are dissatisfied with the way in which your complaint has been handled - as opposed to the Commission ’s decision itself - you should write within one month to the independent Charter Commissioner, whose details can be found in our How to Complain leaflet or at

Thank you for taking this matter up with us.

Yours sincerely
Scott Langham

Commission’s decision in the case of Bennett v Sunday Express/Daily Star

The articles reported that the Madeleine Foundation had distributed copies of their leaflet ‘What really happened to Madeleine McCann? Ten key reasons which suggest that she was not abducted’ in the McCanns’ home town of Rothley , Leicestershire.The articles variously referred to the leaflet as a “hate leaflet” and “highly inflammatory”, claiming that it contained “despicable lies” and that it was part of a “smear campaign”. The articles also claimed that the McCanns had been targeted by “sickos” and that the Chairman of the Madeleine Foundation was a “stalker”. The complainant said that all these claims were inaccurate and misleading.In this case, it was clear to the Commission that the references to a “hate leaflet” and to the leaflet being “highly inflammatory” represented the newspaper’s robust position on the content of the literature being distributed by the complainant and his organisation, which could reasonably be described as controversial. The newspapers had the absolute right to do so, within the parameters of the Code of Practice. Clause 1 (Accuracy) of the Code states that newspapers must distinguish clearly between comment, conjecture and fact. The Commission considered that – given the nature of the references, which were plainly subjective – readers would have understood that they related to the newspapers’ own views of the leaflet, which they were entitled to take. Equally, the Daily Star had been perfectly entitled to offer its opinion of the individuals behind the campaign (“sickos”) which, it was said, had caused distress to the McCanns. It was difficult to see how such a subjective term could have been interpreted as verifiable fact. The complainant may have disagreed with such a description, but this did not make it inaccurate in breach of the Code. Similarly, the Commission was satisfied that the newspaper had been entitled, in the circumstances, to refer to the leafleting as part of a “smear campaign”, or, by extension, “stalking”. Both terms clearly represented the newspapers’ opinion of the activities of the organisation. The reference to “despicable lies” had, in addition, been attributed clearly to a “source close to the couple”, in the case of the Sunday Express, and a “family pal” in the case of the Daily Star. There was no breach of the Code on these points.The complainant had also claimed that the circumstances of the leaflet drop had been misrepresented. In the Commission’s view, however, the question of when the leaflets were distributed – at night-time or between 3pm and 6pm – and how many people were involved was immaterial to any general understanding of the matter. These references certainly did not amount to a significant inaccuracy under the terms of Clause 1 (ii). Finally, the complainant had said that it was not the case that the Madeleine Foundation had sent the leaflet to Brian and Janet Kennedy. Given that he had stated that he was unaware of their address, it was difficult to see how he knew that this was the position. In any case, there had been no complaint from Kennedys on the point.

Scott LanghamHead of ComplaintsPress Complaints CommissionHalton House20/23 HolbornLondon EC1N 2JDTel: 020 7831 0022


Wednesday, 28 October 2009

Wednesday, 7 October 2009


By Tony Bennett [ Fri Feb 06, 2009 5:42 pm ]


The Madeleine Foundation
Combating child neglect
Address: Grace Road, Maidstone, Kent


Thursday 1 January 2009

The DirectorBar Association
Ordem dos Advogados
Conselho GeralLargo de São Domingos,
14 - 1º1169 - 060 LisboaP - PORTUGAL

Dear Sir: Holding of an Inquest into Madeleine McCann’s disappearance/ death

I write to you on behalf of The Madeleine Foundation, a membership organisation in the United Kingdom dedicated primarily to keeping alive the issue of child neglect, which we feel lies at the very heart of the case of the ‘disappearance’ of Madeleine McCann. At the same time, I am pleased to enclose for your attention the booklet we have published this week, titled: “What Really Happened to Madeleine McCann? - 60 Reasons which suggest that she was not abducted”. It is not yet available in Portuguese.We have examined the statement of the Portuguese Attorney-General, made in July this year, in which he announced that the investigation into Madeleine McCann’s disappearance/death will be ‘archived’, or shelved, pending new evidence becoming available. We have also seen translation of police documents and DVDs on the case released over the past few months by the Portuguese police.It is our view, based on the evidence – and shared we understand with the former lead investigator in the case, Goncalo Amaral - that Madeleine died in Apartment 5A in Praia da Luz, and that the parents, together perhaps with some of their other friends who were with them in Portugal, have covered up the death and know what has happened to Madeleine’s body. According to the police reports and other indications, there is much evidence pointing that way. In summary, it includes:a) the powerful evidence of the cadaver dogs, who located the smell of death, i.e. human cadaverine, in three or four locations in Apartment 5A, in the McCanns’ hired car, their Renault Scenic, on the clothes of Kate McCann and on the T-shirt of one of the children, and on the soft toy known as ‘Cuddle Cat’ b) evidence from DNA samples of body fluids which we understand, in summary, indicates that Madeleine died in apartment 5A but does not prove it c) contradictory statements by the McCanns themselves and their friends about the events of 1st, 2nd and 3rd May, including various changes of story by the McCanns, and contradictions between what they, their friends and other witnesses say about the events of 1st to 3rd May 2007.Goncalo Amaral in his book: ‘The Truth about a Lie” suggests that Madeleine died in Apartment 5A and that the McCanns faked the abduction. We think his conclusion is very possible.Had these events occurred in the United Kingdom, an inquest would - sooner or later - be held. In the U.K., inquests can be held, even in the absence of a body, if there is some evidence that the person (or child) is dead. For example, an inquest was held a few years ago on a canoeist whose kayak was found drifting in the North Sea, though no body had been found.We write therefore to enquire if there is any similar provision in Portuguese law. Our concern is that, now that the police investigation has in effect been suspended, there is a real risk that all the circumstances surrounding Madeleine McCann’s disappearance will not become known. An inquest provides an ideal opportunity for all relevant witnesses to be required to give their testimony, and be questioned. The sooner this takes place, the better, as witnesses’ recollections fade, and evidence is lost.There is much evidence in this case, thousands of pages of it according to the Policia Judiciara report released in July and since. We believe it is vital that this evidence should be presented in a court as soon as possible. Could you please advise us as soon as possible if there is any provision in the Portuguese judicial system for holding an inquest, or any other similar public enquiry into a person’s disappearance and possible death in Portugal - and also please inform us whether any moves have yet been made in Portugal to hold such an inquest or inquiry into Madeleine’s ‘disappearance’.

I await hearing from you.
Yours sincerely

Deborah Butler
The Madeleine Foundation


Tony Bennett [ Fri Feb 06, 2009 6:02 pm ]

To be fair to Madeleine herself - and so as we can all learn the appropriate lessons from what happened - I believe that a Coroner's Inquest or similar should be convened as soon as possible, enabling all the relevant evidence relating to how she disappeared, or went missing, or vanished, or was abducted, or died...or whatever really happened - to be heard, examined, and tested publicly.Before witnesses' recollections fade and any evidence is either lost or damaged further.A 3-year-old British girl has disappeared off the face of the earth. Or quite possibly her body has been buried somewhere in the earth.Is that young girl, whom millions have been asked to look for and give money for, to be denied the benefit of all relevant witnesses and experts who can shed some light on what really happened to her?And should we not also have the benefit of the results of the private investigations of Control Risks Group, Metodo 3, Oakley International and now the (alleged) crack team of 12 top ex-Met, ex-MI5 and ex-MI6 detectives. What information could they all yield up about how and where Madeleine 'disappeared'?After all, the boss of Metodo 3 told us that he was snapping at the heels of the kidnappers, that Madeleine was still alive, and that she 'would be home by Christmas' [2007]. Now, if an Inquest was convened, would it not be reasonable to demand that Metodo 3 to deliver up what evidence they had which made them say those things?Or rather, admit that they were lying.An Inquest is non-adversarial and attempts to find out precisely why, when, where and how a person has died or gone missing, presumed dead. The world wants to know what really happened to Madeleine McCann.What could anyone possibly have to fear from that?No, DCB, I really don't want Madeleine declared dead, unless the evidence points that way on the balance of probabilities.I want an Inquest, preferably with a jury, to find out as much as possible about what really happened to her - as I cannot accept that her parents and their 'Tapas 9' friends have yet told us the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth about what happened to her in Praia da Luz.

Deborah Butler, Grace Road, Maidstone, Kent

07867 887066

Sunday, 4 October 2009

Thursday, 1 October 2009