Il serait plus juste de dire que les parents déclarèrent d'emblée que leur fille avait été enlevée (pour preuve une fenêtre et un volet qu'elle n'aurait pu ouvrir toute seule, même si finalement personne n'était passé par là) et le répétèrent tant et si bien et avec l'appui des autorités diplomatiques que la PJ dût s'incliner (car aussi l'enfant semblait introuvable).
Along with the largest police operation ever set up in Portugal to find a missing person, the weeks that followed Madeleine’s disappearance would also trigger massive international media interest.
Il faudrait expliquer à quoi sert le statut d'arguido (témoin assisté).
No formal charges were made, and on 9 September 2007 the couple and their other two children returned to their home in England, maintaining their commitment to find their missing daughter. After their departure from Portugal, news coverage focused on the possibility of arranging further interrogations as the police awaited the final reports from the UK’s Forensic Science Service.
Cette rumeur provient d'un seul organe de presse, de genre tabloïd, rien ne l'étaie dans les PJFiles.
However, a few sources reported in some Portuguese press that the forensic evidence may not have be enough to render a robust prosecution. On 19 March 2008, after the McCanns threatened the media with defamation lawsuits, they were given substantial monetary compensation and front-page public apologies by some newspapers owned by the Express Newspapers group. On 21 July 2008 the investigation was finally closed by the Ministério Público due to lack of evidence of any crime being committed by the three arguidos, Robert Murat, Gerald Patrick McCann and Kate Marie Healy.
Ce projet existait déjà depuis des années et existait déjà dans plusieurs pays européens, dont la France. Le Portugal allait l'adopter avant le Royaume-Uni. Un groupe de pression pour l'implanter au niveau européen a eu l'idée de faire intervenir les MC, d'ailleurs alors principaux suspects, ce qui n'est pas sans saveur, a fortiori parce que, si l'alerte européenne avait existé, elle n'aurait jamais été déclenchée pour MMC, puisque il n'y avait ni indice ni témoin d'enlèvement.
Mediated witness’ is the paradoxical phenomenon of virtual experience in which detail about a homicide is communicated in a way that engages us personally and emotionally on the side of those who are hurt. As witnesses to the drama, we are invited to focus our attention on and emotionally align ourselves with victims, co-victims and survivors of homicide.
It’s not new that blonde girls, when they disappear, are entitled to larger media coverage. But never with these dimensions . . . Is there a change in the relations between the audiences and the media? Are we before a new generation of reality shows that feed on real dramas? Is this the ultimate degree of voyeurism, or have we entered a new era in which the population and the media join hands in the search for justice? (Moura, 2007)
Let us have the strength and the courage and hope for best possible outcome for ourselves and Madeleine’, said the little girl’s father, Gerry McCann, after attend- ing the catholic ceremony. The mother expressed thanks for the support shown by the local community and asked that they keep praying for Madeleine. (Dâmaso et al., 2007)
Englober d'autres enfants disparus fut une idée beaucoup plus tardive.
of which Madeleine appears as the icon: ‘The McCanns want to spread the message of hope in the investigation and in their daughter’s return and have, from this day on, the blessing of the Pope’ (Marcelino, 2007).
And last night thousands of people displayed posters with Madeleine’s picture during the UEFA Cup final in Glasgow. These actions are a part of a wider strategy so that the media will keep the subject on top of the agenda. (Dias Felner, 2007)
La PJ n'a jamais dit autre chose.
In contrast, the Correio da Manhã’s use of rather expressive verbs (killed, hid, and simulated), as well an explicit suggestion of material evidence would more readily appeal to the audience’s emotional and moral reactions:
Kate and Gerry are formally suspects for the death and concealment of Madeleine’s body. The blood found in the couple’s car, rented 25 days after the girl went missing, changed the whole scenario. The Polícia Judiciária’s conviction is now that it was the parents who killed the child, hid the body and then simulated the abduction. (Laranjo et al., 2007)
The day before she was made arguido (a formal suspect) on 7 September 2007, the Correio da Manhã published quotes from local sources which implicitly acknowledged that Kate McCann could have been involved in the disappearance of Madeleine. Sources complained that they never saw her ‘shed a single tear’ and that she is ‘cynical and strange’ (Correio da Manhã, 8 September 2007). For the popular Correio da Manhã, the ‘guilt’, besides the McCanns’ alleged refusal to provide explanations for the supposed evidence, was based on Kate McCann’s behaviour. According to Correio da Manhã, quoting Polícia Judiciária’s sources, Kate could have been responsible for her daughter’s death (Dâmaso, Laranjo et al., 2007). In the period prior to the finding of bodily fluids, the McCanns were at most ‘guilty’ of negligence for leaving their children alone, but in this later period, the Correio da Manhã focused mainly on Kate. Since narratives tend to portray women as passive and maternal beings, belonging to a traditional imagery of femininity, the shift from the initial scenario of a mother’s loss to another acknowledging the possibility of filicide, elicits reactions of discomfort regarding the perverse paroxysm that human existence is capable of (Jewkes, 2004). Pondering the possibility that Kate might have been involved in Madeleine’s death the Correio da Manhã’s narrative searched for signs in her personality that would justify it, thus making it less disturbing for its readers who were given representations of a suffering mother.
The Low Copy Number technique has been made popular by the television series ‘CSI’ and it represents a step above lophoscopy (fingerprints) in determining iden- tity. (Godinho, 2007)
Il est douteux qu'on puisse parler de dispute. Les tabloïds britanniques, auprès desquels le Correio da Manha est un broadsheet, se sont déchaînés, à défaut de faits, contre la police portugaise, les institutions portugaises en général et la justice en particulier, enfin contre le peuple portugais lui-même. Personne n'a riposté, renvoyant à leur médiocrité ces détracteurs de pacotille.
Les auteurs ne pouvaient le savoir lorsqu'ils ont écrit cette communication, Madeleine's Fund a payé un demi-million de livres pour que l'affaire MC paraisse à la une des journaux britanniques pendant un an.
When it became necessary, the ‘media machine’ played the role of an attorney in the trial by media by issuing formal statements or leaking information labelled as being from ‘sources close to the McCanns’, aiming to refute or to deny prejudicial claims and allegations.
There were many other dimensions in this case that will probably become objects of sociological reflection. Nonetheless, the dynamics produced in this particular case stress the importance of a more open, transparent and efficient Portuguese justice system. The popular press’s reporting of the Madeleine McCann case may contribute to enhance the Portuguese citizen’s perception of a justice system which is vulnerable to pressure from powerful people. According to some national opinion polls (Santos et al., 1996; Cabral et al., 2003) evaluations of the justice system by Portuguese citizens frequently highlight concerns over corruption and the confidentiality and security of information found by criminal investigation (Costa, 2003), and low overall public confidence in political institutions and the criminal justice process when compared with other European nations (Contini and Mohr, 2007).
We believe the Madeleine McCann case may also produce impacts in the media–society–justice relations, which become visible within the distinction between quality and popular press. In spite of the absence of closure for the audiences, the Madeleine McCann case uncovered the need for reforms and change, particularly concerning Portuguese criminal investigation procedures and media relations. The Público developed some criticism, mostly in opinion articles, towards the unhealthy relations between investigative officers and the media. The lack of press offices working with the investigative authorities in Portugal is arguably a factor which fosters informal and anonymous news sourcing, thus raising speculation and mutual instrumentalization between justice and the media. On the other hand, the existing order was affirmed, mostly by the tabloid media which sustained a sort of moral appeal to the defence of the Portuguese investigative authorities and their theories, thereby asserting their competence and a sort of national and cultural identity.
They are the heralds of ‘positive journalism’ which is not interested in matters that may result from the manipulation of institutions, of the penal process and the material truth, as it happens in the Maddie case. They just . . . like to look at themselves in the mirror and say out loud: I am very good, I make very good journalism. Peace to his ashes! (Dâmaso, 2008)
As sections of the news media reinforce the notion that justice is slow, unreliable and inefficient, the need to appease the public’s emotional reactions and the fast pace of news production may encourage media challenges to due process and its legitimacy, giving course to parallel exercises of justice’s functions (Commaille, 1994). The media’s increasing assimilation of an adversarial posture which defies the boundaries of legality and due process (Greer et al., 2008) is likely to affect the public’s views and confidence on institutional justice. Insofar as the media in western modern societies are the privileged place for the symbolical representation of authority (Ericson, 1991) the justice system’s representations by the media might subvert the democratic principle of trial publicity as it is being shifted towards a media arena where personal rights, rules of evidence or the presumption of innocence are frequently undermined by commercial/ideological interests under the pretence of ‘truth finding’ and public interest. Nevertheless, at least according to our analysis, the selected ‘quality’ paper was able to take a step back and avoid the vertigo of mediatized public drama and trial by media to which many others fell prey. The Público’s coverage ultimately shaped a different debate focusing on media excesses, journalists’ role in society and the relationships between justice and the media. The Correio da Manhã, by contrast, reinforced the notion of an inefficient and bureaucratic criminal justice system, contrasting the moral superiority and competence of the investigative officers with the ‘manipulative conspiracies’ of the established powers, while simultaneously celebrating its own role at the vanguard of public debate, institutional accountability and popular justice.
(5) LCN – Low Copy Number – is a DNA profiling technique that is sensitive enough to render an analysis from a few cells (Gill, 2001). However the presentation of results cannot be simply given in terms of percentage, as a positive identification is based on a set of markers and further subjected to a ‘hierarchy of propositions’ in order provide reliable presentation of results (Gill, 2001: 203).