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McCanns v. Bennett - Contempt of Court (2)

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Tony Bennett arrives at the Royal Courts of Justice, 05 February 2013
Tony Bennett arrives at the Royal Courts of Justice, 05 February 2013

The contempt of Court proceedings against Tony Bennett eventually culminate in a 2 day hearing at the Royal Courts of Justice (Queens Bench Division) on Tuesday 5th and Wednesday 6th February.

 
McCann v Bennett 'commit-to-jail' case may (OR MAY NOT) be heard on Tues 29 and Weds 30 January, 02 January 2013
 
McCann v Bennett 'commit-to-jail' case may (OR MAY NOT) be heard on Tues 29 and Weds 30 January Jill Havern Forum

By Tony Bennett
Wed Jan 02, 2013 5:14 pm

On 31 December (Monday) I replied to a letter from Carter-Ruck in the Smethurst v Bennett case. Carter-Ruck had asked for my consent to adjourn the costs hearing listed for 11 January. The grounds were that their partner with conduct of the case would be absent at this time. They also asked for a list of dates to avoid between now and mid-March.

I consented, and in doing so gave them a short list of a few dates that would not be convenient. These dates included 29 and 30 January.

Today (Wednesday) I received a short and rather curt note from Carter-Ruck which informed me:
"The Queens' Bench Listing Office had at the end of November already listed the contempt hearing for one and a half days on 29 and 30 January 2013, having taken into account the dates to avoid which you previously provided to us and to the Court. The Listing Office has confirmed that a Notice of Hearing containing formal notification of these dates was sent to both parties on 4 December 2012. As such, we are surprised that you now suggest that the dates of 29 and 30 January are not convenient for you.

"If you now wish to adjourn this hearing it will be necessary for you to contact the Court formally to apply for an adjournment and to provide an explanation of your reasons for doing so. We must reserve our clients' rights to seek payment from you of their costs in dealing with any adjournment application".
Why has this situation arisen?

For two reasons.

First, no Notice of Hearing has reached me from the High Court Queens Bench Listing Office. On previous occasions, despite my constantly making sure they have the right address, they sent out a Notice of Hearing to the wrong address. Quite possibly this has happened again despite my best efforts. I have asked urgently for a copy of the Notice.

Second, it is customary for the prosecuting solicitors to ensure that the defendant is made aware of the dates of any hearings. On all previous occasions, Carter-Ruck have sent me a covering letter enclosing the Notice of Hearing. On this occasion, they failed to do so.

The current position

I have suggested that in view of the facts that (a) I did not get a Notice of Hearing from the High Court and (b) Carter-Ruck also failed to tell me about the hearing date, that Carter-Ruck re-arrange the two day hearing at the earliest convenient date for both parties. I am waiting to hear from them.

Therefore at this stage I simply can't say whether the hearing will be on 29 & 30 January or not.

How did Ian West, a part-time photographer from Norwich, also known as 'muratfan', know the date of the hearing over three weeks ago?

Those of you who follow these things will know that Ian West (known on the internet as 'muratfan') made a number of comments on the internet with words to this effect: "Bennett isn't telling people that his contempt of court hearing is on 29 & 30 January". I responded truthfully by saying that I had not yet been notified of any date. It is clear I think now beyond all doubt that this man, who for over four years has conducted a relentless internet campaign against me constantly repeating foul and indeed sometimes obscene lies about me, is in very close contact with the McCanns and the McCann Team, despite Carter-Ruck on a previous occasion claiming that they knew nothing about him.

As soon as I know the agreed date of the hearing, I shall let you all know. In the meantime, no date is agreed yet.

Tony

 
"Flagrant" breaches of your undertakings, say Carter-Ruck in their letter of 4 January in the case of McCanns v Bennett. Here's my reply sent to them today, 05 January 2013
 
"Flagrant" breaches of your undertakings, say Carter-Ruck in their letter of 4 January in the case of McCanns v Bennett. Here's my reply sent to them today Jill Havern Forum

By Tony Bennett
Sat Jan 05, 2013 at 2:51 pm

From: Tony Bennett

Tel: Mobile (07835) 716537

e-mail: ajsbennett@btinternet.com

Saturday 5 January 2012

Carter-Ruck
Solicitors
6 St. Andrew Street
LONDON
EC4A 3AE

Ref: Adam Tudor/Isabel Martorell, formerly Hudson AT/IH/SVL//13837.5

Dear Sirs

re: Your clients Dr Gerald and Dr Kate McCann: McCanns v Bennett

I am in receipt of your e-mailed letter yesterday (4 January).

In that letter, you and your clients take exception to two internet postings of mine, one on the Jill Havern forum ('Complete Mystery of Madeleine McCann') on 19 November 2012, and the other on the Australian 'BigFooty' discussion site on 19 December 2012.

You state in your letter that "These postings clearly breach the undertakings which you gave to the court on 25 November 2009 and which are the subject of the contempt application".

You give details of extracts from those two postings which, you say, "...undoubtedly allege that there are, at the very least, grounds to suspect our clients of causing the alleged death of their daughter and/or of lying about what happened and/or of seeking to cover up what they had done".

On page 2 of your letter, you describe these as "flagrant contempts of Court".

You add on page 3 that: "You have treated your obligations to the Court (in the form of your undertakings to the Court) with the utmost derision..."

You proceed to add that: "...your conduct has caused and continues to cause our clients very considerable distress and upset". I assume from that passage of your letter that your clients have read the two postings in question which you say have caused them 'very considerable' distress and upset.

In response, I will set out in full the two postings which you say have caused distress and upset to your clients, bolding the particular passages to which you and they object, and adding a number beside each significant statement, as I shall refer to them by number below:

The posting on Jill Havern's forum on 19 November 2012

A question is asked by a relatively new member of the forum, which now has 2,084 members, as follows:

"So I have another two questions for people here. Do you think your discussions and posts amount to harassment of the McCanns?

Is discuss(ing) evidence that suggest(s) they could have some involvement in Madeleine's disappearance close to libellous by inference or innuendo?"

My reply:
"By any standards, this is a unique case - like no other. I hesitate to pronounce about libel law, but as the law stands, whilst you must not defame people by saying 'untrue' things about them, there is also the right to 'fair comment'. The 'fair comment' defence, however, means that you must have a reasonable basis for making the comments that you do.

"Also, to suggest that someone is lying to the extent of covering up a death is indeed a serious accusation requiring a great deal of factual back-up.

"In this case (I'll be brief), we have:

* cadaver dogs who alerted to 11 locations where a body had been [I realise this is hotly disputed] (*1)

* circumstantial evidence (arguably, in spades) (*2)

* an entire police team which pulled in the couple for questioning and made them both suspects (*3)

* the investigation co-ordinator laying out in a 200-page book his basis for suggesting that Madeleine died in G5A and there has been a cover-up (*4)


* despite the McCanns spending tens or hundreds [of thousands] of pounds, the Portuguese Appeal and Supreme Courts (Oct 10 and March 11) unbanned the co-ordinator's book and said that pending the final libel trial, it was OK for the book to be sold, read and discussed.

"In those circumsances, should we write or say nothing? Should we dare to ask questions?"
The posting on the Australian 'BigFooty' forum, 19 December 2013

This post explains my continuing interest in the mystery of Madeleine McCann's disappearance, once described by your clients' chief public relations officer, Clarence Mitchell, as 'a complete mystery'. Once again, I shall bold the passages which you claim to be a 'flagrant' contempt of court:
I am replying to an invitation from 'grizzlym' here to contribute to this discussion. I have signed up and registered in my own name, as has been my habit ever since I joined an internet forum.

"This is my interest in the case. I have researched it for 5 years. I wrote a 64-page booklet on the case (published Dec 2008) which sold steadily in the UK until the McCanns succeeded in banning it by a restraining order. I have since published a 108-page second book on the case which consists entirely of relevant material from the official police files. Titled: 'The Madeleine McCann Case Files, Volume 1', the McCanns want to ban that book as well, but at present I am still allowed to sell it.

"Currently I face prison for continuing to publish detailed research on the case and articulating my doubts, as a result of 'Contempt of Court' proceedings brought against me in the High Court by the McCanns. In the UK, these are classed as civil, not criminal, proceedings.

"I will just say three things about the case.

"First, an entire team of (Portuguese) detectives decided there were grounds for making the McCanns official suspects in the disappearance of their daughter Madeleine. (*5) Their reasons for doing so were summarised in an interim report dated 10 September 2007; (*6) that report is included in my latest book on the case. (*7)

"Second, the senior officer in the case, Dr Goncalo Amaral, wrote a book on the case, titled: 'The Truth About A Lie'. The McCanns have brought libel proceedings against him; the final hearing of this long-running action will be heard in Portugal in January. From September 2009 to October 2010, the lower Portuguese courts banned his book as 'libellous'. But the Portuguese Appeal and Supreme Courts overturned this ban, awarding costs against the McCanns. His book is freely on sale throughout Europe, having been translated into 9 European languages already. It has sold >500,000 copies.

"Third, two British cadaver dogs (springer spaniels), one trained to alert to blood and one trained to alert to the past presence of a human corpse, detected cadaver odour at 11 places associated with the McCanns: (*8) 4 places in their apartment, on 3 items of clothing belonging to them, at 3 places in their hired car and on a soft toy belonging to Madeleine. (*9) The dogs alerted to nowhere else in the village (Praia da Luz) where the family was staying. (*10) The McCanns have struggled to explain these findings. (*11) The dog handler, Martin Grime, is a recognised world expert on the handling of sniffer dogs (*12) and now works full-time for the FBI in the US (*13).

"Given my current legal situation, I had better not say any more right now, but I shall be pleased, if I can, to answer factual questions about the case.

"Finally, I have never suggested that the McCanns deliberately killed Madeleine".
Your client's statement about free speech on oath to the Leveson enquiry on press standards, November 2011

Your clients both gave evidence to the Leveson enquiry. They were made 'core participants' for the Leveson enquiry because Lord Leveson considered that they had been appallingly treated by the press. This gave them the benefit of being able to have free legal advice and representation at the taxpayer's expense at the Leveson enquiry and I have no doubt that they took expert legal advice, possibly from yourselves, possibly from other lawyers.

Your clients were elevated within the enquiry to the position where Lord Leveson and even the Prime Minister of the country, David Cameron, felt able to say that Lord Leveson's recommendations 'must satisfy the Dowlers and the McCanns'. Your clients and their evidence were prominently featured by the media during the Leveson enquiry and they were much photographed and in evidence in the print and visual media on the day Lord Leveson announced his findings and recommendations and on the day after. All of this followed the Prime Minister bowing to pressure from the Chief Executive Officer of News International, Rebekah Brooks, for the government to set up a review into Madeleine's disappearance by Scotland Yard without limit of time, and costing an estimated £2 million a year, at your clients' express request. Asked by Lord Leveson if she had 'threatened' the Prime Minister into setting up this review, she said, in terms: "I would use the word 'persuaded', not 'threatened'."

With your clients thus at the very centre of concerns about the reporting of any aspect of the disappearance of Madeleine McCann, it was therefore of huge significance to hear what your client Dr Gerald McCann would state on oath to the Leveson enquiry on the subject.

The following is taken from the transcript of the Leveson enquiry on 23 November 2011, the evidence of Dr Gerald McCann, page 72 of that afternoon's transcript. This evidence was given eight days before you served me with a box of documents seeking to commit me to prison for things that I had written about Madeleine's disappearance:

Dr Gerald McCann in reply to Lord Leveson:

"Thank you, sir. I would like to emphasise that I strongly believe in freedom of speech, but where you have people who are repeatedly carrying out inaccuracies and have been shown to do so, then they should be held to account. That is the issue. I don't have a problem with somebody purporting a theory, writing fiction, suggestions, but clearly we've got to a stage where substandard reporting and sources, unnamed, made-up, non-verifiable, are a daily occurrence".

In the above passage, said on oath by a person who was legally represented, Dr McCann made these seven points:

1. He is not only a believer in free speech, but 'a strong' believer in free speech

2. People shown to have been 'repeatedly carrying out inaccuracies' should be 'held to account' - that is the main issue for him

3. He has no problem with people 'purporting' [by which I think he meant 'propounding'] theories

4. He has no problem with people 'writing fiction'

5. He has no problem with people 'writing [making] suggestions'

6. He objects to 'substandard reporting'

7. He objects to people using 'unnamed, made-up, non-verifiable' sources.

It is clear from what your client said on oath that his key objection is to 'inaccuracies'. He objects to what purports to be fact, but is derived from 'unnamed, made-up, non-verifiable' sources.

If you examine the correspondence between yourselves and me over the past three years I can never recollect one occasion on which you have pulled me up over an inaccurate statement. When I published my book, '60 Reasons', on 7 December 2008, I wrote to your client, to Clarence Mitchell and to yourselves, offering to correct any statement I made which could be demonstrated to be factually incorrect. I have never been challenged by your clients on any factual statement that I have made.

Your client told the Leveson enquiry that he did not object to people propounding theories or making suggestions. Yet, contrary to his statements on oath to Lord Leveson, he seeks to have me imprisoned, fined or have my assets seized for publishing facts (which he has never challenged) and for articulating opinions based on those facts.

Quite aside from your client's stated views on freedom of speech and being able to propound theories, it is a matter of law that the Parliament and courts of this country expressly allow 'fair comment' (or what is I think now called the defence of 'honest comment' after Spiller v Joseph) if a person's honest opinion has a reasonable basis in fact.

Your objections to the two internet postings of 19 November and 19 December 2012

Against that background, I turn now to the passages above which you assert constitute a 'flagrant breach' of my Court undertakings.

I was careful in both internet postings to deal only in factual matters. I do not think I said anything inaccurate. So far as I can see, the two bolded passages to which your clients and you take exception are factual issues that are not in dispute. Let me refer to all 13 of them:

1. I say that the cadaver dogs brought to Praia da Luz alerted to 11 locations where there had been a body. I expressly add that this is hotly disputed (by your clients). I am not sure how there can be any objection to that statement

2. I refer to circumstantial evidence, viz. that your clients have not told the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth about what really happened to Madeleine. That such circumstantial evidence exists, e.g. in the form of contradictions and changes of story, surely cannot be denied. It is set out in detail for example in the interim report of Tavares de Almeida dated 10 September 2007 and of course in Dr Goncalo Amaral's book on the case, 'The Truth of the Lie', which has been unbanned now for 2¼ years after your clients lost two appeals against its being unbanned

3. There is no dispute that your clients were pulled in for questioning and made suspects

4. You cannot dispute factually what I say about Dr Amaral's book. His book states, does it not (as I wrote) "his basis for suggesting that Madeleine died in G5A and there has been a cover-up"?

5. Again, you cannot dispute that an entire team of detectives were responsible for making your clients suspects

6. My reference to Tavares de Almeida's report of 10 September 2007 is accurate

7. I do include his report in my latest book on the case

8. I refer also to point (1) above. It cannot be denied that Martin Grime took two dogs to Praia da Luz, one of them Eddie, trained to alert to the odour emitted from human cadavers and the other, Keela, to blood. He says explicitly that: "The dogs are deployed as search assets to secure evidence and locate human remains or human blood". The final report of the Attorney-General, dated July 2008, which your clients themselves exhibit in Exhibit 'IJH10' of Isabel Hudson, states expressly (page 4628, 'IJH10', page 19) that "The tracker dog 'Eddie' (detects cadaver odour) 'marked'..." [there is then a list of 13 locations where the two dogs alerted to either cadaver odour or blood]. The underlining of 'detects cadaver odour' is in the original

9. These are the locations given, inter alia, by Martin Grime himself in his report, by Tavares de Almedia in his interim report, and by the Attorney-General in his final report

10. The fact that Martin Grime's dogs did not alert to cadaver scent anywhere else in Praia da Luz is a matter of record in both Martin Grime's reports and in the Portuguese police reports

11. My statement that "The McCanns have struggled to explain these findings" is a simple factual statement which surely cannot be disputed. These are all factual matters that are well evidenced and cannot now be disputed:

(a) the initial reaction of your clients, their extended family and their advisers was to accept the verdicts of the two dogs (i.e. that they had alerted to human cadaver odour and blood) and to search for possible explanations, such as Dr Kate McCann picking up cadaver scent from corpses on which she had been certifying the cause of death, the dogs getting 'confused' with the smell of dirty nappies or 'rotting meat', and Madeleine having a nosebleed etc.

(b) your clients then switched to doing everything possible to rubbish the dogs' alerts as simply 'wrong'

(c) as you will know, they invoked the case of Eugene Zapata in the U.S., where a judge had disallowed any evidence from a cadaver dog handler because of the reported unreliability of the dogs' alerts. Your client even refers to the Zapata case again on page 268 of the hardback version of her book 'madeleine'. This is surely a deliberate misrepresentation to the public, as both you and your clients are no doubt fully aware that Eugene Zapata, in making a full and frank confession to murdering his wife, stated that he had moved her body to the precise spots to which the dog had alerted

(d) your client Dr Gerald McCann, despite the rapidly increasing use of sniffer dogs and their obvious reliability in a whole range of fields including the detection of various explosives, drugs and even medical conditions, continues to assert, as he did in the interview he gave to Sandra Felgueiras on Portuguese TV on 5 November 2009, that: "I can tell you that we have also looked at evidence about cadaver dogs and they are incredibly unreliable", and

(e) in her book, 'madeleine', pages 249 and 250, Dr Kate McCann resorts to what is in effect an attack on the professional integrity and competence of dog trainer Martin Grime. She tries to claim, in summary, that all the 11 separate alerts that Eddie made to the scent of a human corpse (or 'cadaver scent contaminant') were wrong, because the dog was not alerting to cadaver odour at all, but simply responding to what she says were 'the conscious or unconscious signals of the handler' (bottom of page 250.

Against those facts, I hardly think that the Court would disagree with my statement that "The McCanns have struggled to explain the dogs' findings".

12. The fact that Martin Grime's dogs have been used in at least four countries and that he is used an expert adviser and trainer on sniffer dogs' alerts by the F.B.I. is surely enough for my statement that he is 'a recognised world expert' to be accepted

13. It is my understanding that Martin Grime does now in effect work full-time for the F.B.I., albeit as I understand it through his own company. Is this disputed?

In summary, therefore, the statements I have made which you say have caused your clients a great deal of distress and upset are essentially factual statements not open to serious dispute. Neither the Court nor your clients can surely object to me, or indeed anyone else, publishing factual material relating to Madeleine's disappearance.

Where it is possible to argue that any of the above 13 statements of mine stray from being merely factual material into comment or opinion, then your client is firmly on the record as stating that he is a strong believer in freedom of speech, only objects to 'inaccuracies', and upholds the right of people to 'propound theories'.

There seems to be an irreconcilable conflict between the statements your client made on oath in response to Lord Leveson and his action just 8 days later seeking to commit me to prison for daring to offer my fact-based comments and opinions on the case.

In conclusion, in your letter you claim that I have alleged that your clients "caused the alleged death of their daughter". Please note the following statement which I posted, as you know, on the BigFooty forum on 19 December: "Finally, I have never suggested that the McCanns deliberately killed Madeleine". Please do not suggest to the Court or to anyone else that I have suggested that your clients caused Madeleine's alleged death unless you have solid evidence with which to back up that claim.

Yours sincerely


Tony Bennett

 
New court date for McCanns v Bennett, 1.5 days EITHER 4 & 5 February OR 5 & 6 February, 07 January 2013 (Update: 08 January 2013)
 
New court date for McCanns v Bennett, 1.5 days EITHER 4 & 5 February OR 5 & 6 February Jill Havern Forum

By Tony Bennett
Mon Jan 07, 2013 at 9:15 pm

There have been urgent communications between the High Court and Carter-Ruck both on Friday and today.

It is certain that Carter-Ruck did not let me know the proposed date of the hearing. It looks likely that the High Court either did not do so, or made a mistake with my address.

Be that as it may, the case will now be listed for 1.5 days:

EITHER on 4th and 5th February

OR 5th and 6th February.

I should be able to let you you know one way or another by the close of play tomorrow.

About the court case:

Can I just make one or two matters clear about the case.

This hearing is ONLY about WHETHER I have been guilty of contempt of court by breaching any of the 16 undertakings I gave to the High Court on 25 November 2009, and IF SO, how I should be punished for any such contempt.

It is NOT a libel trial as such.

It will NOT determine my application to revoke or vary the three 'free speech' undertakings I gave, i.e. not to suggest that the McCanns have done certain things.

If you read Mr Justice Tugendhat's judgment carefully, he DOES say that this hearing next month should consider whether there should now be a FULL LIBEL TRIAL to follow. If YES, then that libel trial would consider any and all of the following:

1. Whether, in the '60 Reasons' booklet, or in the '10 Reasons' leaflet, or elsewhere, I committed any libel at all against the McCanns in the first place

2. Whether since then (i.e. since the undertakings were given) I have committed any further libels, and

3. Whether or not I should be released from one or more of the undertakings I gave which essentially impacted on my freedom of speech (Article 10 European Convention on Human Rights).

The current position of the two parties is as follows:

The McCanns say that I am guilty of repeated and serious breaches of a solemn court undertaking not to libel them, and should be punished accordingly. In all fairness I would remind everyone that Isabel Martorell (formerly Hudson), partner of Carter-Ruck, did say in her original Affidavit to the Court that though the McCanns had applied for me to be sent to prison, because they said they had 'no option', they would be reluctant to see me actually jailed.

The McCanns, though having initiated a formal LIBEL CLAIM against in November 2009, and then asked for the proceedings to be STAYED (= adjourned), now OPPOSE even the formal hearing of my request for three of the undertakings to be varied. Their position appears to be (I hope I am not being unfair to them): "You voluntarily gave these solemn undertakings, you are bound by them FOR LIFE, whatever happens".

Mr Justice Tugendhat said that the appropriate forum to hear my counter-application would be to LIFT THE STAY on the libel proceedings - and THEN begin a formal, full libel trial (which I reluctantly concede I would have to face, and for certain without the benefit of Legal Aid, as Legal Aid is NEVER EVER awarded to defend a libel claim). I need the STAY to be lifted, so that I can (A) run my defence of 'fair or honest' comment to the original allegation of libel and (B) apply for my undertakings to be revoked or varied.

I have applied for the 'stay' on the libel proceedings to be lifted SO THAT I can then make my case for the three undertakings to be revoked.

The McCanns strongly oppose this.



Update:

Re: COURT DATE NOW CONFIRMED: Tues 5th and Weds 6th February 2013 Jill Havern Forum

By Tony Bennett
Tue Jan 08, 2013 at 10:54 am

The Depuy Court Manager in the High Court Queen's Bench Division Listing Office, Mr James Tipp, has just informed me that the hearing of McCanns v Bennett (case HQ 09 D 05196) is now listed for:

TUESDAY 5 FEBRUARY 2013 and

WEDNESDAY 6 FEBRUARY 2013

 
Letter 25 Jan 2013 to Carter-Ruck and the Court about THAT proposed settlement with Dr Amaral: is this now an 'Abuse of Process'?, 25 January 2013
 
Letter 25 Jan 2013 to Carter-Ruck and the Court about THAT proposed settlement with Dr Amaral: is this now an 'Abuse of Process'? Jill Havern Forum

By Tony Bennett
Fri Jan 25, 2013 at 8:36 pm

Below is a letter sent today to Carter-Ruck and to the High Court regarding the implications of the McCanns suddenly withdrawing from the final trial of their action against Dr Goncalo Amaral and, instead, seeiking a settlement with him.

COURT DETAILS 5th & 6th FEBRUARY

The trial is likley (but not absolutely certain) to be before Mr Justice Tugendhat, who adjudicated at a Case Management hearing in February, and issued a ruling in the case on 24 October 2012.

It is likely (but not absolutely certain) to start at 10.30am on Tuesday 5 February and is scheduled to last 1.5 days.

I have to check with the Queen's Bench Listing Clerks after 2pm on Monday 4 February to find out which court the hearing is in, and for confirmation of the name of the judge.

For anyone thinking of attending part or all of the trial:

* The hearing is at the Royal Court of Justice, The Strand

* To find out where the case is to be heard, report to reception (just after you've cleared security) or check the noticeboards just behind reception

* The case is in open court. Anyone can attend

* Mobile 'phones, blackberries, smartphones and laptops are all ALLOWED within the Court precincts. In the Court room itself, mobile 'phones and anything esle with a ringtone must be switched off. No audio or visual recording may be made of the proceedings. Laptops are normally allowed and may be used in Court although the judge has discretion to refuse that depending on the circumstances

* Lunch break is normally 1pm to 2pm, courts normally rise at 4.30pm

* There are various cafes around. I hope to meet with known supporters for breakfast at around 9am on the first day of the trial, for more details of the vensue please contact me by e-mail or 'phone below.

FINALLY, at the last hearing, the eight people who kindly came to support me behaved impeccably, which is as it should be. The only person who misbehaved in Court was McCann-supporter Justine Spencer who was reprimanded by Mr Justice Tugendhat for using her rmobile 'phone. The rule is: keep quiet, no talking or whispering, no tut-tutting or other audible gasps or sounds


TONY to CARTER-RUCK 25 January 2013

This letter was sent earlier today:


From: Tony Bennett
Tel: 07835 716537
e-mail: ajsbennett@btinternet.com

Mr Adam Tudor,
for Carter-Ruck,
Solicitors
6 St. Andrew Street
LONDON
EC4A 3AE

Your ref: Adam Tudor/Isabel Martorell, formerly Hudson
AT/IH/SVL/HMP/13837.5
or the attention of Adam Tudor & Isobel Martorell
At adam.tudor@carter-ruck.com

Copied to:
Mr James Tipp
Deputy Court Manager
Queen's Bench Division Listing Office
Strand
LONDON
WC2A 2LL

Claim No HQ 09 D 05196 Gerry McCann & Kate McCann v Tony Bennett
For the attention of Mr Green or Mr James Tipp

At: qbjudgeslistingoffice


Dear Mr Tudor

re: McCanns v Bennett: Committal Proceedings - YOUR CLIENTS' LETTER TO SNR SANTOS E OLIVEIRA, SOLICITOR FOR DR GONCALO AMARAL, early January 2013, offering Dr Amaral a settlement and asking for an adjournment

On this occasion, and for the first time in a four-year history of correspondence between your firm and myself, I am writing to you personally, on behalf of your firm, because of the significance of the issue concerned.

You are a Senior Partner of Carter-Ruck and have many times been publicly associated with your clients Dr Gerald and Dr Kate McCann, not least when you attended the DCMS Select Committee on press freedom and standards in March 2009, and more recently in the book, 'madeleine', written by Dr Kate McCann. On page 289 of her book, she paid personal tribute to you, explaining that you and your colleague Ms Martorell "continue to do a vast amount of work for us, without payment, most of it quietly behind the scenes". She praises you there for your "invaluable advice", whilst on page 382 she pays further tribute to you as someone who "has laboured faithfully out of the goodness of his heart...regardless of the day or the hour". She adds how much she has appreciated your "priceless expertise and commitment". These are rare words of tribute from a client to her lawyer.

The matter I wish to raise with you as a matter of some urgency arises from your clients' conduct in withdrawing, at the last minute, from pursuing their libel claim at the final trial of their action against Dr Goncalo Amaral, which was due to have started in the Lisbon Civil Court yesterday.

After your clients have been pursuing him in the Portuguese civil courts for nearly four years, it has become clear in the past few days that your clients have requested a six-month adjournment of the case, in order to reach an out-of-court 'settlement' with Dr Amaral. This raises, in my judgment, significant questions in relation to their conduct, both against him - and now, in 11 days' time, in continuing to press the High Court to impose a term of imprisonment on me for alleged contempt of court.

These are questions also for yourself, as your firm and you personally have been advising them throughout. No doubt your firm and Ms Isabel Duarte, your clients' Portuguese lawyer, have been in very close contact with each other throughout the four years of your clients' claim against Dr Amaral.

The history of the McCanns' claim against Dr Goncalo Amaral

This has been the subject of much correspondence between us, but in the current situation I will briefly set out the key events:

• In July 2008, Dr Amaral published a book, the English title of which was 'The Truth About A Lie'. In summary, the book gives a history of the investigation into Madeleine McCann's reported disappearance, under his leadership, for the five months May to October 2007. The subsequent release on DVDs by the Portuguese Police of the vast majority of the huge amount of documentation in the case backed up the assertions of fact he made in his book. He reached three key main conclusions, and explains in the book precisely why:

a) That Madeleine McCann died in your clients' holiday apartment in Praia da Luz

b) That your clients lied about what had happened to Madeleine, and

c) That your clients covered up her death and, with or without the help of others, hid her body.

Your clients maintain, as stated in one of your letters to me, that 'there is not one scintilla of credible evidence' to support his conclusions. As you know, many people disagree, contending that there is credible evidence to support Dr Goncalo Amaral's claims. I am one of them, and that is why your clients are applying to the Court on 5 & 6 February to impose a term of imprisonment on me.

I consider that my publications do not go beyond Dr Amaral's hypothesis as set out briefly above. For example, Dr Amaral suggests, in the absence of compelling evidence to the contrary, that it is likely that Madeleine died as the result of an accident, possibly when your clients were not present with her. The same conclusion was set out, as you know, in the interim report of Inspector Tavares de Almeida. As you know from your firm's extensive perusal of my many lengthy articles and internet postings, I have never ventured beyond Dr Amaral's own main conclusions on what really happened to your clients' daughter.

• Your clients threatened at the time to sue Dr Amaral for libel, claiming the book was untrue, extremely hurtful and would 'harm the search for Madeleine'. However, they did not do so until either June or July 2009, around one year later. By that time, Dr Amaral's book had sold some 200,000 copies, an hour-long documentary based on his book had been seen by 2 million Portuguese people, and several editions of his book in different European languages were in print or being prepared.

• Your clients claimed 1.2 million euros damages (£1 million) against Dr Amaral, his publishers and the TV company which showed his documentary. They both claimed to have suffered emotionally and physically in a number of ways, adding that they were 'irreparably damaged'.

• In September 2009, your clients obtained a draconian order against Dr Amaral, banning his book, and requiring him and his publishers to return all copies of it and physically hand them over to the custody of your clients' Portuguese lawyer, Isabel Duarte. I believe some sort of financial order was also obtained against his assets.

• After four days of hearings in January and February 2010, the Lisbon High Court dismissed an appeal by Dr Amaral against the order made in September 2010.

• In October 2010, the Portuguese Appeal Court reversed that decision. It determined that in considering the delicate balance between freedom of speech and the right to preservation of one's reputation, Dr Amaral's right to free speech under Article 10 of the European Convention on Human Rights had been violated. They ordered the immediate unbanning of his book. They also ordered your clients to pay Dr Amaral’s costs.

• Your clients appealed this decision to the Portuguese Supreme Court. They lost again, in March 2011. The court dismissed their appeal. Dr Amaral’s book remained unbanned. As I understand it, your clients were again required to pay his reasonable costs associated with the hearing.

• Your clients nevertheless continued with their claim that Dr Amaral's book libelled them, continued to seek the banning of his book, and continued to seek 1.2 million euros damages. The final trial was scheduled to begin yesterday, 24 January. Both sides continued to prepare for this 'final showdown'.

The letter sent by your clients' Portuguese lawyer to Dr Amaral's lawyer and the Portuguese Civil Court earlier this month

Just over a week ago, rumours circulated that your clients had asked the Court and Dr Amaral's lawyer for an adjournment so that a settlement could be reached. In the Affidavit of your colleague Isabel Martorell sworn and served on me today (paragraph 13), she states the following:

"...I understand that the trial, which had been due to take place in January 2013, has been postponed at the request of the Claimants' lawyer, to allow the parties to explore whether a settlement may be reached which gives the Claimants sufficient vindication and protection in the future".

However, information I have now received this week, confirmed in writing, from a source who has been very close to Dr Amaral for many years, and to his solicitor, Snr Santos e Oliveira, gives a fuller - and more concerning - picture.

The source spoke personally to Snr Santos e Oliveira earlier this week. He confirmed that your clients' Portuguese lawyer wrote to him and to the Civil Court, on or about 8 January, with these proposals:

1. To adjourn the trial for 6 months

2. To seek a settlement with Dr Amaral.

I am informed that after taking Dr Amaral's instructions, Snr Santos e Oliveira agreed. That letter is significant in relation to the parallel proceedings against me. I believe that this letter is relevant to your clients' attempt to jail me for contempt and, as requested in a letter written by hand at your offices today, I should be grateful if you could forward me a copy of it without delay by return. If I do not receive a copy, I shall ask the judge if it ought to be produced.

The current position vis-à-vis Dr Amaral and myself

For five years your clients and their spokesman have regularly denigrated the Portuguese police and of course Dr Amaral in particular. Using their legal might, they have pursued Dr Amaral for four years, no doubt costing themselves and Dr Amaral tens if not hundreds of thousands of pounds in the process. Nor is there any doubt that the legal onslaught on him has been emotionally, as well as financially, very costly.

In addition, your clients have pursued Dr Amaral in the criminal courts, arranging via Metodo 3 for lawyer Marcos Aragao Correia to represent Ms Leonor Cipriano, the convicted murderess of her own child, 8-year-old Joana, in a claim of alleged torture against him and four other detectives.

For the past 2 years and 3 months, Dr Amaral’s book has been unbanned, based on the Portuguese Courts' interpretation of Article 10 of the European Convention on Human Rights.

Your clients have maintained that Dr Amaral is a wicked man who has libelled them and done untold damage to themselves and the search for Madeleine. They have been claiming £1 million damages from him and his publishers.

Yet now, just two weeks away from the beginning of the final trial of the action, as Snr Santos e Oliveira and Dr Amaral were completing their extensive preparations for that trial, it now seems clear that your clients are unwilling or unable to prosecute their claim and are suing for peace.

A claimant seeking to settle a case is most unusual - and I suggest, with respect, that the prospects for your clients achieving any of their goals in this very expensive litigation have as a result, without doubt, receded significantly.

The prospect of your clients succeeding in banning Dr Amaral's book must surely now be rated as negligible. As you know, in the Court Documents submitted in this action, I have pointed out that Dr Amaral's book has been:

* read by many in Portugal, with over 200,000 copies sold,

* has been translated into 9 European languages,

* is available to read in over 30 countries, and

* has been translated into English (albeit without the publisher's consent) and is available at several places on the internet (as you and your clients must be aware), and

* has been allowed by the top two courts in Portugal to go back on sale, consistent with Article 10 of the European Convention on Human Rights.

The primary facts and arguments on which I rely for all my publications about the reported disappearance of Madeleine McCann are essentially derived from Dr Amaral's 220-page book, 'The Truth About A Lie'. His conclusions (as set out above) can be freely read and discussed in many countries and in England. Your clients have been powerless to stop its widespread distribution, yet you are pursuing one individual, myself, for doing no more than what thousands of others are also doing, namely, repeating Dr Amaral's central three allegations.

Your clients have tried to sue him for libel, but have failed after 4 years of litigation to do so, and their prospects of succeeding look increasingly remote.

Your clients have tried to ban Dr Amaral's book (albeit that they left it a year before suing him), and failed - but not only failed, they have incurred large costs in doing so.

Many people doubt your clients' version of what happened to Madeleine and openly say so on a regular basis. As is clear from the Exhibits in my Affidavits, books have been written by professionals in their field, such as criminologists, police officers and psychologists, echoing the views of Dr Amaral in one form or another. The list of websites, forums, blogs and videos, including those on the popular video-sharing website, YouTube (as per my Affidavit), which openly doubt your clients' account of what happened to Madeleine is large, and growing all the time. Your clients are powerless to stop this amount of open dissent. You and your fellow-lawyers at Carter-Ruck must know this as well. Yet your firm persists in trying to convict me of contempt of court, knowing that if they succeed, quite apart from any term of imprisonment, payment of even a significant proportion of your costs to date will inevitably involve personal bankruptcy.

Your recorded costs in pursuing the committal application against me were already 'well over £120,000' by 19 April, and may well be reaching £200,000 by now.

I invite you to consider that given the circumstances outlined above, a judge might well consider that to continue to prosecute me for contempt, against the background I have set out above, when only a few days ago your clients have withdrawn from the final libel trial against the author of what your clients maintain is the source the original libels, might be considered an abuse of process. That is why I believe the Court should see the letter sent on or about 8 January 2013 to the Court and to Snr Santos e Oliveira.

Yours sincerely


Tony Bennett

 
Letter 25 Jan 2013 to Carter-Ruck and the Court about THAT proposed settlement with Dr Amaral: is this now an 'Abuse of Process'? (further comment), 27 January 2013
 
Letter 25 Jan 2013 to Carter-Ruck and the Court about THAT proposed settlement with Dr Amaral: is this now an 'Abuse of Process'? (further comment) Jill Havern Forum

By Tony Bennett
Sun Jan 27, 2013 at 12:18 am

I have quoted from an AFFIDAVIT of Isabel Martorell, NOT from a letter.

[The letter in Portugal was sent by Isobel Duarte on or about 8 January 2013].

What I have quoted from the Affidavit is verbatim and leaves nothing important out regarding the propsed settlement.

* It is ADMITTED by Carter-Ruck that the McCanns, via Isabel Duarte, wrote to Dr Amaral and to the Lisbon Civil Court, two weeks ahead of the final trial, asking for an adjournment

* It is CLAIMED by Carter-Ruck that this is to enable the parties to try to reach a settlement

* It is ASSERTED by Carter-Ruck that the McCanns seek a settlement which "gives the [McCanns] sufficent vindication and protection in the future".

That's it.

No more than that.

EXCEPT THAT IT REMAINS TO BE SEEN whether or not, having themselves having sought an adjournment, the McCanns can now extract a settlement which gives the McCanns 'sufficient vindication and protection'.

The McCanns WERE asking for COMPLETE vindication, and 1,200,000 euros (I make that £1,010,760 at the current rate of exchange - see NOTE).

They have changed their position.

Thet are now merely seeking SUFFICIENT vindication.

I am not sure how they could be 'protected' from Dr Amaral's facts and his hypothesis, given that Amaral's book has been back on sale in Portugal for 2 years and 3 months, has been translated into nine European languages, is on sale in 32 countries, and is freely available in an English translation on the internet.

Unless, that is, Dr Amaral agrees that:

* his book be banned again

* his book be no longer sold in any of the 32 countries where it is now being sold, and

* he uses his best endeavours to remove all English translations of his book from the internet.


NOTE: Every time the value of the euro goes up against the pound by one-hundredth of a cent, the value of the McCanns' claim against Dr Amaral goes up by £120. Or down by £120 for every one-hundredth of a cent the euro falls against the pound.

The McCanns have done really well in the past few months because the euro has recovered from a low point of 77.82 euros to the pound to 84.23 euros to the pound.

If...

1. the case does go to trial, and

If...

2. the McCanns win, and

If...

3. the Court agrees that the McCanns are entitled to what they claim, viz. 1,200,000 euros damages, THEN the McCanns will have gained a handsome £76,920 during the past few months, due to the euro's recovery.

That could give the Find Madeleine Fund a much-needed boost.

 
McCanns v. Bennett: News update (extracts), 29 January 2013
 

McCanns v. Bennett: News update (extracts) Jill Havern Forum

By Tony Bennett
Tue Jan 29, 2013 at 8:22 pm

I have been quietly beavering away today preparing my notes for the trial and for my cross-examination of Isabel Martorell and Mike Gunnill, which will probably take place on Tuesday.

Carter-Ruck are similarly beavering away. An hour-and-a-half ago a courier, da Silva by name, knocked at my door with another two bundles for the hearing: one, a fat bundle with about 250 pages of case law they are throwing at me at the last minute, and another one with their 'Skeleton Argument' of their legal submission to the Court.

My equivalent went in to the Court on Friday, in good time.



By Tony Bennett
Tue Jan 29, 2013 at 9:41 pm


News Update

I have just finished reading the McCanns' lawyers' 'Skeleton Argument', which runs to 15 pages.

Up until now, I thought I was just up against:

Isabel Martorell, Partner of Carter-Ruck and her support staff, including an Assistant Solicitor

PLUS

Adam Tudor, Senior Partner of Carter-Ruck

PLUS

Jacob Dean, barister.

Apparently these already mighty legal resources are not considered strong enough to overwhelm me.

So, at the hearing on Tuesday 5 February, Jacob Dean will merely be the Junior barrister in the proceedings.

The McCanns have also appointed a Senior barrister to lead their case to imprison me...

Adrienne Page, Queens Counsel



Adrienne Page QC | 5RB earlyresolution.co.uk

Adrienne Page QC

Adrienne is joint head of chambers and a leading defamation and media law silk. She acts for both claimants and defendants in high-profile and heavyweight litigation. A number of her cases have had a medical angle, including the recent cases of Singh v BCA and Taranissi. In recent years she has been involved in many of the leading cases that have helped to shape the 'offer of amends' procedure.

 
Carter-Ruck's costs: £288,503 for fighting McCanns v Bennett, 31 January 2013
 
Carter-Rucks's costs: £288,503 for fighting McCanns v Bennett Jill Havern Forum

By Tony Bennett
Thu Jan 31, 2013 at 4:13 pm

Today Carter-Ruck have informed me of their total costs in the case of McCanns v Bennett, which they expect to claim from me if they win on Wednesday, i.e. prove me guilty of contempt of court. They are as follows:

1. Solicitors' fees of Carter-Ruck to date:

£181,245

2. Disbursements: Court fees, process servers & couriers:

£1,484

3. Fees of Jacob Dean, barrister, for all hearings to date and advice:

£25,475

4. Fees of Adrienne Page Q.C., for advice and a 2-day hearing:

£32,250

5. VAT on all the above

£48,049

GRAND TOTAL:

£288,503


So much for this sentence on pages 289-290 of 'madeleine', by Dr Kate McCann:

"Adam Tudor and his colleague Isabel Hudson continue to do a vast amount of work for us, without payment, most of it quietly, behind the scenes"

 
Carter-Ruck explain why they've appointed Adrienne Page Q.C. to beef up their legal firepower, 01 February 2013
 

Carter-Ruck explain why they've appointed Adrienne Page Q.C. to beef up their legal firepower Jill Havern Forum

By Tony Bennett
Fri Feb 01, 2013 at 11:44 am


Today I've received a further letter from Carter-Ruck, dated yesterday, which explains why the McCanns are spending a further £32,000 hiring Adrienne Page Q.C. to try to prove that I am in contempt of court.

They say, and I quote verbatim:
"Your self-represented status means that the Court is likely to require significant assistance from Counsel. Becaue of the serious consequences which the matter in issue may have for you, and for our clients, it is appropriate that such assistance is given at a senior level. There is no intention to create an inequality of arms, nor to obtain any unfair advantage. Indeed, the position is precisely the opposite. We consider that the Hearing is likely to be more efficiently and fairly conducted, to all parties, if Leading Counsel is present"


Official Find Madeleine Campaign Facebook

"Our prime purpose in this life is to help others. And if you can't help them, at least don't hurt them." - Dalai Lama

Posted by Official Find Madeleine Campaign
Thursday, 31 January 2013 at 08:13

"Our prime purpose in this life is to help others. And if you can't help them, at least don't hurt them."

- Dalai Lama

 
The talks in Portugal in McCanns v Amaral - Carter-Ruck's version of events, 01 February 2013
 
The talks in Portugal in McCanns v Amaral - Carter-Ruck's version of events Jill Havern Forum

By Tony Bennett
Fri Feb 01, 2013 at 10:06 pm

For information, and without comment, here are the last four paragraphs of a letter e-mailed me today from Carter-Ruck:
QUOTE

Finally, we confirm that we have contacted our clients' Portuguese lawyers Isabel Duarte & Associados concerning your suggestion that they "wrote to Mr Amaral's lawyers and to the Civil Cout, on or about 8 January, with proposals (1) to adjourn the trial for 6 months and (2) to seek a settlement with Dr Amaral".

While Isabel Duarte & Associados have not confirmed the existence of any communications in the terms which you suggested, they have confirmed that any communications passing between themselves and Mr Amaral's lawyer are confidential under Portuguese law and therefore cannot be disclosed to third parties.

In any event, neither we nor our clients have a copy of any communications which may have passed between Isabel Duarte & Associados and Mr Amaral's lawyers concerning the question of the adjournment.

In addition, however, Isabel Duarte & Associados have confirmed that lawyers for both parties requested a stay of 30 days in the Portuguese proceedings to allow them to enter into settlemeent discussions. As such we are informed that your suggestion that Isabel Duarte & Associoades requested a 6 month stay or adjournment is simply not correct".

UNQUOTE

 
Rumour re Tony being to ill to attend court not true - but is in state of anxiety, 04 February 2013
 
Rumour re Tony being to ill to attend court not true - but is in state of anxiety Jill Havern Forum

By admin
Mon Feb 04, 2013 at 8:33 am

Tony does not have chest pains and will be attending court, and he will post here this afternoon to let people know in which court the McCanns' committal-to-prison application will be heard.

Admin



Written by Tony:

In a letter to Carter-Ruck dated 30 January covering a number of matters, I wrote this:

THE DEFENDANT'S HEALTH

I enjoy generally good health but wish to place the following on the record. I saw my doctor for a check-up on Monday as I have been short of breath (I am asthmatic) and have been feeling unusually anxious. This was very much worsened when on Friday 16 January in an attempt to back up the last six months' data on to a spare hard drive, all my documents over the past few months were lost, due to 'bad sectors' on my original hard drive. Most of the documents I was preparing for the trial were lost. Whilst these were fully retrieved by a computer expert three days later, this event left me badly behind with my preparation for trial, distraught and overwrought - and I have not recovered.

My doctor has diagnosed an acute anxiety episode which she says will ameliorate at the end of my trial. My blood pressure is up significantly but not considered dangerous. My lung power, which for a healthy adult of my age should be around 600L, is currently down to about 250L, the lowest it has ever been. I have received medication for asthma for 31 years and was once hospitalised due to extreme shortness of breath. The only medication I am on at present is for the asthma.

Carter-Ruck then wrote back and said, in terms: Are you seeking an adjournment? - if so, you will need a letter from your doctor and the court will consider it.

I replied on 1 February:

I confirm that I am not seeking an adjournment on health grounds. I was simply making the Court aware of my current state of health. I remain in a state of great anxiety such as I have never known before, and that was not helped by your letter yesterday telling me that your total estimated costs in this matter have now risen to £288,503. That state of anxiety is bound to affect the extent to which I am able to conduct my defence effectively. That is all I can say on the matter.


NOTE: Both letters were copied to the judge.

 
Royal Courts of Justice Cause List, 04 February 2013
 

Royal Courts of Justice Cause List justice.gov.uk

Royal Courts of Justice Cause List

COURT 14

Before MR JUSTICE TUGENDHAT

Tuesday, 5th February 2013

At half past 10

ROBED

APPLICATION TO COMMIT

ATC/11/0841 McCann & anr v Bennett

 
Tony Bennett arrives at the Royal Courts of Justice, 05 February 2013
 

Tony Bennett arrives at the Royal Courts of Justice BBC East Midlands Today

Transcript

By Nigel Moore

Dominic Heale: Now though, the parents of the missing Leicestershire girl Madeleine McCann have started legal action. It's against a man who they claim has breached an order not to publish allegations linking them with her disappearance.

Anne Davies: Tony Bennett, who set up the Madeleine Foundation, has appeared at the High Court in London, where he denies a contempt of court application which was made by the McCanns. Mike O'Sullivan reports.

Mike O'Sullivan: (voice over) The man who wrote to the Prime Minister alleging that the McCanns were involved in their daughter's disappearance:

Tony Bennett arrives at the Royal Courts of Justice, 05 February 2013

Tony Bennett published his letter online in May 2011.

(to camera) Today Tony Bennett appeared at the High Court in London to answer a claim by the McCanns that he'd breached an undertaking made in November 2009 to stop publishing allegations about them.

(voice over) Madeleine McCann from Rothley in Leicestershire went missing from her parent's holiday apartment in Praia da Luz in Portugal in May 2007. A year later Tony Bennett set up what's called The Madeleine Foundation - an organisation that says it wants to find out what really happened to Madeleine.

Tony Bennett and supporters enter the Royal Courts of Justice, 05 February 2013

The High Court heard that despite his undertaking in 2009, Mr Bennett continued to publish allegations about the McCanns, including letters he wrote to the Prime Minister, the Home Secretary and the senior Scotland Yard detective leading a review into the Madeleine case.

(to camera) The McCanns' barrister Adrienne Page said there was no complaint with Mr Bennett writing to the Prime Minister with allegations. She said the complaint was with publishing those allegations to the world at large.

(voice over) Mr Bennett, from Essex, is representing himself and has yet to formally to present his side in this continuing case.

Mike O'Sullivan, BBC East Midlands Today, at the High Court in London.

 
Update on trial from Tony Bennett, 05 February 2013
 
Update on trial from Tony Bennett Jill Havern Forum

By Tony Bennett
Tue Feb 05, 2013 at 9:01 pm

In brief:

The judge severely limited my questions to Carter-Ruck's Solicitor and Partner, Isabel Martorell.

I think I am right in saying (we shall see tomorrrow) that none of the facts relating to Madeleine's reported disappearance are of any relevance whatosever to this hearing.

Nor is the widespread availability of Dr Amaral's book; that was also ruled as irrelevant.

One issue that emerged during the hearing more than once was the McCanns' powerlessness to control the level of dissent about Madeleine. I was able to demonstrate that I was the only person on the entire planet who was actively being inhibited from expressing his opinions on the disappearance of Madeleine. That was also ruled entirely irrelevant to the issue of whether I had breached any of my undertakings.

The circumstances under which I agreed to give the undertakings - on 2 October 2009 following legal advice from Kirwans - were also deemed irrelevant. The fact that the only alternative I was faced with was to face a full-blown libel trial, up against the legal firepower of Carter-Ruck and with no Legal Aid for defamation cases, was also ruled irrelevant.

Michael Gunnill's evidence was that he obtained the '60 Reasons' book from me purely to make himself some money. He said he had asked the Editor of the Sunday Express if he would be interested in running a story on Tony Benentt breaking his undertakings. He said that the Editor said 'Yes', and so he tried to get a book from me by subterfuge. Having done so, the Editor never ran the story so he never got paid. On this forum, Mr Gunnill claimed to have received the book on 4 February 2010, but in his Affidavit he said it was on 1 February. He could not explain the discrepancy.

In her Affidavit, Ms Martorell had said on oath that 'Madeleine was abducted'. She conceded that she had been told that but didn't know whether or not that was true. Her information came from her clients.

The one ray of hope was that Mr Justice Tugendhat said that many of the issues I sought to raise would become relevant at a subsequent hearing at which I shall be applying to lift the stay on the libel proceedings - and (hopefully) then be able to argue the case to lift the undertakings. This hearing will not release me from my undertakings and it has been spelled out to me that unless and until the undertakings are lifted, I must not give my opinion on what may have happened to Madeleine.

The support at the Court was briliant - thanks so much to all who came.

Especial thanks to Enid O'Dowd, the accountant who wrote up an excellent analysis of the Fund. She flew over from the Irish Republic to help me. She was not allowed to be a witness for me at today's hearing, because Mr Justice Tugendhat deemed it irrelevant to the issues he had to decide. He did however say that her evidence might well be relevant at a future hearing.

There were 5 journalists present during various parts of the proceedings.

It all seems very very unjust



Further update Jill Havern Forum

By Tony Bennett
Tue Feb 05, 2013 at 10:41 pm

I should just explain the running order for tomorrow.

First off, I'll conclude my cross-examination of Ms Martorell.

Then I will open my case, possibly mostly from the witness box.

Then I'll face cross examination.

The 'prosecution' will sum up for the McCanns.

I will sum up my defence.

THEN, either the judge will issue his decision, or it may be - as Carter-Ruck predicted in a recent letter - that he will reserve his decision, i.e. announce it at a later date.

 
Royal Courts of Justice Cause List, 05 February 2013
 

Royal Courts of Justice Cause List justice.gov.uk

Royal Courts of Justice Cause List

COURT 14

Before MR JUSTICE TUGENDHAT

Wednesday, 6th February 2013

At half past 10

ROBED

APPLICATION TO COMMIT

ATC/11/0841 McCann & anr v Bennett Pt Hd

 
Madeleine McCann parents want jail for ex-solicitor's 'slur', 06 February 2013
 

Madeleine McCann parents want jail for ex-solicitor's 'slur' Daily Star

ABOVE: The parents of Madeleine McCann, Gerry and Kate, are mobbed by reporters

By Daily Star reporter
6th February 2013

MADELEINE McCann's parents yesterday asked a judge to jail a retired solicitor who has repeatedly accused them of covering up her death.

Doctors Kate and Gerry McCann, both 44, claim Tony Bennett, 65, is in contempt of court for breaching promises that he would not repeat the allegations.

After a number of attempts to stop the harassment their solicitor Isabel Martorell told Mr Justice Tugendhat at the High Court in London: "Enough is enough."

She said the case, which was due to start last month, had been adjourned while talks on a settlement between the two sides were on-going.

The lawyer said they had taken action against some other people but the couple "try as far as possible to turn the other cheek".

Mr Bennett told the judge the McCanns were powerless to stop others making the same allegations as him.

Then-three-year-old Madeleine vanished from the couple's Portuguese holiday apartment in 2007.

The hearing continues today.

 
Report from McCanns v Bennett, 06 February 2013
 
Report from McCanns v Bennett 6 Feb 2013 Jill Havern Forum

By Tony Bennett
Wed Feb 06, 2013 at 5:57 pm

UPDATE:

As has correctly been stated on the other thread, Court rose at just before 1pm, after closing submissions, Adrienne Page Q.C. first, then mine.

The judgment of Mr Justice Tugendhat will be given in open court, probably in more like 2 weeks' time than one. At that hearing, should he find that I breached one or more undertakings, I will be given the chance to enter a plea of mitigation, i.e. argue for a lighter punishment for any contempt.

Once again, Mr Justice Tugendhat made it quite clear that court orders, injunctions and undertakings must be strictly obeyed until set aside one way or the other, varied or revoked, whatever may be said about the circumstances under which they were obtained, about how oppressive or restrictive they were, and no matter how many police officers, officials, journalists, authors, bloggers, forum owners, websites, YouTube video-makers and other individuals say exactly the same as I do and as Dr Goncalo Amaral does.

Adrienne Page Q.C., did make one important submission right at the end of the proceedings.

As far as I can recall, she said:

"My Lord, my clients wish to make clear in the light of press reports today that they do not wish for Mr Bennett to be sent to prison, nor do they want to punish him in any way; all they want to do is to ensure that he stops what he has been doing".

After coming out of court, I was caught by a journalist from BBC East Midlands (it might have been the one who falsely accused Dr Amaral of saying 'F___ the McCanns', I am not sure) and I was interviewed on camera for a few minutes outside the High Court. I think I gave reasonably clear and coherent answers. There may be a small item about it on BBC TV East Midlands tonight.

I was also interviewed by James Murray from the Daily Express who was a pleasant enough gentleman who was especially interested in my reference in court to the McCanns having spent so much money (around £4 million) using 17 different solicitors I gave him a print-out of the article on this forum which lists them all.

Once again, the support for me in Court was wonderful. On both days they had to put 'COURT FULL' notices outside Court 14 - only about 30 people are allowed on the back three tiers of benches, and they soon filled up.

Finally, please don't expect any further replies from me here, nor am I likely to be able to reply to any more e-mails, 'pm's or 'phone calls for at least a few days, I am going away for a complete break.

 
Tony Bennett says he has "no plans to carry on", 06 February 2013
 

Tony Bennett says he has "no plans to carry on" BBC East Midlands Today

- Extract -

Mike O'Sullivan: After today's hearing, Mr Bennett told me he'd now end his campaign.

Tony Bennett: I've got no plans to carry on because, errm... I'm exhausted from it all; from these proceedings, having to defend myself. So, errm... it's not my intention to continue. No.

 
Madeleine McCann: Legal action over cover-up allegations, 06 February 2013
 

Madeleine McCann: Legal action over cover-up allegations BBC News Leicester

6 February 2013 Last updated at 20:49

Mr Bennett is representing himself at the hearing

A man who claims he is campaigning to find out what happened to missing Madeleine McCann has appeared before a judge accused of contempt of court.

Tony Bennett, from Harlow in Essex, had previously agreed not to publish allegations linking the girl's parents to her disappearance.

He did so in an undertaking at the High Court in London in 2009, but he is alleged to have breached this 26 times.

Mr Bennett denies breaching the High Court ruling.

Giving evidence at the High Court, Mr Bennett said if he had "trespassed", then he would "like to apologise to the court".

"I was at no time deliberately trying to flout the undertaking," he said.

David Cameron

The judge will deliver his verdict on whether Mr Bennett is in contempt of court at a later date.

The court heard Mr Bennett wrote to Prime Minister David Cameron alleging Kate and Gerry McCann were involved in their daughter's disappearance, then published the letter online in May 2011.

Mr Bennett also wrote to Home Secretary Theresa May and Det Ch Insp Andy Redwood, the Scotland Yard detective leading the UK police review into the Madeleine case, and published these letters online.

Adrienne Page QC, representing the McCanns, said there was no complaint about Mr Bennett writing the letters.

The McCanns claim Mr Bennett has breached an earlier High Court undertaking

However, she said: "The complaint is the publication to the world at large.

"This is advocacy, espousing, campaigning for the McCanns being involved in a cover-up and lies."

Madeleine disappeared when she was three years old in Praia da Luz in May 2007.

At one time Kate and Gerry McCann, from Rothley in Leicestershire, were made suspects by the Portuguese police, along with another man.

In July 2008 the Portuguese Attorney-General said there was no evidence linking her parents to any crime.

Ms Page said the McCanns had not brought the court action to punish Mr Bennett or send him to prison.

She said: "They want to put a halt to the persistent breaches of the undertaking by Mr Bennett."



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Madeleine McCann rebel in court over accusations, 06 February 2013
 

Madeleine McCann rebel in court over accusations Daily Star

ABOVE: Solicitor Tony Bennett is in the dock over accusing Madeline McCann's parents for child neglect

By Jerry Lawton
7th February 2013

A FORMER solicitor faces a nervous wait to find out if he will be jailed for accusing Madeleine McCann's parents of covering up her death.

Kate and Gerry McCann claim Tony Bennett, 65, is in contempt of court for breaching promises that he would not repeat the allegations.

They claim he has broken his legal undertaking 26 times in the past three years.

Mr Bennett said he was only repeating what hundreds of others have said on the web and in books.

But he told Mr Justice Tugendhat at the High Court in London that if he had broken the terms of his order, he was sorry.

The judge said the McCanns feared that their campaign to find her would suffer if people thought she was dead, as they would not report sightings.

He reserved his ruling and hopes to give a decision within two weeks.



Tony Bennett's picture used in error:

Arrests in 'VIP' sex ring inquiry
Daily Star

Daily Star: 'Arrests in 'VIP' sex ring inquiry' with picture of Tony Bennett
Click image to enlarge

[Note: Image was removed about 02:00am 07/02/2013]



Both articles appear on the same page of today's Daily Star:

Daily Star (paper edition, page 7), 07 February 2013
Daily Star (paper edition, page 7), 07 February 2013

With thanks to Joana Morais for paper edition image

 
What really happened to Madeleine McCann?, 07 February 2013
 

What really happened to Madeleine McCann? examiner.com

Madeleine McCann

By: Chelsea Hoffman | February 7, 2013

The disappearance of Madeleine McCann remains unsolved but the number of people who believe her parents covered up her death is vast -- and that number includes some well known people. Currently the McCanns are trying to have former solicitor Tony Bennett jailed for making the claims that they did something to Maddie before reporting her missing in 2007. He's awaiting the decision on whether or not he'll face trouble over his claims, but he says he is simply repeating the words of what hundreds of others have said online, in the media and in books.

Kate and Gerry McCann say that their campaign would be affected negatively by his words because people would be less likely to report potential sightings of the missing UK girl. However, it should be noted that there has always been public suspicion in their direction with or without the words of Tony Bennett. In fact, jailing him would do absolutely nothing to stop people from thinking the McCanns did something to Maddie. And why do people feel this way? The tidal wave of evidence against them is a good place to start.

Since the beginning of the search for Madeleine McCann officials in Portugal made it clear that Kate and Gerry were there focus -- especially when cadaver dogs hit on Maddie's scent in their rental apartment. In fact some of the areas 'hit' at by the cadaver and blood dogs tested very closely in DNA markers to Maddie, but they were too damaged to be admissible as evidence. Kate and Gerry McCann were declared prime suspects in the disappearance of the little girl -- which led them to promptly leave for the UK where they sought help. Since then, the case remains unsolved and their multi-million dollar campaign has done an excellent job at supporting them while year-after-year the hopes of finding Maddie decrease.

So what really happened to Madeleine? Is Tony Bennett right or are the McCanns totally innocent in this?

 
Update on McCanns v Bennett, 14 February 2013
 
Update on McCanns v Bennett Jill Havern Forum

By Tony Bennett
Thu Feb 14, 2013 at 8:44 am

Mr Justice Tugendhat's Secretary has informed me that judgment in the case of McCanns v Bennett will be pronounced at 12noon on Thursday 21 February at the Royal Courts of Justice.

If he finds that I have breached any undertakings, I will then be allowed time to make a short speech in mitigation.

Then he will deliver his sentence.

The hearing will once again be in open court.