The European Court of Human Rights - ECHR:
Almost as soon as the news of Goncalo Amaral's second successful defence against the McCanns was spreading across the parallel universe that is the main stream media, mumblings, whispers and in the case of some newspapers, definitive statements were being made; "McCanns to appeal court ruling".
I was holding out for the headline, "Kate and Gerry McCann to throw yet more donated money away in obsessive pursuit of one man".
"McCanns set to gamble yet more cash, many believe is being used to search for Madeleine"
Of course those headlines will never make the front pages, despite (plans of appealing aside), being totally true.
Kate and Gerry McCann have spent many years and a massive amount of public donations in pursuing Goncalo Amaral.
“He deserves to be miserable and feel fear”, is one of Kate's quotes about Snr. Amaral.
All those years, all that cash, and now, if the rumours are correct, Kate and Gerry are considering appealing yet again. This time to the last chance saloon; The European Court of Human Rights.
The press, as you'd expect, lay out the news like it's a foregone conclusion; that the McCanns will simply get on the blower to Strasbourg, and coupling their usual arrogance, with a somewhat swaggering self entitlement complex, will be granted an appeal just like that.
It isn't that easy.
Personally, I doubt very much if the McCanns will go down the ECHR route. I'm more of the opinion that the cries of 'we'll appeal', are hollow, and that the McCann media machine is merely trying to fool whoever still believes their tripe, into believing the McCanns have been dealt a severe injustice (they haven't), and will seek to rectify it asap.
That being said, it's just my opinion, so let's look at the ECHR, and whether the McCanns could, should they apply, be granted the right to appeal.
- The first step for anyone seeking to apply to the ECHR, is to download an application form, and fill every section out, meticulously, and in full.
- If any parts of the form are incomplete, illegible, or incorrect, then the court could well end the claim right there. (These ladies and gents do not fuck about).
- Once the form is completed, it must be sent to the ECHR in Strasbourg.
- Upon arrival at Strasbourg, the application form will be sent to the appropriate legal division. In this case, it would be a division that included Portuguese speakers, who also have expertise in Portuguese litigation.
- The file will then be given a number, and examined by a lawyer.
- The court may then contact the applicant, and ask for further information. If this isn't sent immediately, the court can, and will, terminate the application.
- Other than the court requesting information, and the applicant sending it, the latter must NOT contact the court. (Can you imagine Gerry being able to adhere to that rule?)
- The court receives over 50,000 applicants a year, of those only 30 actually make it to the hearing stage. That's a staggeringly low 0.06% (You feeling lucky Kate and Gerry?)
- "If your application is clearly inadmissible because it does not meet all the required admissibility criteria, it will be dealt with by a single judge. The inadmissibility decision given by that judge is final. You will be informed by letter, but you will not receive a copy of the decision. It is not possible to challenge the inadmissibility decision or request any further information about it. The Court will close the case and the file will be destroyed at a later date"
- In all cases, once the ECHR decides, at any stage, that an application is inadmissible, or it is rejected, then that's it; game over; you had your chance; you blew it.
Now, let's get down to some juicier bits.
One of the questions that we've seen crop up a few times, is this:
If the McCanns begin the appeal process, will Goncalo Amaral's assets be frozen once more, and will the costs Kate and Gerry were ordered to pay, be suspended pending the outcome of the ECHR?
The wonderful news, if you're sat on the Amaral side of the fence, is that until a final verdict is reached by the ECHR, they don't have the power to overturn, suspend, or alter any decision made by the Portuguese, as confirmed by the ECHR below:
"If I apply to the Court, does it mean I do not have to
comply with the final judgement given by the domestic
No, applying to the Court has no suspensive effect. You must
comply with the final decisions of the national courts even if you
lodge an application with the Strasbourg Court."
So no get out there. If Kate and Gerry were hoping to delay payment (whilst they squirrelled away more of the donations given to them to find their daughter), by slapping in an application to the ECHR, they'd better have a rethink; it won't work.
The current backlog of cases, means that any application could take up to a year, and more, to reach the appeal stage. Plenty of time for the McCanns to pay up, or find themselves arrested.
Another question that is included in the ECHR many information sheets, is this one:
"What is the European Court of Human Rights
not able to do for me?
The Court does not act as a court of appeal in relation to national
courts (the Supreme Court in Lisbon being one of these); it does not rehear cases, it cannot quash, vary or revise
The Court will not intercede directly on your behalf with the authority you are complaining about. In exceptional circumstances the Court may, however, grant interim measures.
As a matter of practice it only does so where there is a serious risk of physical harm to the applicant.
The Court will not help you find or pay a lawyer to draw up your application.
The Court cannot give you any information on legal provisions in force in the State against which your complaints are directed."
More on the how applications to the European Court of Human Rights, can be read on the following links:
So, if the McCanns are indeed having utopian ideas of starting further desperate, and pitiful attempts to destroy Snr. Amaral, I would suggest that fantasy land is where they will be born and reality be there resting place.
My honest opinion (for what it's worth), of this entire legal battle and what should happen next is as follows.
1. Kate and Gerry need to suck this loss up.
2. They need to apologise, publicly, to those who donated cash they believed would be used solely for the search for Madeleine. That cash has been spent on corrupt private detectives, who (as proven in previous blogs) also channelled their efforts into destroying Snr. Amaral, instead of looking for Madeleine; it has been spent on buying favourable headlines; lawyers; PR spokesman - that's Clarence Mitchell's official title, to the rest of us, he's just a child abuse apologist, who took hundreds of thousands of pounds, in exchange for a multitude of lies, fake stories, and smears, designed to do protect his employers.
3. They need to hand over the cash they owe Goncalo Amaral, and sharp, so that the £52,900, or the change from his defence, raised by those who wished to help Snr. Amaral, can as promised, be donated to children's charities. I would then hope that the PJGA show complete transparency, and inform us all of exactly how the money was divided up, and to which charities it went to.
I've seen a lot of comments from people agreeing to a post, that Snr. Amaral should use that money to counter sue the McCanns.
To those people I would say this:
Goncalo Amaral will have plenty of his own money to take that course of action should he wish to. The £52,900 was raised for him to defend himself, with the remainder to go to children's charities. If I'm honest, I find the comments that he should keep going until the McCanns lose their house etc. quite sickening. It's a baying mob mentality, and if that's what you're into, we're way off being on the same page. Kate and Gerry have two other children, do you really want to see them lose their family home, as well as their sister?
That's before I've even got on to how much good that sum will do for children's charities. I wonder, are the same people who are suggesting Snr. Amaral use that money, even be it temporarily, happy that it not be given to children who desperately need it immediately?
Even if it were to feed, educate, keep warm, keep safe, just one child (it would help many. many more), would the lynch mobbers out there prefer it be used to pursue the McCanns?
"Ah never mind the kids Goncalo, they can wait; instead, we'd like you to spend all the cash on a big stick, and beat the McCanns with it...huh their other two kids? Nahhh, be reet, here, take the stick"
If you do, and if you got your way, would you still feel comfortable accusing the McCanns of neglecting 3 children, whilst your wish would neglect many more?
Would you feel ok about a fund set up for one reason, suddenly being used to pursue Kate and Gerry through the courts, even though that's the very thing you complain about the McCanns doing?
"but they deserve it, but they made his life hell, but, but, but..."
...but nothing, you're blinkered, hypocritical, and totally lacking any perspective.
Finally, it has to be said, now the dust has settled; that all of this; the lies; the legal battles; the obscene amount of money wasted, could have all been avoided. If the McCanns had looked after their kids properly, then the chances are Madeleine would still be here. If they hadn't gone on to lie through their teeth, the investigation could have run it's proper course - without hindrance.
Madeleine McCann deserved so much better.
She was born an ordinary girl, with her whole life ahead of her.
She became a treasure trove for those who were responsible for her death, and those who supported their lies.