#McCann Vs Bennett : Today's Court Proceeedings - In Short - The Judge Has Realized That The McCanns Along With Carter Ruck Are Taking The P$$S
The hearing was only ever about getting the matter ready for trial. The hearing lasted around 1 hour and 50 minutes. The McCanns were represented by Jacob Dean (barrister), Adam Tudor, Isabel Hudson and two assistants.Carter-Ruck had proposed a timetable for serving and filing evidence ahead of the trial and proposed that the trial would last for 1-2 days, to be held as soon as practicable on or after 10 April.
I made a number of applications at the hearing, which out of courtesy I notified to Carter-Ruck by hand on 2 February. My application to have a ‘McKenzie friend’ [lay helper] with me at the hearing was granted by consent, and I thank my friend who acted as my McKenzie helper today.
I made an outline application to be allowed to apply for one part of the original undertaking I gave to be rescinded. This was granted. I have until 22 February to submit that application. That involves paying a Court fee of £80.00 and submitting detailed reasons for that application. At this point I will say that I do not propose to seek to rescind any of the following undertakings, all of which I have abided by except for the sale of one book to Mr Michael Gunnill (see below):
• To deliver up all hard copies of “What really happened to Madeleine McCann? 60 key reasons which suggest that she was not abducted” (known in short as ‘60 Reasons’) to Carter-Ruck
• To deliver up all hard copies of the leaflet entitled “What really happened to Madeleine McCann? 10 key reasons which suggest that she was not abducted
• To destroy any electronic version of ‘What really happened to Madeleine McCann? 60 key reasons which suggest that she was not abducted”.
• To destroy any electronic version of the leaflet entitled “What really happened to Madeleine McCann? 10 key reasons which suggest that she was not abducted
• To close our website, whose domain name was: www.madeleinefoundation.org‘
• To use my best endeavours to delete or otherwise prevent access to any and all defamatory allegations about the Claimants published by him on the website http://missingmadeleine.forumotion.net
• To use my best endeavours to delete or otherwise prevent access to any and all defamatory allegations about the Claimants published by him on the website http://democracyforum.co.uk
• To use my best endeavours to delete or otherwise prevent access to any and all defamatory allegations about the Claimants published by him on the website http://www.anorak.co.uk
• To use my best endeavours to delete or otherwise prevent access to any and all defamatory allegations about the Claimants published by him on the website www.truthformadeleine.com
• To pay £440.00 towards the Defendant’s costs [subsequently reduced to £400.00.]
I applied for an Order that ‘the Claimants [the McCanns] do specify which words they allege constitute alleged breaches of my undertaking’. This was because of what I claimed was a lack of clarity in the McCanns’ application. The Practice Rules are very specific in requiring that in a contempt of court allegation, the Claimants must be precise and full in explaining to the Defendant precisely why he is alleged to be in breach of an undertaking to such an extent that he deserves to be sent to prison.
I had also asked for more time to prepare my defence. The Judge was concerned about the volume of paperwork I was faced with [153 alleged breaches of the undertaking] and said that ‘there is considerable force in Mr Bennett’s request for more time to prepare his defence’.
This was resolved as follows. The Judge invited Jacob Dean [the McCanns’ barrister] to take a 5-minute adjournment to consider whether he wished to reduce his 153 alleged breaches to, say, ‘the 10 most serious breaches’.
He said that if the McCanns could prove those breaches, it was unnecessary to prove the other 143. After 15 minutes, the McCanns’ legal team came back into Court and said that they would submit a new application based on ‘around 25’ of the most serious breaches.
The trial will then be confined effectively to an examination of just those 25 alleged breaches. The Judge gave them until 4pm on Friday 17 February to serve this new application on me. He also suggested to Mr Dean that Carter-Ruck needed to be much more precise than they had been about the words I used that were said to be in breach of the undertaking and which term of any undertaking they were alleged to breach.
The Judge granted me until 9 March to reply to the McCanns’ revised application [the McCanns had originally asked for my response by 22 February.
The McCanns will then have the right to reply to my response. They will have to serve this on me by 5 April.
I applied for an Order that Michael Gunnill be produced as a witness and was able to inform the Judge in outline of how Mr Gunnill had obtained a ’60 Reasons’ book from me by entrapment, and how Mr Gunnill had boasted about doing this ‘on behalf of a third party’ which I believed to be the McCanns, via Carter-Ruck.
I was granted permission to apply for a Witness Order against Mr Gunnill requiring to attend the trial and give evidence. I shall be doing that shortly.
I had applied for an Order that one of the McCanns make a Witness Statement to (a) state what evidence there is that Madeleine McCann was abducted and (b) to state what evidence there was, as claimed in Isabel Hudson’s Affidavit, that any of my actions had, as the McCanns claimed, ‘harmed the search for Madeleine’.
These applications were refused. The Judge said that it was for the Claimants to give whatever evidence they felt was necessary to support their application to commit me to prison and that if I felt there was insufficient evidence that an abduction had occurred I would have the right to make submissions about this in my closing speech at the trial.
I applied for the McCanns to produce certified English translations of the two judgments against them in the Portuguese Court of Appeal (October 2010) and Portuguese Supreme Court (March 2011).
The Judge refused, after asking the McCanns’ barrister if Dr Amaral’s book was now freely available in Portugal, to which of course he agreed. He said that if I considered these relevant, I should produce these myself. One of my supporters at the hearing kindly volunteered afterwards to see if she could obtain these for me.
The trial is scheduled for 2 days, any time on or after 17 April 2012. In conclusion, I would like to thank each and every one of the eight people who kindly troubled to attend court to support me, and it was a pleasure to buy them all lunch at the Dulcis Cafe afterwards.