The Madeleine McCann Disappearance

Coypu

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"his lawyer is doing a pretty good job of getting him off on a technicality "

Things like that really make my blood boil.
I don't know how such defence lawyers can sleep at night.
Usually laying on a huge pile of cash, nice and soft if a bit rustly.
 

Cochise

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They do have expenses.

 
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Eponastill

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I don't know if you have Netflix, Cochise, but there's a documentary focusing on Henry Lee Lucas (Ottis Toole's side kick) on there at the moment. They cleared up a remarkable number of cases by asking him if he'd done them.
(this is by-the-by obviously)
 

Cochise

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If I can just briefly pursue the derail - the two of them had a very odd relationship and 'corroborated' each other's stories - but the evidence is that the police fed them stories. I don't deny they killed more than a couple, but I find it hard to beleive thay got anywhere near double figures.

The web is virtually useless investigating them because of the ghouls out there who actually want to believe they killed over a hundred people. I believe that is complete horsefeathers. No predatory killer has got much above half that numbers and these two guys are hardly the sharpest knives in the box. I'm not saying you need to be above average intelligence to be a serial killer, far from it, but these two were way below average.
 
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blessmycottonsocks

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Mythopoeika

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Well....I asked almost a year ago....wonder if the reasons have changed, but why is this case still in front of the public ,press ,and police?
I know of no other case in the history of the US that has lasted anywhere near this long as an 'active investigation'. Is this a British eccentricity..?
 

Yithian

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I know of no other case in the history of the US that has lasted anywhere near this long as an 'active investigation'. Is this a British eccentricity..?

I think it has got pretty close to winding down a few times only to have been scaled up again in response to a supposed leads or fresh influxes of funding.

I can't say whether there's any case that's directly comparable, but it's worth noting that there's no 'statute of limitations' in the UK, and very old crimes have been solved multiple decades after they were committed, yet this case still seems anomalous.
 

Spookdaddy

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Well....I asked almost a year ago....wonder if the reasons have changed, but why is this case still in front of the public ,press ,and police? I know of no other case in the history of the US that has lasted anywhere near this long as an 'active investigation'. Is this a British eccentricity..?

As Yith says - there is no statute of limitations for serious criminal offences in England and Wales, and I'm pretty sure it's the same for Scotland.

The Susan Long murder was in the news again this March - and is still being investigated 50 years after her death. Last year, charges were brought in the case of Renee MacRae - missing, presumed murdered, along with her young son, since 1976. In the case of Suzy Lamplugh - missing presumed murdered since 1986 - there were new searches made in 2018 and 2019.

That doesn't mean that there's a full-scale investigative team dedicated to the particular crime throughout the relevant period; there needs to be some sort of spur to the renewed activity - maybe a cold case review, or the appearance of new evidence. I believe the rule of thumb is that as long as there is anyone still alive likely to have been directly affected by the crime in question, then the police will look at a case if new evidence emerges.

If it's a British eccentricity, then it's one I'm happy with. When we refer to the long arm of the law it's not because it's actually got long arms.
 
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Spookdaddy

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Re the earlier comments about lawyers.

However oily we think the lawyers, however repulsive their clients, however unspeakable their crimes - those of us who live under the adversarial system undermine the position of the defence lawyer at our utter peril.
 

Cochise

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Re the earlier comments about lawyers.

However oily we think the lawyers, however repulsive their clients, however unspeakable their crimes - those of us who live under the adversarial system undermine the position of the defence lawyer at our utter peril.
You are quite right. We the unwashed get angry when someone gets off on a technicality. The trouble is that the politicos (all of them, this is not party politics) never seem to get round to reducing the technical loopholes, in fact they simply pass extra laws instead of simplifying the existing ones.

I understand this process being a programmer. Debugging has been defined as replacing an obvious bug (which can be fairly easily avoided) with other more subtle ones. And the process can go on ad infinitum. Nobody ever wants to go back and start over.
 

Frideswide

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Re the earlier comments about lawyers.

However oily we think the lawyers, however repulsive their clients, however unspeakable their crimes - those of us who live under the adversarial system undermine the position of the defence lawyer at our utter peril.

An obvious quotation perhaps but it fits. A single damp* cat biscuit for the person who identifies play and author

Roper: “So, now you give the Devil the benefit of law!”

More: “Yes! What would you do? Cut a great road through the law to get after the Devil?”

Roper: “Yes, I'd cut down every law in England to do that!”

More: “Oh? And when the last law was down, and the Devil turned 'round on you, where would you hide, Roper, the laws all being flat? This country is planted thick with laws, from coast to coast, Man's laws, not God's! And if you cut them down, and you're just the man to do it, do you really think you could stand upright in the winds that would blow then? Yes, I'd give the Devil benefit of law, for my own safety's sake!”

* cause of dampness unknown
 

Cochise

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An obvious quotation perhaps but it fits. A single damp* cat biscuit for the person who identifies play and author

Roper: “So, now you give the Devil the benefit of law!”

More: “Yes! What would you do? Cut a great road through the law to get after the Devil?”

Roper: “Yes, I'd cut down every law in England to do that!”

More: “Oh? And when the last law was down, and the Devil turned 'round on you, where would you hide, Roper, the laws all being flat? This country is planted thick with laws, from coast to coast, Man's laws, not God's! And if you cut them down, and you're just the man to do it, do you really think you could stand upright in the winds that would blow then? Yes, I'd give the Devil benefit of law, for my own safety's sake!”

* cause of dampness unknown
Would that be A Man for All Seasons? Originally written I believe by Antony Munday. ,

Actually you can keep the biscuit, given the source of dampness is undefined.
 

Mikefule

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"his lawyer is doing a pretty good job of getting him off on a technicality "
Things like that really make my blood boil.
I don't know how such defence lawyers can sleep at night.

Because a lawyer is a servant of the legal system, and only one cog in the machine.

A defence lawyer has two roles: to put the case for their client not being guilty, and to put the case for a lenient sentence if their client is convicted. This includes taking all steps to ensure that the prosecution does not abuse due process.

Inevitably, this will be uncomfortable when the lawyer is defending "the indefensible". Lawyers are only human too. The only way to deal with this is for the defence lawyer to trust:
  1. The prosecution lawyer to do their job: to put the case for the defendant being guilty, and to put the case for a severe sentence. This includes taking all steps to ensure that the defendant's lawyer does not abuse due process process.
  2. The judge to ensure that the trial is conducted according to due process, and that the evidence is presented and considered fairly.
  3. The jury, to listen carefully to the evidence and to the judge's advice, and to reach a fair decision on the evidence.
If we value the rule of law, we have to value the role of every professional involved in the proceedings, even when we don't like what they are being paid to do.

I was an insurance fraud investigator. At the end of an investigation, I sometimes had to:
  • Acknowledge that, in good faith, we had given an innocent customer a hard time because we had suspected them in the first instance.
  • Pay claims that I "knew" to be false because thorough investigation had failed to establish the required level of proof.
  • Acknowledge to myself that an unknown percentage of genuine claims were withdrawn rather than face the rigours of investigation.
It was a dirty job, and there were days when I got home feeling dirty, having paid £20,000 to a rogue who I felt had "got away with it" and listened to another customer in tears because we were trying to resolve a discrepancy in their claim that may well have led to weeks or months of delays. I coped with this by doing my job as thoroughly and fairly as I could, and by relying on the other professionals in all roles to do their jobs as thoroughly and fairly as they could.
 

Trevp666

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Unfortunately due to the current circumstances a right to a 'trial by jury' in the UK has been revoked in favour a solitary judge AFAIK.
 

Yithian

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Re the earlier comments about lawyers.

However oily we think the lawyers, however repulsive their clients, however unspeakable their crimes - those of us who live under the adversarial system undermine the position of the defence lawyer at our utter peril.

One of my oldest friends is an ex-defence lawyer. The job is not conducive to family life.

For several years he'd take phone calls in the dead of night to drive to the most odious districts and ensure that (to be honest) the detritus of society got the best defence he could manage. He was frequently despondent about how light a sentence the most obviously guilty were handed, but he did the job because, every now and again, through carelessness, laziness or non-reflective bias, the police made mistakes; and while those he 'got off' were frequently guilty of a string of other offences, there were genuine innocents caught up in the system by pure flukes of circumstances who had done nothing whatsoever wrong.

He did the job for them and the salary (which, In my opinion, was rubbish for the work demanded).

This small category, I might add, were often the victims of malicious unfounded accusations and 'straight' members or friends of crooks who looked guilty by association.
 

Spookdaddy

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Kind of reminds me of the BBC's recent adaptation of Alex McBride's Defending the Guilty, which I very much enjoyed; starring the excellent young actor Will Sharpe (who also did a very splendid job in Giri/Haji). Also Sarah Langford's, In Your Defence: Stories of Life and Law - which I read at the beginning of this year.

To be honest, I think the idea of saving 'genuine innocents', although clearly extremely desirable, is a bit of a red herring in regard to the main point of the defence's role in an adversarial system - which is to test the Crown's case to the most exhaustive degree possible. I would argue that the safest convictions are those where it is the defence, and not the prosecution, that has put up the most effective fight.

As Mikefule says above - the defence represents a single cog in a larger machine, without which that machine fails entirely.

(I find the law absolutely fascinating - and in another lifetime...who knows?)

Edit: Hutchinson's near classic, Is Eating People Wrong?: Great Legal Cases and How they Shaped the World was part of my lockdown reading list. Don't say there's nothing Fortean about the law.

(And the answer is...well, it kind of depends.)
 
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Yithian

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Kind of reminds me of the BBC's recent adaptation of Alex McBride's Defending the Guilty, which I very much enjoyed; starring the excellent young actor Will Sharpe (who also did a very splendid job in Giri/Haji). Also Sarah Langford's, In Your Defence: Stories of Life and Law - which I read at the beginning of this year.

To be honest, I think the idea of saving 'genuine innocents', although clearly extremely desirable, is a bit of a red herring in regard to the main point of the defence's role in an adversarial system - which is to test the Crown's case to the most exhaustive degree possible. I would argue that the safest convictions are those where it is the defence, and not the prosecution, that has put up the most effective fight.

As Mikefule says above - the defence represents a single cog in a larger machine, without which that machine fails entirely.

(I find the law absolutely fascinating - and in another lifetime...who knows?)

I'm not saying that's the role as defined by law, I'm saying that's why he continued to do it long after it had become an undesirable job.
 

Spookdaddy

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I'm not saying that's the role as defined by law, I'm saying that's why he continued to do it long after it had become an undesirable job.

Yes, sorry - I suppose I was making a general point, rather than addressing your friend's specific experience; the role of the defence is often very much misinterpreted.
 

PeteS

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I don't have a foot in any camp in the McCann case, it is surrounded with so many peculiar circumstances.
This exactly- and I suspect this is one of the reasons why the terrible incident is so clouded in the minds of the public, and has misdirected investigations.
 

Coypu

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Re the earlier comments about lawyers.

However oily we think the lawyers, however repulsive their clients, however unspeakable their crimes - those of us who live under the adversarial system undermine the position of the defence lawyer at our utter peril.
The lawyers I was referring to are the ones that spend fifteen minutes in consultation with you then print off a page with eight lines on it and charge £200. I did get two copies though:rolleyes:
 

escargot

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One of my oldest friends is an ex-defence lawyer. The job is not conducive to family life.

For several years he'd take phone calls in the dead of night to drive to the most odious districts and ensure that (to be honest) the detritus of society got the best defence he could manage. He was frequently despondent about how light a sentence the most obviously guilty were handed, but he did the job because, every now and again, through carelessness, laziness or non-reflective bias, the police made mistakes; and while those he 'got off' were frequently guilty of a string of other offences, there were genuine innocents caught up in the system by pure flukes of circumstances who had done nothing whatsoever wrong.

He did the job for them and the salary (which, In my opinion, was rubbish for the work demanded).

This small category, I might add, were often the victims of malicious unfounded accusations and 'straight' members or friends of crooks who looked guilty by association.

When I worked at the Courts a solicitor had a case where she had to try to get bail for a man accused of a serious arson attempt. He was a dangerous man with a serious grudge against the occupants of the house he'd tried to set fire to and nobody expected him to walk free.

To everyone's amazement, including hers, she managed it, and off he went. We called her 'Solicitor of the Year'!
 

madmath

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One wonders how much of the perception of our various adversarial courts is driven by their portrayal on telly. The many police and lawyer dramas offer a false perspective of the reality of police and legal work, which can thereby bias the participants, particularly jurors, on the proper procedures and processes around the actual workings of the trial, including evidence presentation, the reliability of witnesses, and causing general bias against the defendant (unless she's really pretty).
 

escargot

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One wonders how much of the perception of our various adversarial courts is driven by their portrayal on telly. The many police and lawyer dramas offer a false perspective of the reality of police and legal work, which can thereby bias the participants, particularly jurors, on the proper procedures and processes around the actual workings of the trial, including evidence presentation, the reliability of witnesses, and causing general bias against the defendant (unless she's really pretty).

I worked in the local Magistrates' Courts and saw how things work, at least at that level. Perry Mason it is NOT.
 
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