English authorities refused to release information “to prevent affecting the relationship with the Portuguese government”
In the Maddie case, the Foreign Office, the English foreign affairs ministry, in a reply to a request to access the communications of then British ambassador to Portugal, John Buck, refused to release those details, alleging that the publication of said information would affect the relationship between both governments.
The request to access those documents was filed by British citizens and journalists under the “Freedom of Information Act 2000”, a law that regulates free public access to information concerning the work of the government and of public institutions in general, namely the police.
Despite the fact that the English Government’s reply mentions communications between its representatives and the Portuguese police, the 13 emails that are at the core of the matter have been sent or received by the ambassador, the consulate in Portimão, and the representatives of the British Foreign Office in Portugal and in London, between the 9th of May and the 21st of June 2007.
According to a source at the Foreign Office itself, some of the emails that were exchanged between the ambassador and the ministry “contain obvious evidence of the interference of the diplomat with the PJ’s hierarchy and that fact has conditioned the investigation”.
In the same document, the English government further confirms that “a [McCann] family member had made clear to FCO staff that all comments made by that individual to FCO had been made in strict confidence and were not intended for disclosure to third parties”.
All requests for information that have been sent to the English government until this moment are justified by public interest, demanding explanations about the high degree of assistance that was given to the McCanns, about respect towards the Portuguese authorities, and the manner in which public funds were spent in the Maddie case.
Duarte Levy on 24horas