Maddie Case: Supreme Court condemns TVI to pay 20 thousand euros to Robert Murat
At stake is the fact that the television station referred to Robert Murat as "pedophile."
22 Jul 2018 11:56
The Supreme Court recognized Robert Murat as having the right to be compensated, since "the television broadcasting that the author frequented pedophile sites and the designation of the same as a British pedophile is objectively offensive of the good name of the latter, consubstantiating a serious imputation that does not benefit the public debate about the disappearance of a child or the phenomenon of sexual abuse of minors.
The court added that the performance of the television station in Queluz had serious consequences in Murat's life, "which was pointed out and disturbed every time he went out into the street, received threats addressed to himself and his family, suffered a fainting, felt hypertension, amnesia, and insomnia and sought psychiatric help, and began to avoid going out into the street, disguising himself when he did and changing his house. "
Thus, TVI was ordered to pay 20 thousand euros of compensation to Murat.
On May 3, 2007, three-year-old Maddie disappeared from her sleeping room with the two younger brothers in a holiday apartment in the Algarve.
At the beginning of the investigation, the PJ came to constitute as defendant Robert Murat, a British who lived near the Ocean Club and who had participated in the searches and was an interpreter of GNR and PJ.
In September Maddie's parents, both doctors, are questioned in the PJ of Portimão and constituted defendants.
On July 21, 2008, the Public Prosecutor's Office decided to close the investigation and remove the status of defendants from the McCanns and Robert Murat, noting that the case could be reopened if "new evidence" arose.
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Supreme orders TVI to pay 20 thousand euros to Robert Murat
British citizen was named by that television station as a "pedophile" as well as a prime suspect in Maddie's disappearance case in May 2007. The court recognized him as entitled to compensation.
July 22, 2018, 11:17
TVI will have to pay 20,000 euros to Robert Murat, the Briton publicly accused of attending pedophile sites and who was named as suspect in the case of Maddie's disappearance on 3 May 2007. The Supreme Court ruled in a judgment last June that the television station was guilty "at least in the form of conscious negligence" for having referred to the British citizen as "pedophile."
TVI was one of the media outlets that pointed out Robert Murat as one of the suspects in the investigation into the disappearance of the British child. Murat, who was 35 at the time, lived about 100 meters from the apartment where the McCanns were and was a constant presence in those days when he even took part in the search and interpreted with the British journalists who invaded the beach. Luz, in Lagos. Later, he was interrogated for several hours by the Judiciary Police and was eventually made an accused after his house was searched .
The court found that TVI referred to Murat as "one of the prime suspects in the girl's disappearance," noting that PJ had discovered the frequency of "pages of sexual violence on the computer." Later, TVI referred to him as "pedophile." And according to the court, the qualification was awarded to him without TVI being careful to ensure the veracity of the statement and with the intention of "raising the audience."
TVI claims that it merely reproduced the information contained in the front pages of the newspapers of that day, 15 May 2007, which had been the subject of a journalistic investigation, having acted in an environment of freedom of expression, in a case which a mediatism rarely seen.
It maintains that, between the rights to good name and honor and the rights to freedom of expression and information, the case-law indicates that the latter should prevail, TVI also claimed that it sought to obtain from the British its version of the facts.
Certainly, from that point on, the Briton (who was setting up a real estate company and had a daughter the same age as Maddie from whom he would eventually have to flee) could never go out again without be pointed and bothered. The letters, emails and phone calls threatening him and his family were happening at a daily pace . Murat went into a depressive crisis. He suffered from insomnia, tachycardia, amnesia, and anxiety. He sought psychiatric help, isolated himself, and if he had to leave, he did it in disguise. At some point, he had to move house and became economically dependent on his mother.
TVI acquitted at first instance
In the first instance, the court acquitted TVI, and Murat appealed to the Relation that would recognize the right to be compensated in 20 thousand euros. The case was subsequently referred to the Supreme Court on the initiative of the television station, which now confirms that amount and corroborates the judgment under appeal, in particular to the extent that, by removing the illegality of the news that pointed to Murat as a suspect and defendant, his qualification as a pedophile. "Those references to the author consubstantiate a serious imputation, which did nothing to contribute or contributed to the public debate about the disappearance of the girl," the judges considered, for whom it was a "personal and gratuitous attack" been investigated and constituted defendant "does not justify".
Likewise, "the diffusion that he was a consumer of pedophile sites can not be explained with difficulty in ascertaining his truthfulness by the secrecy of justice that involved the investigation, since this fact only required a greater demand and care on the part of the defendant [TVI] regarding the reliability of the information before sending it under cover of the exercise of its noble right to inform ".
"If it is understandable and natural that the defendant intends to raise its hearings, it is no longer curious that, with such desideratum, it should also disclose the said statements, which are burdensome and detrimental to the honor and good name of the author," reads, where it is concluded that such disclosure "did not derive from any imperative social need which could be understood as necessary and appropriate."
According to the judges, the fact that TVI merely transmitted news of the same content does not exempt it from its responsibility, "only referring to the quantification of compensation". The judgment is not subject to appeal.
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