A former suspect in the Madeleine McCann disappearance case, Robert Murat, has had a compensation award confirmed by Portugal’s Supreme Court of Justice which has ruled that TVi must pay up for calling him a paedophile.
The Court ruled that Robert Murat was fully justified in seeking compensation from TVi, which in 2007 had described him as a 'paedophile,' "in several live television broadcasts during news coverage of the case.
The ruling judges, under Fernanda Isabel Pereira, unanimously rejected the appeal that was lodged by the TV station and which helped drag the case on for ten years.
Murat will receive a payment of €16,000 from TVi and another €4,000 from the journalist who called him a paedophile, in a live broadcast in 2007.
The Supreme Court heard that the television station referred to Murat as a 'paedophile and that the police had found that “Murat frequented pages of sexual violence on the computer and communicated online through code messages."
The judges heard that Robert Murat, who lived in the Algarve at the time of Madeline McCann’ disappearance , "was jobless and economically dependent on his mother" and "was identified, pointed at and disturbed whenever he went out" and who received threats to his life and the lives of family members.
TVI argued that it limited itself to reporting facts already described by the Portuguese and foreign media, but the judges did not accept this argument.
The Supreme Court decided to uphold the earlier decision and compel TVi to pay the €16,000 to Murat and €4,000 from the journalist who offended him.
Murat was libelled in more than 100 articles in the British tabloid press over the disappearance of Madeline in May 2007..
Murat accepted more than £600,000 in damages from 11 UK newspapers after a hearing in the high court lasting less than seven minutes in July 2008.
The Daily and Sunday Express and Daily Star from Express Newspapers; the Daily Mail, Evening Standard, and Metro of Associated Newspapers; the Daily and Sunday Mirror and the Scottish Daily Record of the MGN group; and News Group's Sun and News of the World - acknowledged that the stories they had run about Murat over nine months were entirely untrue, should never have been made and were unreservedly withdrawn.
Murat’s friend Michaela Walczuch and Sergey Malinka, an IT consultant and friend of the other two, also received six-figure damages.
Among the false and highly defamatory allegations, many spread luridly across front pages, were claims that Murat and his friends had been part of a paedophile ring, that they had lied to the police, and that DNA evidence of Madeleine had been found in his house.
Robert Murat was one of the first defendants (arguidos) in the disappearance of Madeleine McCann on May 3, 2007, but there was never any evidence against him and the Briton was cleared early on.
One year for full compensation through the UK courts, ten years in Portugal while the public is assured by the government that everything is OK with the justice system.