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Amaral supporters optimistic following judge’s rulings in McCanns’ libel case

The McCanns

Kate and Gerry McCann seemed to suffer a setback on Wednesday in suing former detective Gonçalo Amaral over his controversial book about the disappearance of their daughter Madeleine.

In Lisbon’s Palace of Justice, Judge Maria Emília Melo e Castro handed lawyers in the civil action a written statement evaluating as proven or not a list of 37 points on which she intends to base her verdict. Neither the McCanns nor Amaral were present.

Amaral supporters said afterwards that the statement made them feel cautiously optimistic.

The McCanns are seeking €1.2 million in damages for the severe distress they say has been caused to them by the book, A Verdade da Mentira (‘The Truth of the Lie’) and a subsequent documentary.

The judge ruled that while statements in the book had psychologically affected the McCanns, the great anguish suffered by the couple over their missing daughter preceded the book’s publication rather than being a consequence of it.

She pointed out that the book was very largely based on facts in police files. Nowhere did Amaral claim that the McCanns had killed their daughter, only the theory that they had hidden Madeleine’s body and fabricated a story about abduction, said the judge.

In personal statements to the court last July, both Kate and Gerry McCann spoke not only of the great harm they believed had been caused to their family by allegations in the book, but that the allegations had hampered the search for Madeleine.

The judge said it had not been proved that the Polícia Judiciária stopped collecting information and investigating the disappearance because of the book’s contents.

Amaral insisted last year that the lawfulness of his book was “indisputable” because of a decision of the Appellate Court in Lisbon that overturned an earlier ruling banning it.

The McCanns now have time to seek and present authorisation from the British High Court to formally represent their daughter in this case. Madeleine was made a ward of court at the instigation of her parents in April 2008. This could have a bearing on the amount of any compensation eventually awarded.

This long-running case in Lisbon has been suspended several times over the past five years, including in January 2013 when the court allowed the two sides to try to reach a private settlement. No agreement was reached.

No date has been set for a verdict but it is thought to be more than two months away. Even when it comes, the verdict will probably not be the end of the matter. An appeal is likely.

Also, Amaral has let it be known that he is considering instigating a counter defamation lawsuit against the McCanns to seek compensation for the enormous damages on different levels he claims they have caused him.

©  Len Port

Len Port has been a journalist for 50 years, working as a staff reporter, broadcaster and freelance correspondent for many leading news organisations. He covered events in the Far East in the Sixties, and in Northern Ireland and South Africa in the Seventies. Since moving to Portugal in the early Eighties, he has edited regional magazines, contributed to national dailies in Britain and written several books, two of which are currently available as ebooks with Amazon.




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+2 #5 Bryony Rosamund Gale 2015-01-25 13:13
"Madeleine McCann was made a ward of the court, and this may effect the compensation received." Will someone please explain. MORE money for the McCanns? Why do we, the public donors, never see an annual report of expenditures?
+4 #4 amber 2015-01-23 13:42
The British press seem to be under the impression that the McCanns have won something important following the court hearing. Confused, did I read today, that each parent checked their own children, during dining time for the adults? Good to read transcripts because it is more accurate. There is a lot of support for Mr Amaral here in the UK. We like to think freedom of speech is important, recognized as being necassary in a democratic society.
-2 #3 George Williams 2015-01-22 16:41
not been proved that the Polícia Judiciária stopped collecting information and investigating the disappearance because of the book’s contents...

PM Coelho has just announced Portugal's involvement in the global fight against terrorism. But what use at all can Portugal be ?

Only a year or so ago the Spanish came to collect some of their Basque terrorists who had been living 'openly' up in the central, northern Portugal for several years.

Locals at the time declaring that they had no idea that these people were wanted. As no-one had told them. Making it clear that the Spanish had not 'trusted' the Portuguese to be in on their search. And not to tip off the terrorists before they could be seized.

We must remind ourselves that that has long been the main concern of the McCanns and the UK Police. Being able to track external events via Interpol - which the UK Police instigated, our coppers knew what was or was not happening outside Portugal.

But internally, as it was being kept so secret by the Portuguese - what serious investigation, if any, was going on ?
-3 #2 Paul Jones 2015-01-22 09:12
..... borne out in the official police records of the long-running investigation.

From the start - at the root of the UK's high level involvement in this very issue! That the Portuguese Police - or substantial elements within it - are not suitably up to scratch for a modern EU state.

If policing and justice were at an acceptable level why are so many Portuguese moaning about the 'impunity' of some other citizens to the law. Including the current Justice Minister vowing to end 'impunity'!

Given that the search was only ever too little, too late - what then is actual fact in Amaral's investigation ?

Anyone who has tracked the hysterical response by so many Portuguese to the McCanns seeking their missing child, and done a little homework in their school history books, will also have noticed the strange 'secret hostility' the Portuguese have to the British.

Becoming most obvious in Magueijo's 2014 secret epic bestseller in Portuguese - Bifes Mal Passados.

Portugal joining an outfit, the EEC / EU nearly 30 years ago, that already contained the UK and expressly set up to 'bury the hatchet' between nations !
+5 #1 chiptheduck 2015-01-21 20:43
It's also gone strangely quiet from the police.

Lots of expense, repeated trips to the Algarve and constant promises of progress - but total silence.

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