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McCanns take Amaral book fight to the Supreme Court

by CHRIS GRAEME

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The Lisbon lawyer representing the McCann family in their bid to obtain a permanent injunction on a former police chief’s book alleging that Madeline McCann died on the evening of May 3, 2007 in the family’s holiday apartment at Praia da Luz in the Algarve, says they will take their fight to the Portuguese Supreme Court.

Isabel Duarte, the Portuguese lawyer representing the McCann family in the case, confirmed that despite the ruling the book could not go back on sale until a final decision had been made by the Portuguese Supreme Court.

Speaking in Lisbon on Wednesday, November 10, Gerry McCann said that the Lisbon Court of Appeal’s decision to overturn a Lisbon Civil Court ruling earlier this year to prohibit the publication of ex-inspector Gonçalo Amaral’s book Maddie – the Truth of the Lie was “a disappointment and a setback and one battle lost on the way”.

He told the Algarve Resident: “Our attention is focused on searching for our daughter and we can’t lose sight of this objective. This matter has been placed in the hands of our lawyers and has not been definitively decided.”

Isabel Duarte said that the essential facts had “not been called into question” and these in essence were the fact that the book was published to make money, had inflicted pain and suffering on her clients and had impeded the search for Madeleine through the non-proven suggestion in the book that Madeleine had died in the apartment on the night of her disappearance.

The decision to overturn an earlier injunction maintained by a Lisbon Civil Court over the publication of the book was made in September.

Lisbon’s Court of Appeal ruled in favour of the former police chief who led the investigation into the disappearance of Madeleine McCann and his right to publish his thesis into what he believed had happened to Madeleine McCann on the night of her disappearance in 2007.

The appeal judge ruled that the “contents of the book did not offend any of the fundamental rights” of the complainants and “the exercise of its writing and publication is contained within the constitutional rights assured for all by the European Convention of Human Rights and by the Constitution of the Portuguese Republic”.  

In September 2009, following a temporary injunction was successfully applied for by and granted to the McCanns against the publication of the book and the distribution of a TVI TV documentary programme, the Lisbon Civil Court maintained the injunction on the sale and distribution of the book and TV recording.

But the Appeal Court judges made harsh criticisms that the Civil Court ruling had impinged on Gonçalo Amaral’s constitutional and universal right to express his opinion, in any form, (written, interview, analysis or commentary) about what he had written in the book” as well as “restricting his opinion and freedom of expression”.

Isabel Duarte said that she had lodged an appeal on November 5 against the Court of Appeal’s ruling at the Supreme Court of Justice.

If the McCanns lost that appeal, she said, they would take the case to the international courts.

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