McCanns vs Amaral

Kate McCann, the mother of missing Madeleine McCann, wept in court in Lisbon last Thursday as witnesses described how she and her husband Gerry had been “devastated” by a book written by former Portuguese Inspector Gonçalo Amaral, accusing the couple of covering up the accidental death of their daughter by faking her disappearance from the Luz holiday home where the family was staying in 2007.

Kate McCann, who had travelled to Lisbon with friends for the opening of a libel trial against Amaral, told the press outside the court: “I am here for Madeleine and strongly hope for justice. I am here to stop the damage that has been caused and is still being caused, directly and indirectly, to the search of our daughter and to stop the suffering caused by the theories in Gonçalo Amaral’s book and a TV documentary.”

The McCanns are suing for €1.2 million damages, claiming the book, entitled Maddie The Truth of the Lie, was defamatory and helped to poison public opinion against the couple.

Amaral, in charge of what was described as a “botched” investigation into the child’s disappearance, had alleged in the book that Madeleine died accidentally in her room and the McCanns faked her disappearance to distract attention from her death.

But the McCanns were cleared of any involvement following an inquiry by Portuguese police which ended in 2008.

They succeeded in getting a court order banning the book but the decision was overturned and it remains on sale in Portugal.

Based on accusations in the book, a Portuguese TV programme aired on TVi channel portrayed the McCanns as heavy drinkers.

Last week’s hearing was held up when Amaral petitioned for the proceedings to be held in camera but the judge rejected his application to exclude the public.

Kate McCann is not expected to appear in the witness box.

According to Diário de Notícias newspaper which cited Isabel Duarte, lawyer to the McCanns, the next hearings will be held on September 10, 20 and 27, then on October 2 and 8, with the final hearing expected on November 5.