As the whole issue of freedom of expression and how far it should go is still keenly under discussion following the Paris terror attacks earlier this month, the €1.2 million defamation case taken by the parents of Madeleine McCann against former PJ inspector Gonçalo Amaral came quietly to its penultimate stage in court in Lisbon this morning.
If anyone was expecting fireworks, they were mistaken.
Anne Guedes, who has been reporting on the court hearings since the outset, tweeted shortly after midday: “It was no hearing and is over. No public reading but some infos will come”.
It was yet another hitch in the six-year-long case that has seen the McCanns claiming Amaral’s book “The Truth of the Lie” defamed them. They are reported to be demanding over a €1.2 million in damages.
Amaral has always maintained he was exercising his right to freedom of expression. One of the cornerstones of his defence has been that everything he wrote in his book suggesting Madeleine was not abducted is born out in the official police records of the long-running investigation.
Others present in court this morning included Ima Van den Hoek, who tweeted that neither the McCanns’ lawyer Isabel Duarte nor Gonçalo Amaral were in evidence this morning.
Amaral is said to be ill, reports Ms Van den Hoek.
According to Amaral’s lawyer, the final session – the verdict – is now not expected before March.
Today’s non-event had been billed as the moment judge Emília Mello e Castro would reveal the proven facts that she will now pass judgement on.
As bloggers who have followed the case since the outset have commented, “it has all gone strangely quiet”.
Even “spurious Maddie stories which normally circulate whenever this case comes to court” seem thin on the ground, said one.
This did not stop the Express on Sunday rehashing a story covered widely in May this year of a young man in Albufeira who stabbed a woman while high on drugs and shouted: “I killed Maddie McCann and now I am going to kill you” (see: https://www.portugalresident.com/update-albufeira-stabbing-takes-bizarre-new-twist).
As all media pointed out at the time, this would have meant that the young man in question was only 14 when he supposedly killed Madeleine McCann.
By NATASHA DONN [email protected]