Former police inspector Goncalo Amaral arrives at court for
the libel trial in Lisbon. Photograph: Nacho Doce/Reuters
Madeleine McCann's parents could
face years in Europe's courts fighting claims they invented their
daughter's abduction to cover up her death.
Goncalo Amaral, the former Portuguese detective who initially led
the investigation into their daughter's disappearance, has vowed to keep
appealing if he loses a libel trial over a book in which he claims
Madeleine is dead.
Amaral said his attempt to overturn the injunction on allegations
the McCanns were involved in their daughter's disappearance was about
"fundamental rights" and pledged to keep fighting all the way to the
European court of human rights.
Outside the hearing in Lisbon, where the couple have been seeking
ban the book, Kate McCann
admitted that listening to allegations they faked Madeleine's abduction
was difficult but said nothing could be as bad as losing her child.
"If I'm honest, our daughter's been taken and nothing's ever
going to be as bad as that. It's still been difficult, it's been
emotive, because I know what's in the case files, I know what the
conclusions are. So it's difficult to hear something that's incorrect
and inaccurate. At the bottom of all this is a little girl and I think
it's important that we don't forget that."
She said she did not regret pursuing the case. "I am pleased that
we took the action and think that it will benefit Madeleine," she said.
Asked if she believed they would win their case against Amaral, she
said: "I am confident, yes."
Isabel Duarte, the McCanns' lawyer, accused Amaral of trying to
put the couple on trial. The court has heard from a series of senior
Portuguese officials who have claimed the McCanns were responsible for
their daughter's death.
"They are trying to judge in a civil court what they could not
judge in a criminal court," she said. "I am sorry my clients had to be
submitted to this pain and this distress. This is awful, but we knew
that Pandora's box was open."
Kate McCann was today accompanied to the third day of the trial
by Fiona Payne, one of the "tapas seven" group of friends who were on
holiday with the McCanns in the Algarve resort of Praia da Luz when
their daughter disappeared. Gerry McCann, who had been in court on
Tuesday and yesterday, flew back to Britain last night to return to
The court today heard evidence from producers of a TV documentary
based on Amaral's book.
The case has been adjourned until 10 February when the judge will
hear from two witnesses not available this week. A ruling is expected by
the end of February, however the case is just one step in a lengthy
The McCanns are seeking €1.2m (£1.08m) in compensation for
defamation in separate proceedings against Amaral but no date has been
set for a trial.