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McCanns Take Legal Action Against TV Station

Original Source:  SKY: WEDNESDAY 10 FEBRUARY 2010
3:13pm UK, Wednesday February 10, 2010 Hannah Thomas-Peter in Lisbon

The McCanns are launching criminal proceedings against a Portuguese TV channel over claims they aired about the death of their daughter Madeleine.

The McCanns have always strenuously denied allegations made against them

Gerry and Kate McCann say TVI was in "material breach" of a court injunction issued to prevent allegations made in a book by former lead investigator Goncalo Amaral being repeated.

They say the channel, which previously aired a documentary based on the book, continued to discuss the allegations despite the injunction.

The couple are currently in a Portuguese court suing Amaral for libel over the claims.

Maddie: The Truth Of The Lie alleges Madeleine died in the McCann family's holiday apartment and the couple faked her abduction.

The court has heard today from two witnesses who were not available during proceedings held in January.

Click below to see live tweets from the court

Eduardo Dimaso, chief editor of Correio da Manha newspaper and Luis Frois, from the company that made a documentary based on the book's claims, told the court about arrangements their companies had made to distribute and broadcast the film.

Lawyers for the McCanns and Mr Amaral are expected to make their closing arguments this afternoon.

It is understood the couple will fly back to the UK tonight.

A ruling on whether the existing temporary ban on the book is to be made permanent is expected by the end of this month.

The McCanns arrived holding hands and faced a small group of protesters maintaining that Amaral had the right to freedom of speech.

Kate and Gerry McCann attended three days of hearings on this case in January.

Goncalo Amaral

They listened to witnesses called by Mr Amaral who backed up his version of events, including former police officers who questioned the McCanns' behaviour at the time of their daughter's disappearance.

Mr Amaral's lawyers have portrayed this legal action as an attack on the Portuguese constitution and freedom of speech.

The former policeman, who was removed from the Madeleine case after he criticised the British police, has vowed to take the case all the way to the European courts if he loses this fight to get his book published.

Speaking outside court at the end of last month's hearings, Kate McCann said listening to the allegations were difficult but nothing could be as bad as losing her daughter.

Madeleine was nearly four when she disappeared from her family's holiday apartment in the Portuguese resort of Praia da Luz in 2007.

Her parents were declared "arguidos" or formal suspects, in October that year, but that was lifted when the case was shelved the following summer.

The McCanns are seeking around 1m in damages for defamation from Mr Amaral in a separate case.

They strenuously deny the allegations made against them.


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