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Maddies dead - book ban stays

Original Source:  SUN: SATURDAY 20 FEBRUARY 2010
By ANTONELLA LAZZERI Published: 20 Feb 2010
Legal bid ... Gerry and Kate McCann

KATE and Gerry McCann were 'totally delighted' today after former Portuguese police boss Goncalo Amaral failed in his bid to get a ban on his book about Maddie lifted.

Amaral had claimed in the book ? The Truth of the Lie ? that Maddie was dead and her parents had faked her abduction.

Kate and Gerry, from Rothley, Leicestershire, branded Amaral a 'disgrace' after hearing that the ban had been upheld.

In a statement they said: "The motives of those who have tried to convince the world that Madeleine is dead, and who've disgracefully and falsely tried to implicate us in her disappearance, need to be seriously questioned."

They will now press ahead with a ?1million libel case against Amaral which is due to be heard at the end of the year.

Kate and Gerry, both 41, won a ban on Amaral's book last September claiming it libelled them and was harming the hunt for their daughter.

Amaral, 54, applied for the ban to be lifted but today Judge Maria Rodrigues threw out his submissions that he had a right to publish his book under Portuguese freedom of speech laws.

'Disgrace' ... Goncalo Amaral

The McCanns were said to be "hugely relieved and totally delighted" by the ruling at Lisbon's Palace of Justice.

They had attended three previous court hearings of the case but were not in the capital for the ruling.

Their spokesman Clarence Mitchell said: "They are very pleased, totally delighted and hugely relieved.

"The Judge has done the right thing by keeping the ban in place. She has recognised that this injustice by Amaral is utterly wrong and must stop.

"The judgement also recognises that what he has done is harming the search for Madeleine."

A furious Amaral, who was sacked from the Maddie inquiry after five months, stormed from the court building with a face like thunder.

He refused to comment but his lawyer later said his client would be appealing the decision.

Kate and Gerry had had to endure hearing harrowing evidence during previous sessions of the court case.

They listened as former police colleagues of Amaral claimed that Maddie had died on the night she disappeared on May 3 2007 from a holiday apartment in Praia da Luz, Portugal, shortly before her fourth birthday.

They also had accusations that they disposed of her body hurled at them and claims that they were "lying" about her abduction.

Amaral was the police boss first drafted in to head the hunt for Maddie.

Missing ... Maddie McCann

As it later transpired in his book, which he wrote in July 2008 after retiring from the police force, he began to suspect Kate and Gerry of lying about Maddie's disappearance within hours of her going missing.

As the inquiry continued instead of concentrating police efforts on finding Maddie, he appeared to have focused instead on proving the McCanns' guilt.

Amaral claims in the book that Maddie died as a result of an accident in the apartment, that her parents hid her body then pretended she had been snatched from her bed.

In court he claimed the allegations were based on official police files and called a string of former colleagues to back up his claims.

They supported his story, saying they too suspected the McCanns ? pointing out that two sniffer dogs brought in by British police found the 'smell of death' in the holiday flat.

But the McCanns' lawyer Isabel Duarte claimed there was no evidence the McCanns were involved in Maddie's disappearance.

She also accused Portuguese police of failing to follow up many new leads and sightings of Maddie because they believed she was dead.

Amaral is believed to have made hundreds of thousands of pounds from the book and also from a DVD documentary based on it.


The DVD has also been banned under the court order. Since September's ban Amaral has had all his assets seized by the Portuguese courts.

The McCanns' statement told of their "relief" that the ban had stayed in place.

The couple, both doctors, said: "We are very pleased and relieved with the judge's decision in Lisbon.

"By upholding the injunction against Goncalo Amaral's book and DVD, the judge has rightly agreed that there has been significant, ongoing damage to the search for our beloved daughter Madeleine and to the rights of our family.

"We are grateful to the judge for accepting that this injustice must not continue. The court case has demonstrated, once again, that there is no evidence that Madeleine has come to any harm."

Talking about the evidence in the case the couple added: "It has also clearly shown that no police force is actively looking for Madeleine, even, shockingly, when they are presented with new information and leads."

They went on: "As painful and personally damaging as the slanderous claims of Mr Amaral and his supporters have been to us and our family, our primary focus has always been, and always will be, to find Madeleine through our own best investigative efforts.

"It is still incumbent upon the British and Portuguese authorities to ensure that every credible lead has been investigated and that a meaningful search for our innocent and vulnerable little girl is properly carried out."

Kate and Gerry ended their statement by calling on people to keep looking for their daughter saying: "We must and will keep looking for Madeleine and those responsible for her abduction.

"We implore the public, especially the Portuguese people, to help us look for Madeleine, to remain vigilant and to give us any information that could help us find our daughter."

There will be a full trial at a later date on whether the injunction banning the book should be made permanent, said Ms Duarte.

The McCanns are seeking 1.2million euros (?1.08million) in compensation for defamation in separate civil proceedings against Amaral in Portugal.

Speaking later an angry Amaral, who wears a diamond stud earring, said he would appeal the decision saying it violated his freedom of speech rights.

He also accused the McCanns of 'persecuting' him and his family.

He said: "It was an unbalanced decision and I will appeal.

"What is at stake is freedom of speech."

Ms Duarte welcomed the verdict. She said: "This decision will protect clients because they have suffered a living hell with this book and all these lies."


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