Kate and Gerry McCann seemed to suffer a
setback on Wednesday in suing former
detective Gonçalo Amaral over his
controversial book about the
disappearance of their daughter
In Lisbon’s Palace of Justice, Judge
Maria Emília Melo e Castro handed
lawyers in the civil action a written
statement evaluating as proven or not a
list of 37 points on which she intends
to base her verdict. Neither the McCanns
nor Amaral were present.
Amaral supporters said afterwards that
the statement made them feel cautiously
The McCanns are seeking €1.2 million in
damages for the severe distress they say
has been caused to them by the book, A
Verdade da Mentira (‘The Truth of the
Lie’), and a subsequent documentary.
The judge ruled that while statements in
the book may have psychologically
affected the McCanns, the anguish
suffered by the couple over their
missing daughter preceded the book’s
publication rather than being a
consequence of it.
She pointed out that the book was very
largely based on facts in police files.
While Amaral put forward the theory that
the McCanns had hidden Madeleine’s body
and fabricated a story about her
abduction, he did not say they had
killed their daughter, the judge said.
In personal statements to the court last
July, both Kate and Gerry McCann spoke
not only of the great harm they believed
had been caused to their family by
allegations in the book, but that the
allegations had hampered the search for
The judge said Wednesday it had not been
proved that the Polícia Judiciária
stopped collecting information and
investigating the disappearance because
of the book’s contents.
Amaral insisted last year that the
lawfulness of his book was
“indisputable” because of a decision of
the Appellate Court in Lisbon that
overturned an earlier ruling banning it.
The McCanns now have time to seek and
present authorisation from the British
High Court to formally represent their
daughter in this case. Madeleine was
made a ward of court at the instigation
of her parents in April 2008. This could
have a bearing on the amount of any
compensation eventually awarded.
This long-running case in Lisbon has
been suspended several times over the
past five years, including in January
2013 when the court allowed the two
sides to try to reach a private
settlement. No agreement was reached.
No date has been set for a verdict but
it is thought to be more than two months
away. Even when it comes, the verdict
will probably not be the end of the
matter. An appeal is likely.
Also, Amaral has let it be known that he
is considering instigating a counter
defamation lawsuit against the McCanns
to seek compensation for the enormous
damages on different levels he claims
they have caused him.