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EXCLUSIVE: ‘McCanns will lose £1m libel trial’ Judge’s initial findings go against couple



Original Source: Express Sunday 25 January 2015
Published: 00:01, Sun, January 25, 2015

The former Portuguese detective locked in a libel battle with Kate and Gerry McCann is confident of winning the case after a judge accepted some of his arguments.


[Kate and Gerry McCann claim policeman left them ‘destroyedimage text]


Goncalo Amaral claimed in his book, The Truth Of The Lie, that evidence suggested Madeleine, then three, died in apartment 5a of the Ocean Club in the Algarve’s Praia da Luz in 2007.


The book became a best seller and Amaral also worked on a television documentary detailing its claims.


However, Kate and Gerry McCann sued the detective for libel, claiming the book was a “slander”.


Last week in Lisbon Judge Maria Emilia Melo e Castro set out in some detail what she had found to be proven and not proven, although she has not given her final verdict.


She did not find that because of statements in the book, documentary and a newspaper interview Kate and Gerry had been “completely destroyed” from a “moral, ethical and family point of view beyond the pain that their daughter’s absence causes them”. And she said it was not proven that they would suffer “permanent anguish, insomnia, lack of appetite and an indefinable fear”.


The judge said this psychological state existed before the publication of the book but added that it was normal for the couple to be affected by the book and they would also have “felt badly” over allegations by Mr Amaral that they hid their daughter’s body.


However, it was not possible to determine what most people think after reading Mr Amaral’s theories, she said, and she found it was not proven that the attention of the media and of people in general diminished when Amaral’s book was published.


The judge thought it was proven that some facts in the documentary and book came from police files used by the investigation team, although others did not. 


[Madeleine has been missing since 2007 image text]


[My son] Sean asked me in October last year, ‘Mr Amaral said you hid Madeleine, didn’t he?’ I just said, ‘He did, and he has said a lot of silly things'

At the libel trial in Lisbon last July Kate, from Rothley, Leicestershire, spent 55 minutes detailing the distress the book and follow-up documentary had caused them, revealing that details of claims had even reached their nine-year-old children, Sean and Amelie.


Kate said: “Sean asked me in October last year, ‘Mr Amaral said you hid Madeleine, didn’t he?’ I just said, ‘He did, and he has said a lot of silly things’.


“I believe that after the book things got worse and were compounded because we were in a more desperate situation and felt defeated.”


Closing her evidence, Kate said: “I do believe in freedom of speech, but I don’t believe freedom of speech means the freedom to slander.”


Heart doctor Gerry McCann told the hearing: “The book is an affront to me, my wife, my family and the people who believe in us.


“The ­documentary is even worse. It starts off that Madeleine is dead, that there is no ­abduction and essentially claims myself, my wife and our friends are liars and would be so cold and ruthless as to hide our ­daughter’s body rather than try to help her should something have happened. 


[Amaral says Madeleine died in family’s holiday flat image text]

“When the file was closed it was made clear there was no evidence that Madeleine was dead and no evidence Kate and I were responsible for hiding her body.”


The McCanns’ lawyer, Isabel Duarte, could not be contacted by the Sunday Express for her assessment of the judge’s findings to date.


She is hoping to win £1million in damages from Mr Amaral and has always been confident of victory.


Mr Amaral, now retired and living in Lisbon after the break-up of his marriage, went on Portuguese television on Friday morning.


In a long interview he was asked why he wrote the book, and said: “The investigation was at stake, an investigation that was never defended here in Portugal, namely by someone at the top of the Policia Judiciaria and it’s me who defends those initial months of the investigation.”


Mr Amaral said the indications given so far led him to believe that the verdict, which is expected this spring, may be “favourable” to him.


Scotland Yard officers continue to investigate Madeleine’s disappearance but have so far failed to make a breakthrough.


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