20 Feb 2017

McCann's new legal battle over faked abduction claims

Madeleine McCann's parents have launched a fresh legal battle after a a Portuguese court ruling left a question mark over their involvement in their daughter's disappearance.

Marek Uliasz

Money from the Find Madeleine will be used in the campaign to overturn the ruling in efforts to challenge the claims by former police chief Goncalo Amaral that they had, in fact, faked their daughter's abduction. 

Libel appeal rejected

The move comes after Portugal’s Supreme Court rejected their libel appeal last month relating to Mr Amaral’s 2008 book, The Truth of the Lie, that alleged their daughter died in their holiday flat and they then faked her kidnapping to cover it up.

The door is also now open for the former police chief to sue the couple. Back in 2015 the McCanns were successful in their  libel action against the former police chief on the case, but in April last year a lower court overturned the decision. 

Judges' comments spark new case

The move to launch a fresh legal challenge comes after comments made by judges in the ruling.

While the Judges made it clear in their decision their job was not to decide whether the McCannswere in any way criminally responsibile about their daughter's disappearance they added: 'It should not be said that the appellants were cleared via the ruling announcing the archiving of the criminal case.

'In truth, that ruling was not made in virtue of Portugal's Public Prosecution Service having acquired the conviction that the appellants hadn't committed a crime.

'The archiving of the case was determined by the fact that public prosecutors hadn't managed to obtain sufficient evidence of the practice of crimes by the appellants.’

Concluding Amaral had not acted 'illicitly,' they ruled his book was not a personal and unjustified attack on the McCanns with a 'defamatory intention' behind it which would not be protected by freedom of speech rights.

Sources: The Independent; Daily Mail