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McCanns face-to-face with Amaral in court

Original Source: MAIL: PORTUGAL NEWS : SAT 12 DEC  2009

The parents of missing British toddler Madeleine McCann are to be present at the first hearing in the trial that could see sales of ex-police inspector Gonçalo Amaral’s controversial book ‘Maddie – The Truth of the Lie’ being banned for good. This around the same time that the former police chief is set to launch a new book titled ‘The Gag’.

Published in 2008, Gonçalo Amaral’s first book is currently unavailable, having been removed from shelves following an injunction imposed earlier this year, on September 9th, as the result of opposition from the McCann family. He is soon set to launch his second book – ‘The Gag’ – which is being published by a Spanish editor and is aimed at ‘all those who want to silence him’.

‘The Gag’ reportedly recounts Gonçalo Amaral’s day-to-day life since working on the Madeleine McCann case and includes passages on such topics as his leaving the police force; his role in the Leonor Cipriano case and the effects of the McCann’s injunction on the sale of his book ‘Maddie – The Truth of the Lie’.

Amaral’s first book is based on his conclusions reached from investigations that at one point he headed. One of the most controversial conclusions is the ex-inspector’s indication that Madeleine’s parents were in some way involved in her disappearance.

Madeleine McCann’s parents Kate and Gerry, were expected to be at the first court hearing in the trial against the book’s sale, in Lisbon, this Friday.

During the hearings on Friday next Monday and Wednesday, the Portimão-based Gonçalo Amaral will present his argument to the court.

Kate and Gerry McCann, who are being represented by Isabel Duarte, allege that Gonçalo Amaral’s theories, which are published in the book and in the video based on the book, are in their opinion, unsustainable.

The family therefore asked that the book and the video, which were released after a documentary broadcast on Portuguese TV channel TVI, be removed – albeit temporarily – from the market.

Also named in the litigation is publisher ‘Guerra & Paz’, Production Company Valentim de Carvalho, and TVI, for divulging Gonçalo Amaral’s theory that the parents were involved in Madeleine’s disappearance.

The McCanns are requesting the protection of their rights and freedoms, as well as having instigated a second course of legal action against the former police chief in which they claim he made ‘defamatory declarations’ and for which the family is asking compensation of at least €1.2 million.

According to the McCann family’s British lawyer, Ed Smethurst, the couple claim Amaral made ‘continuous and damaging’ affirmations, in Portugal and abroad, about the child’s disappearance.

Gonçalo Amaral is accused of having profited by “obscene amounts of money for selling his theory via his book and in interviews”, as well as having damaged “donations, new leads, investigations, information and witnesses” relating to Madeleine’s disappearance.

The action against Amaral was filed by Kate and Gerry McCann, along with Madeleine and her twin siblings, Sean and Amelie.

The McCanns have so far received around €700,000 in damages from British newspapers, though Gerry McCann told The Portugal News back in April that he believed the cash in the Find Madeleine Fund will have run dry by the end of the year.

In the ruling in September that banned Amaral’s book, the judge at Lisbon’s main civil court outlawed any further sales or publications of the book.

Mr Amaral has insisted since being taken off the case back in 2007 that there were a number of discrepancies in the accounts given by the McCanns as to what happened on the night of Madeleine’s disappearance.

The order bans the former detective from repeating any of his claims about the McCann family and also applies to a television programme, later produced as a DVD, he made earlier this year in conjunction with TVI.

In May, the McCanns had said they were looking to sue Mr Amaral for defamation over the “hurtful” book’s “unfounded and grossly defamatory claims”.

Mr Amaral has since said he will counter-sue the McCanns, he has a clear conscience and is more than willing to face them in a court of law.

Following the September decision, Kate and Gerry McCann released a statement praising the Portuguese court’s decision.

“We are pleased with the Judge’s decision preventing further distribution and sale of Mr Amaral’s book and DVD –‘The Truth of the Lie’.

“Mr. Amaral’s central thesis has no evidence whatsoever to support it. To claim as he did, that Madeleine is dead, and that we, her parents, were in some way involved with her disappearance, has caused our family incredible distress and it continues to do so.

“Without doubt, Madeleine will have suffered as a result of the negative effect this book and DVD will have had on the search for her.

“Sean and Amelie need protection too from such awful claims.

“Hopefully this injunction today will go a long way towards reducing further unnecessary and unjust distress to us all and allow people to concentrate completely on what is important - finding Madeleine,” the statement read.

In the first and only extensive interview granted to an English-language publication, Gonçalo Amaral told The Portugal News back in 2007 that his premature removal from the case hampered the search for the truth.

“We should have continued investigating the parents in order to either charge them or rule them out as suspects. If I had represented this couple, I would have insisted the police investigations continue. Not everything we do is to incriminate a suspect”, he reasoned, adding: “Often a phone will be tapped in order to obtain information that will clear a suspect”.

When questioned over legal action he would face over his views, Mr Amaral said: “My book is based on facts. It could be a good occasion to take all the case files to court and compare what I wrote with that which is contained in the files.”

Arguing the opposite to be true, Gerry McCann told The Portugal News: “There’s one thing that has been revealed in the case files which is that there is no evidence that Madeleine is dead and there is no evidence to suggest that Kate and I were involved in any theories. It’s about Madeleine. As her parents, I hope people understand that we have to do what we are doing.”

Madeleine McCann was last seen alive sleeping in the same room as her twin siblings Sean and Amelie in an apartment at a resort in Praia da Luz.

Her disappearance took place on May 3rd 2007, shortly before her fourth birthday, and immediately attracted unprecedented international interest.

Gonçalo Amaral holds the opinion that Madeleine McCann died in the apartment where she was staying; that a kidnapping was simulated; her parents are suspects in the involvement of concealing her body; her death could have been the result of a tragic accident and that there are indications of negligence in the safekeeping of the children.

Edition: 1040


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