Page last updated at 14:14 GMT, Tuesday, 1 July 2008 15:14 UK

'No decision' on Madeleine case

Madeleine McCann
Madeleine was on holiday in the Algarve when she disappeared

No decision has been taken on the investigation into the disappearance of Madeleine McCann, Portugal's attorney general has said.

Fernando Pinto Monteiro said the case continued to be assessed, after Portuguese media reports that police will close it due to lack of evidence.

Parents Kate and Gerry McCann are both official suspects in the inquiry, along with a third man, Robert Murat.

Madeleine, of Rothley, Leics, went missing in Praia da Luz on 3 May 2007.

She was three-years-old at the time.

'Shelved' reports

Mr Monteiro's comments came after newspaper reports that the case would be "shelved", meaning police would no longer devote resources to investigating it.

He said the final report from the Policia Judiciaria had been received by prosecutors, and it "will be the object of careful analysis and consideration".

McCann family spokesman Clarence Mitchell gives his reaction

"Public prosecutors will proceed to the overall analysis to determine whether or not other action is necessary or whether the conditions are sufficient to rule that the investigation be closed and a final ruling made," he said.

The statement noted that the case remained covered by judicial secrecy until mid-August.

The Correio da Manha newspaper said on Tuesday that sources within Portugal's judicial police said they "do not have sufficient evidence to allow formal charges to be brought against the McCanns in the disappearance of their daughter".

The Jornal de Noticias said the police did not have enough evidence to charge either the McCanns or Mr Murat with any wrongdoing.

"The police have not found the guilty," the paper added.

One newspaper said the case had already been closed, another that the end of the investigation would be announced within the next few days.

Family 'suffered enough'

The McCanns were declared official suspects in the case - "arguidos" in Portuguese legal jargon - last September.

Earlier, their spokesman Clarence Mitchell told the BBC the family was awaiting confirmation of the latest media reports and if true, the Portuguese authorities "must lift their arguido status as a priority".

"If they are true, it's to be welcomed that Kate and Gerry are not to face any charges," he said.

What we don't want is that information to lie on a shelf somewhere gathering dust
Clarence Mitchell
Kate and Gerry McCann's spokesman

"It's quite right. They are innocent of any involvement in Madeleine's disappearance. They have suffered enough."

Mr Mitchell said the family wanted to know whether police planned to stop searching for Madeleine and if so, their information should be made public so the McCanns could continue their private investigation.

"What happens to all those leads, all those contacts? There are thousands of pieces of information in those files," he said.

"What we don't want is that information to lie on a shelf somewhere gathering dust.

"Surely it's only humane and decent that information that could help find Madeleine comes to the investigators, who will keep looking for her, even if the police feel they can't."

Mr and Mrs McCann are due to go to the High Court on 7 July to ask a judge to order police files on the disappearance of their daughter to be released.

Murat's status

Briton Mr Murat lives with his mother in Praia da Luz close to the apartment where Madeleine was last seen. He strongly denies any involvement in her disappearance.

His lawyer Francisco Pagarete said he had heard nothing from the Portuguese authorities about the case being closed.

Asked whether he would welcome such a development, Mr Pagarete said: "Yes, we will, but it depends on the way it's going to be dropped.

"If it's going to be dropped because there's not enough evidence connecting my client to this case or if it's going to be dropped because Robert hasn't got any involvement in this case.

"Only the second way will make us happy."


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