Page last updated at 21:08 GMT, Wednesday, 10 February 2010

Madeleine McCann's parents wait to hear about book ban

Kate McCann holding up pictures of her daughter
Kate McCann holds up a picture of her daughter as she reiterates her appeal

A decision whether to overturn a ban on a Portuguese ex-detective's book about missing Madeleine McCann is set to be made by a judge in Lisbon next week.

Gerry and Kate McCann say Goncalo Amaral's publication defames them and discourages their continuing inquiry.

The book suggests Madeleine, who went missing from an Algarve holiday flat on 3 May 2007, aged three, is dead.

The couple, of Rothley, Leicestershire travelled to Portugal for the case but will have to wait until 18 February.

The book, which was originally published in July 2008, also questions the couple's accounts of the disappearance.

In September 2009, a Portuguese injunction temporarily banned sales and further publication of the book as well as a DVD version of it.

Breaches

Mr Amaral, who initially headed the inquiry into the disappearance, was also prohibited from repeating his claims.

On Wednesday the couple also filed a case against the Portuguese television channel TVI which filmed an adapted version of Mr Amaral's book.

Their lawyer Isabel Duarte said the couple alleged the channel repeatedly breached the ban on quoting Mr Amaral's theories.

He was taken off the case in October 2007 following his apparent criticism of British police work on the case in a newspaper interview.

His lawyers argued that the material in his book is contained in official Portuguese police files for the case, much of which had been made public.

The hearings at the main civil court in Lisbon were called after Mr Amaral opted to oppose the injunction.

Madeleine McCann
The book's author was initially involved in the hunt for Madeleine McCann

Mr Amaral called a number of witnesses to support his allegations.

The McCanns said they found it difficult to sit through the evidence but that they believed they were right to bring the case.

They say went ahead with the challenge as they feared people would stop looking for their daughter if they believed she was dead.

They contended that the book was "against the Portuguese constitution and against the Universal Declaration of Human Rights".

They are reported to be seeking 1.2m euros (£1.08m) in damages over the book and said any payment would go towards funding the private investigators hunting for Madeleine.

After the hearing the McCanns' spokeswoman said the couple were heading back to the UK late on Wednesday, but had issued a fresh appeal to the Portuguese public before flying out.

A full trial examining whether the temporary injunction should be made permanent is due to be held at a later date.

But Mr Amaral has said if he loses this case he will take an appeal to the European Court of Human Rights.



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