Page last updated at 15:33 GMT, Thursday, 18 February 2010

Madeleine McCann book appeal lost by detective

Goncalo Amaral
Goncalo Amaral has vowed to continue his fight in the European court

A Portuguese former detective has failed to overturn a ban on his book about missing Madeleine McCann.

Gerry and Kate McCann said Goncalo Amaral's book defamed them and hindered their continuing search for Madeleine.

The couple, of Rothley, Leicestershire, said they were "relieved" by the ruling at Lisbon's main civil court, but Mr Amaral refused to give up his fight.

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

Sales banned

The McCanns' lawyer, Isabel Duarte, said outside court that the judge had confirmed the original decision, so the book could not be reproduced or sold and Mr Amaral could not give interviews or statements about his theory in the book.

The motives of those who have tried to convince the world that Madeleine is dead... need to be seriously questioned
Gerry and Kate McCann

Mr Amaral was the initial head of the police investigation into Madeleine's disappearance, but was taken off the case in October 2007, following his apparent criticism of British police work on the inquiry.

His book, Maddie: The Truth Of The Lie, which was originally published in July 2008, also questions the couple's accounts of their daughter's disappearance.

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

Mr Amaral launched a bid to overturn the ban last month, calling a series of witnesses to support his claims, but Judge Maria Gabriela Cunha Rodrigues rejected his challenge.

'New leads'

Mr and Mrs McCann said in a statement: "The court case has demonstrated, once again, that there is no evidence that Madeleine has come to any harm.

"It has also clearly shown that no police force is actively looking for Madeleine, even, shockingly, when they are presented with new information and leads.

Kate McCann holding up pictures of her daughter
Mr and Mrs McCann said there was no evidence Madeleine had been harmed

"The motives of those who have tried to convince the world that Madeleine is dead, and who've disgracefully and falsely tried to implicate us in her disappearance, need to be seriously questioned."

The couple also called on the British and Portuguese authorities to continue to search for their daughter.

Mr Amaral's lawyers said the material in his book came from official police files for the investigation, many of which were made public when the case was shelved in August 2008.

After the hearing, Mr Amaral refused to consider defeat.

He said: "It is another step and I always said we were prepared to go to the European Court of Human Rights. Now we have another phase of appeal and we will carry on."

The McCanns are also seeking 1.2m euros (£1.04m) in compensation for defamation in separate civil proceedings against Mr Amaral in Portugal.

Print Sponsor

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites

Has China's housing bubble burst?
How the world's oldest clove tree defied an empire
Why Royal Ballet principal Sergei Polunin quit


Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific