McCanns to lodge ex-detective complaint with Portuguese police15/01/2010 - 09:21:46
Madeleine McCann’s parents will lodge a complaint with Portuguese police alleging that former detective Goncalo Amaral broke his country’s strict judicial secrecy laws, the couple’s lawyer has said.
Kate and Gerry McCann are already embroiled in legal action against Mr Amaral in an attempt to ban his book which claims their daughter is dead.
Now the couple intend to accuse him formally of passing on information about the police investigation into Madeleine’s disappearance before the case was closed – a criminal offence in Portugal.
The McCanns’ Portuguese lawyer, Isabel Duarte, alleged that Mr Amaral broke the law by sending a draft of his book to his publishers several months before the judicial secrecy period in the case was lifted in July 2008.
She said: “It seems that Goncalo Amaral passed information in the case files before the secrecy was lifted.”
The lawyer also alleged that the ex-policeman released facts about the investigation that were not in the case files.
It will be for the Portuguese public prosecutor to decide whether the former detective has a case to answer.
Mr and Mrs McCann, both 41, from Rothley, Leicestershire in England, flew to Portugal this week to hear Mr Amaral attempt to overturn their ban on his book, 'Maddie: The Truth Of The Lie'.
The ex-policeman called a series of witnesses to support his allegations that Madeleine died in her family’s Algarve holiday flat and that her parents faked her abduction.
The McCanns admitted sitting through the evidence at Lisbon’s main civil court was painful but insisted they were right to bring the case.
The couple could have to endure years of legal battles after Mr Amaral vowed yesterday to fight all the way to the European Court of Human Rights if he loses.
Mr Amaral was the first head of the Portuguese police investigation into Madeleine’s disappearance from Praia da Luz on May 3, 2007, shortly before her fourth birthday.
A judge granted the McCanns a temporary injunction in September last year banning further sale or publication of his book and a TV documentary he made about the case.
Mr Amaral’s lawyers argue that the material in the book is contained in the official Portuguese police files for the investigation, many of which were made public in August 2008.
The McCanns say their main motive for challenging the former policeman is the fear that people will stop looking for their daughter if they think she is dead.
The hearing was adjourned until February 10 when two further witnesses will give evidence for Mr Amaral before the lawyers make closing speeches.
The judge, Maria Gabriela Cunha Rodrigues, is expected to send her ruling directly to the McCanns and Mr Amaral before the end of February.
There will then be a full trial on whether the injunction banning the book should be made permanent at a later date, Ms Duarte said.
The McCanns are also seeking €1.2m in compensation for defamation in separate proceedings against Mr Amaral in Portugal.
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