Ex-detective faces McCann libel trial

A libel trial will start today of a former senior Portuguese detective who published a book alleging that Madeleine McCann died inside her parents' apartment.

Kate and Gerry McCann launched legal action against Goncalo Amaral after he publicly questioned their accounts of what happened to their daughter.

The couple, both 41, from Rothley, Leicestershire, flew to Lisbon yesterday ahead of the three-day trial at the main civil court in the Portuguese capital.

Madeleine was nearly four when she went missing from her family's holiday apartment in Praia da Luz in the Algarve on May 3 2007 while her parents dined with friends nearby.

Four months after her disappearance, Portuguese police made Mr and Mrs McCann "arguidos", or formal suspects, in the case.

But their arguido status was lifted when the investigation was shelved in July 2008.

Mr Amaral at first led the inquiry into Madeleine's disappearance for Portugal's CID, the Policia Judiciaria (PJ).

But he was taken off the case in October 2007 after criticising the British police in a newspaper interview.

In his book Maddie: The Truth Of The Lie, published in July 2008, Mr Amaral claimed that Madeleine died in her family's holiday flat on the night she disappeared and questioned the McCanns' account that she was abducted.

A Portuguese judge granted an injunction in September last year banning further sale or publication of the book.

The former policeman was also prohibited from repeating his claims about Madeleine or her parents.

The McCanns travelled to Lisbon for the opening of the libel trial in December but the hearing was adjourned until this week after Mr Amaral's lawyer failed to turn up for health reasons.

The ex-detective's legal team is expected to argue that the material in his book is contained in the official Portuguese police files for the case, many of which were made public in August 2008.

Reports in Portugal suggested Mr Amaral plans to call a number of senior figures involved in the Madeleine investigation as witnesses.

They could include Jose Cunha de Magalhaes e Meneses, the local public prosecutor in the case, and Guilhermino Encarnacao, director of the PJ in the Algarve when the child vanished.

Mr Amaral's lawyers also sought evidence from a British policeman, Metropolitan Police Detective Sergeant Jose De Freitas, who was seconded to Leicestershire Police to help with the British end of the investigation.

But he is not expected to appear as a witness in the trial.

A Scotland Yard spokeswoman said: "We can confirm that the Metropolitan Police Service has received correspondence from the Portuguese authorities.

"This correspondence is currently being considered."

In a statement released through their Portuguese lawyers, the McCanns said their main motive for challenging Mr Amaral was to further the search for their daughter.

They also argued that Mr Amaral's book was "against the Portuguese constitution and against the Universal Declaration of Human Rights".

"All the court decisions we are trying to obtain are destined to prove Madeleine is alive and spread the information that her search is worthwhile," the couple said.

It is understood that Mr and Mrs McCann plan to attend all this week's hearings, but do not intend to return to Praia da Luz as they did in December.

The couple are also seeking 1.2 million euros (£1.08 million) in compensation for defamation in separate legal proceedings against Mr Amaral in Portugal.

They have said any damages awarded by the courts would go towards paying for private investigators to look for Madeleine.

News
scienceExcitement from alien hunters at 'evidence' of extraterrestrial life
Life and Style
Customers can get their caffeine fix on the move
food + drink
News
newsRyan Crighton goes in search of the capo dei capi
Extras
indybest

PROMOTED VIDEO
News
ebooksAn evocation of the conflict through the eyes of those who lived through it
Arts and Entertainment
Actors front row from left, Jared Leto, Jennifer Lawrence, Meryl Streep, Ellen DeGeneres, Bradley Cooper, Peter Nyongío Jr., and, second row, from left, Channing Tatum, Julia Roberts, Kevin Spacey, Brad Pitt, Lupita Nyongío and Angelina Jolie as they pose for a
film
Sport
sport
Life and Style
techCould new invention save millions in healthcare bills?
Sport
David Moyes gets soaked
sport Moyes becomes latest manager to take part in the ALS challenge
Voices
A meteor streaks across the sky during the Perseid Meteor Shower at a wind farm near Bogdanci, south of Skopje, Macedonia, in the early hours of 13 August
voicesHagel and Dempsey were pure Hollywood. They only needed Tom Cruise, says Robert Fisk
News
peopleEnglishman managed quintessential Hollywood restaurant Chasen's
Life and Style
food + drinkHarrods launches gourmet food qualification for staff
Arts and Entertainment
Michael Flatley prepares to bid farewell to the West End stage
danceMichael Flatley hits West End for last time alongside Team GB World champion Alice Upcott
Life and Style
Horst P Horst mid-fashion shoot in New York, 1949
fashionFar-reaching retrospective to celebrate Horst P Horst's six decades of creativity
News
Members and supporters of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender (LGBT) community walk with a rainbow flag during a rally in July
i100
Life and Style
Black Ivory Coffee is made using beans plucked from elephants' waste after ingested by the animals
food + drinkFirm says it has created the "rarest" coffee in the world
Life and Style
news

As Voltaire once said, “Ice cream is exquisite. What a pity it isn’t illegal”

Life and Style
food + drinkThese simple recipes will have you refreshed within minutes
Independent
Travel Shop
the manor
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on city breaks Find out more
santorini
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on chic beach resorts Find out more
sardina foodie
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on country retreats Find out more
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Market Administrator (1st line Support, Bloomberg, Broker)

Negotiable: Harrington Starr: Market Administrator (1st line Support, Trade Fl...

Service Desk Analyst (Windows, Active Directory, ITIL, Reuter)

£35000 per annum: Harrington Starr: Service Desk Analyst (Windows, Active Dire...

Data Support Analyst (Linux, Solaris, Windows Server, Reuters)

Negotiable: Harrington Starr: Data Support Analyst (Linux, Solaris, Windows Se...

Helpdesk Support Engineer (Windows, MS Office, Exchange)

Negotiable: Harrington Starr: Helpdesk Support Engineer (Windows, MS Office, E...

Day In a Page

All this talk of an ‘apocalyptic’ threat is simply childish

Robert Fisk: All this talk of an ‘apocalyptic’ threat is simply childish

Chuck Hagel and Martin Dempsey were pure Hollywood. They only needed Tom Cruise
Mafia Dons: is the Camorra in control of the Granite City?

Mafia Dons: is the Camorra in control of the Granite City?

So claims an EU report which points to the Italian Mob’s alleged grip on everything from public works to property
Emmys look set to overhaul the Oscars as Hollywood’s prize draw

Emmys look set to overhaul the Oscars as Hollywood’s prize draw

Once the poor relation, the awards show now has the top stars and boasts the best drama
What happens to African migrants once they land in Italy during the summer?

What happens to migrants once they land in Italy?

Memphis Barker follows their trail through southern Europe
French connection: After 1,300 years, there’s a bridge to Mont Saint-Michel

French connection: After 1,300 years, there’s a bridge to Mont Saint-Michel

The ugly causeway is being dismantled, an elegant connection erected in its place. So everyone’s happy, right?
Frank Mugisha: Uganda's most outspoken gay rights activist on changing people's attitudes, coming out, and the threat of being attacked

Frank Mugisha: 'Coming out was a gradual process '

Uganda's most outspoken gay rights activist on changing people's attitudes, coming out, and the threat of being attacked
Radio 1 to hire 'YouTube-famous' vloggers to broadcast online

Radio 1’s new top ten

The ‘vloggers’ signed up to find twentysomething audience
David Abraham: Big ideas for the small screen

David Abraham: Big ideas for the small screen

A blistering attack on US influence on British television has lifted the savvy head of Channel 4 out of the shadows
Florence Knight's perfect picnic: Make the most of summer's last Bank Holiday weekend

Florence Knight's perfect picnic

Polpetto's head chef shares her favourite recipes from Iced Earl Grey tea to baked peaches, mascarpone & brown sugar meringues...
Horst P Horst: The fashion photography genius who inspired Madonna comes to the V&A

Horst P Horst comes to the V&A

The London's museum has delved into its archives to stage a far-reaching retrospective celebrating the photographer's six decades of creativity
Mark Hix recipes: Try our chef's summery soups for a real seasonal refresher

Mark Hix's summery soups

Soup isn’t just about comforting broths and steaming hot bowls...
Tim Sherwood column: 'It started as a three-horse race but turned into the Grand National'

Tim Sherwood column

I would have taken the Crystal Palace job if I’d been offered it soon after my interview... but the whole process dragged on so I had to pull out
Eden Hazard: Young, gifted... not yet perfect

Eden Hazard: Young, gifted... not yet perfect

Eden Hazard admits he is still below the level of Ronaldo and Messi but, after a breakthrough season, is ready to thrill Chelsea’s fans
Tim Howard: I’m an old dog. I don’t get too excited

Tim Howard: I’m an old dog. I don’t get too excited

The Everton and US goalkeeper was such a star at the World Cup that the President phoned to congratulate him... not that he knows what the fuss is all about
Match of the Day at 50: Show reminds us that even the most revered BBC institution may have a finite lifespan – thanks to the opposition

Tom Peck on Match of the Day at 50

The show reminds us that even the most revered BBC institution may have a finite lifespan – thanks to the opposition