12 September 2013
Maddie case: Former inspector's trial starts with questioning of McCanns' witnesses
Three witnesses that were indicated by the McCann couple were heard today at the beginning of the civil process trial, over defamation, of former Judiciary Police inspector Gonçalo Amaral, after a case was filed by the parents of the English child that disappeared in the Algarve, in 2007.
This information was given to Lusa agency by Isabel Duarte, Madeleine McCann's parents' lawyer, on the first day of the trial when judge Maria Emília Melo e Castro determined that there were no reasons for the audience to take place behind closed doors, as requested by Gonçalo Amaral, who attended the Civil Court of Lisbon as an arguido.
Earlier, the parties failed to reach an extrajudicial agreement within the civil case, in which Madeleine McCann's parents requested compensation in the amount of 1.2 million euro over the alleged defamation by the former PJ inspector (who investigated the child's disappearance). The trial started with the questioning of three witnesses - a Canadian and two Englishmen - who are "friends" of the McCann couple.
During this first session, the judge had to adapt the trial to the new rules of the Civil Process Code, a legislative reform that entered into force on the 1st of September.
The trial continues on Friday with the questioning of five more witnesses that were indicated by Madeleine's parents, three of them being relatives of the McCann couple.
In statements to Lusa, Isabel Duarte said that since the beginning, the McCann couple was open to reach an extrajudicial agreement with Gonçalo Amaral, but it was not possible to reach an agreement with the arguido.
Nonetheless, she stressed that the McCann couple's main goal was that the investigation into the child's disappearance was restarted, which, according to her, has already happened, without adding any further details or leads.
In a related process, the Civil Court of Lisbon decided, in January of 2010, to keep the prohibition of the sale of the book "Maddie: The Truth of the Lie", authored by Gonçalo Amaral, and of the video with the same title, based on a documentary that was broadcast by TVI.
The ban of the book and the video, which presents Gonçalo Amaral's thesis on the involvement of Kate and Gerry McCann in the disappearance of their daughter by concealing the cadaver, had been provisionally ordered on the 9th of September of 2009.
On the 19th of October of 2010, the Appellate Court of Lisbon annulled the decision of the Civil Court, after which the McCann couple appealed to the Supreme Court of Justice. In a ruling dated March 18, 2011, the Supreme Court confirmed the Appellate Court's decision.
Madeleine McCann disappeared on the 3rd of May of 2007, in an apartment in a holiday resort in Praia da Luz, in the Algarve, where she was spending a vacation with her parents and her twin siblings.
At that time, Gonçalo Amaral was the coordinator of the Criminal Investigation Department of the Judiciary Police in Portimão.
Kate and Gerry McCann, who have always stated that the child was abducted, were made arguidos in September, 2007.
The investigation was archived due to a lack of evidence in July of 2008, although the Public Ministry admits reopening it if new data concerning the child's disappearance surfaces.
in: Região Sul, 12.09.2013