Breaking news: Gonçalo Amaral's book copies to be returned today
The 7.500 book copies of "Maddie the Truth of the Lie" are being returned today to their rightful owners, the book publisher "Guerra & Paz". The McCann's libel lawyer, Isabel Duarte, has finally complied with the superior court ruling that ordered the "immediate return of the books" last month. It should be recalled the McCann couple attempted to ban the book of the first coordinator inspector of the Maddie case in 2009 with an injunction that was deemed as going against the Constitutional rights of Freedom of Expression and Information by the Court of Appeals of Lisbon. More on this later.
«We conclude that the applicants voluntarily decided to limit their right to the intimacy of private life, certainly envisaging higher values like the discovery of their daughter Madeleine’s whereabouts, but upon voluntarily limiting that right, they opened the doors for other people to give their opinion about the case, in synchrony with what they were saying, but also possibly in contradiction with their directions, yet always within the bounds of a legitimate and constitutionally consecrated right to opinion and freedom of expression of thought.
We do not see that the right of the book’s author, the defendant, can be limited by a right to the reservation of intimacy that suffered voluntary limitations by their holders, the applicants.
In the same way, concerning the applicants’ right to image and a good name: upon placing the case in the public square and giving it worldwide notoriety, the applicants opened all doors to all opinions, even those that are adversarial to them.
In any case, we understand that the allegation of facts that are profusely contained in the judicial inquiry and that were even published through an initiative of the Republic’s Attorney General’s Office, can in no way be seen as an offence against the right to image and a good name of the subjects in the process.
Finally, concerning the damage to the right to usufruct from the penal process’ guarantees, namely the right to a fair investigation and the right to freedom and safety, we still cannot understand how it is possible for said rights to be offended by the contents of a book that describes facts from the investigation, although it parts from the interpretation that the Public Ministry’s Magistrates made of those facts, yet offering based, solidly built and logical interpretations.
We thus reach a point where it seems to be important to stress the following: the indicative facts that led to the applicants’ constitution as arguidos within the inquiry were later on not valued by the Public Ministry’s Magistrates in order to lead to a criminal accusation, but those very same facts, seen through another prism and with another base, may lead to a different conclusion from that which was attained by those same Magistrates – those are indications that were deemed to be insufficient in terms of evidence in a criminal investigation, but they can be appreciated in a different way, in an interpretation that is legitimate to be published as a literary work, as long as said interpretation does not offend any fundamental rights of anyone involved – and we have written above already why we understand that said interpretation does not offend the applicants’ rights.
In a concise manner:
The book at stake in this process – “Maddie – the Truth of the Lie” – which was written by the defendant Dr. Gonçalo Amaral, has the main motivation of defending his personal and professional honour, as the author points out right away in the preface and throughout his text.
The contents of the book does not offend any of the applicants’ fundamental rights.
The exercise of its writing and publication is included in the constitutional rights that are secured to everyone by the European Convention on Human Rights and by the Portuguese Republic’s Constitution, namely in its articles 37 and 38.
As we arrive at this point, we conclude that the decision that was made by the Court a quo must be revoked, and the analysis of the other issues that are placed under appeal are not justified, as they are considered prejudiced.
The appeal by defendant Dr. Gonçalo Amaral is sustained.
The other appeals are not taken into consideration, as it is understood that their appreciation is prejudiced – article 660, number 2, of the Civil Process Code.» Extract from 'Lisbon Appeals Court Decision on the McCann Couple Injunction' October 24, 2012