Madeleine Foundation member to attend McCann v Amaral trial in Lisbon

Posted by Tony Bennett, The Madeleine Foundation

One of the most significant libel cases ever to take place in Europe is scheduled to start on Tuesday 12 January.

The libel action is being brought by Dr. Gerald McCann and Dr Kate McCann.

It is being brought against Dr Goncalo Amaral, the senior detective who was in charge of the investigation into the disappearance of Madeleine McCann until he was removed from the enquiry on 3 October 2009. Shortly before then, he had claimed off the record to a journalist that there was interference with his investigation by the British government.

His offence, in the eyes of the McCanns, was to publish a book: ‘The Truth About A Lie’, about his investigation. Controversially, but very much in line with a dossier compiled on 10 September 2007 by senior detective Tavares de Almeida, he concluded that the evidence in the case pointed to Madeleine McCann having died in her parents’ holiday apartment in Praia da Luz. The McCanns are also suing Dr Amaral’s publishers, Guerra e Paz.

The Madeleine Foundation will be represented at the opening of the trial

One of our members has booked a plane ticket and will be at the opening of this important civil trial, which will undoubtedly affect freedom of speech in Europe whatever the outcome.

The McCanns have referred to much of Dr Amaral’s book as ’lies’. When they attended the court on 11 December, when the trial was scheduled to start, they told the press: ‘Freedom of speech does not meet freedom to distort’. The case was adjourned because Goncalo Amaral’s lawyer was stricken with swine ’flu at the time.

By contrast Dr Amaral will argue that the material in his book is factual information from the investigation, backed up by the thousands of pages of documents that have been released to the public already by the Portuguese Police. He will further contend that his conclusions about the likely fate of Madeleine McCann are reasonable conclusions that he was entitled to reach, based on the available evidence.

Each side will bring 7 key witnesses to the Court. At present, a temporary injunction forbids Amaral’s book to be sold in Portugal and the profits from the sale of the book have been sequestrated.

The Madeleine Foundation’s 64-page booklet on the case: ‘What Really Happened to Madeleine McCann? - 60 Reasons which suggest she was not abducted’ is now banned from sale and further distribution following a High Court undertaking given by our Secretary and the book’s author, Tony Bennett. Similarly, we are no longer allowed to distribute our 4-page free leaflet: ’10 Key Reasons which suggest that Madeleine was not abducted’. These publications were based substantially on the information about the investigation in Dr Amaral’s book.

The outcome of the trial is therefore of great significance for us, given that one of our key aims as an organisation is to help find out the truth about what really happened to Madeleine McCann.

As soon as our member returns from Portugal, we aim to publish her report on our website.

Do you want to know more about Goncalo Amaral’s fight to be allowed to sell and promote his book?

You can…

· Visit his website:

· Or sign the petition in his support:

· Or donate to his fighting fund here:

From the Chairman of The Madeleine Foundation, 3 January 2010

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Richard D. Hall: 'When Madeleine Died?'
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