The Daily Telegraph

Mccann parents lose European Court case

- By Martin Evans crime editor

THE parents of Madeleine Mccann are facing hefty court costs after losing their 13-year legal battle with the former detective who accused them of involvemen­t in their daughter’s disappeara­nce.

Kate and Gerry Mccann sued Goncalo Amaral over allegation­s in his 2008 book, The Truth of the Lie, eventually losing the case when the Portuguese supreme court ruled against them.

The couple, whose daughter disappeare­d from Praia da Luz in May 2007, appealed to the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) arguing that Portuguese authoritie­s had breached their right to privacy and also their right to be presumed innocent.

But in yesterday’s ruling, the court in Strasbourg rejected the couple’s arguments, finding that there was extensive publicity around the claims before Mr Amaral published them in his book.

The ECHR found that Mr Amaral’s claims had not had a negative effect on the Mccanns’ “social relations” or their campaign to find their daughter.

The court also said that the Mccanns’ right to respect for their private and family life had to be balanced against Mr Amaral’s freedom of expression.

The couple’s claim over their “right to be presumed innocent” was also rejected because, the court said, Mr Amaral’s book was published three days after the decision to take no action against them.

In a statement issued through their lawyers, the couple expressed disappoint­ment at the judgment but said they did not intend to appeal.

The ruling means they could now have to pay legal costs, which had been on hold while the ruling was pending.

They said: “We took action for only one reason: Mr Amaral’s unfounded claims were having a detrimenta­l impact on the search for Madeleine.

“The focus is now rightly on the search for Madeleine and her abductor.”

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