McCanns go to Portugal for hearing

McCanns go to Portugal for hearing

Kate and Gerry McCann are back in Portugal today for the latest hearing in their ongoing libel trial against a former police chief.

The couple are said to be hopeful that they will be able to deliver personal statements to the trial at Lisbon’s Palace of Justice after their journey was rendered pointless last month when the case was adjourned.

Mr and Mrs McCann previously criticised former Portuguese police chief Goncalo Amaral for what they claimed was a “blatant and cynical” attempt to hold up the trial after he removed powers from his lawyer on the morning they were due to make statements about the effect allegations in his book had had on them.

The couple had travelled to Lisbon on what was due to be the last day of the long-running trial over Mr Amaral’s book The Truth Of The Lie, but the case was adjourned in the wake of the former detective’s application.

After the hearing they spoke of their anger, accusing him of trying to wear them down and delaying justice for their missing daughter.

Madeleine, who was then nearly four, disappeared from her family’s holiday apartment in Praia da Luz in the Algarve on May 3 2007 as her parents dined at a nearby restaurant with friends.

The McCanns are suing for libel over claims made in Mr Amaral’s 2008 book, including suggestions that they hid Madeleine’s body after she died in an accident and faked an abduction, saying they damaged the hunt for their daughter and exacerbated their anguish.

If successful, the family stand to gain around £1 million in damages. A judgment is not expected in the trial until later this year.

The couple’s latest visit to Portugal comes after Scotland Yard detectives last week returned to the country to help interview suspects in the case.

Officers from the force’s Operation Grange joined their Portuguese counterparts in Faro last week as they interviewed people of interest in relation to Madeleine’s disappearance in 2007.

The suspects were believed to include three workers from the Ocean Club in Praia da Luz who have been linked to a string of burglaries in the area before Madeleine’s disappearance.

The return of British detectives came after they joined their Portuguese counterparts last month in searches of three areas of land near to where Madeleine went missing.

After the searches, police said it was the ”first phase of this major investigation which has been agreed with the Portuguese” but that there was “still a substantial amount of work yet to be completed in the coming weeks and months”.

Mr and Mrs McCann previously said that the fact police found no evidence relating to their missing daughter had reinforced their belief that she could still be alive.

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