European court says Madeleine McCann’s parents got fair hearing in libel case

Image of Madeleine McCann.

Image of Madeleine McCann. Credit:

A European court says that Madeleine McCann’s parents, Kate and Gerry McCann, did receive a fair hearing in the Portugal libel case against a former policeman.

The ruling Tuesday, September 20 by the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) is a big blow for the couple who had sued the policeman after he implicated them in the disappearance of their daughter.

Goncalo Amaral, the former police officer worked on the investigation into Madeleine’s disappearance in 2007. He later authored a book titled “Truth of the Lie” wherein he implied that the parents of the young girl had been involved in her disappearance.

As a result, they took him to court suing him for libel. Although the court ruled in their favour in 2015, Portugal’s highest court overturned the ruling on appeal.

The couple then took their case to the European court. There they argued their right to a fair trial, saying that their right to private family life and freedom of expression had not been upheld by Portugal.

But the ECHR found that the Portuguese judiciary had not failed in its duty to protect the McCanns rights. They added that their arguments concerning the presumption of innocence were ill-founded.

The ruling stated: “Even assuming that the applicants’ reputation had been damaged, this was not on account of the argument put forward by the book’s author but rather as a result of the suspicions expressed against them.”

The ruling by the European court that says Madeleine McCann’s parents got a fair hearing in Portugal is another blow for the couple in their search for their daughter and for what they see as justice.

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Written by

Peter McLaren-Kennedy

Originally from South Africa, Peter is based on the Costa Blanca and is a web reporter for the Euro Weekly News covering international and Spanish national news. Got a news story you want to share? Then get in touch at