Thursday, 21 October 2010

Duarte Levy: Court of Appeal annuls the McCanns' injunction.




(More information here ) -This Tuesday, the Appeal Court annulled the injunction files by Madeleine McCann's parents against the book written by the former Portuguese Policia Judiaria (PJ), Gonçalo Amaral.

The decision to ban the sale of the book and the video was handed down on January 14th by Lisbon's Civil Court judge Cunha Rodrgues, following a previous preliminary decision in September 2009. The injunction followed a request by lawyer Isabel Duarte in the name of the five members of the McCann clan, which included the missing child Maddie.

The decision banned the marketing of the book, "Maddie: The Truth of the Lie," - in Portuguese, "Maddie: A Verdade da Mentira." - and the distribution of a documentary of the same title which had initially been broadcast by the television channel TVI and marketed with the newspaper Correio da Manha.

According to a source close to Gonçalo Amaral, the former coordinator, who defends the theory of Kate and Gerry McCann's involvement in the disappearance of their daughter in May 2007, received the news, "with satisfaction and relief to see that justice has been done."

In France, the news was also well received by officials of a television channel which had previously bought broadcasting rights for the documentary. This morning, the court accepted the petition introduced by lawyer Antonio Cabrita and ordered the immediate replacement of the work in the usual points of sale.

The court's decision also recognised the rights of speech of the former investigator, who was until now banned from giving interviews in Portugal and abroad.

The former coordinator - police chief - regains freedom of speech.

Gonçalo Amaral received the news with satisfaction, considering that the decision by the Court of Appeal had just "reinforced Portuguese democracy," stressing that his book, "was an exercise in citizenship and freedom of expression and that to ban it was unconstitutional."

The former coordinator - chief of the Portuguese PJ, admitted that he was now more calm to face the two other court cases against him on behalf of Kate and Gerry McCann.

Madeleine's parents, as they have done in several instances in the past, have initiated an action in the civil courts accusing the former police officer of defamation, demanding this time 1.2 million Euros in compensation. In a second action, Gonçalo Amaral is accused by the couple's lawyer of having violated the secrecy of justice.

"This decision means that Dr Gonçalo Amaral is now free to express himself on all aspects of the McCann case. It means that the Lisbon Court of Appeal considered that there isn't, and there never was, in the book and in the video, any offence to the McCann couple's good name and considered that Dr Gonçalo Amaral did nothing but exercise a legal right, moreover backed up by more than twenty-six years of experience in criminal investigation," stated Antonio Cabrita, the lawyer representing the former coordinator, chief of the Policia Judiciaria.

As a reminder, the book, "Maddie: The Truth of the Lie," maintains the theory that Madeleine McCann died in the holiday apartment occupied by her family in the south of Portugal in May 2007 and that her parents hid her.

The decision to ban the sale of the book and the video was handed down on January 14th by judge Cunha Rodrigues, of the Lisbon Civil Court, following a previous preliminary decision in September 2009.

The McCanns voluntarily limited their right to a private life.

Today the judges revoked the injunction, considering that, "the contents of the book do not infringe any of the fundamental rights," of the McCanns.

"The exercise of its writing and publication is contained in the constitutional rights guaranteed to all by the European Convention on Human Rights and by the Constitution of the Portuguese Republic (relating to freedom of expression and information and freedom of the press and the media)," states the ruling from the judges, Francisco Bruto da Costa, Catarina Arelo Mando and Antonio Valente.

With regard to the accusations that Gonçalo Amaral had damaged the couple's reputation and infringed the McCanns' privacy, the judges concluded that it was the couple themselves who, "opened the door," and therefore others may express themselves concerning Maddie's disappearance.

"As regards that which concerns the private life of the claimants (the McCanns), it is they themselves who were everywhere at once in interviews and talks before the media, providing them with information which, otherwise, would never have been disclosed." It is they who, "voluntarily decided to limit their right to a private life," states the ruling.


Also in The Tribune:


Gonçalo Amaral's book "The Truth of the Lie," - what the Appeal Court judges said.


Reported by Ana Paula Azevedo 19/10/10

The Lisbon court of Appeal has awarded judgment in favour of the former Policia Judiciaria inspector, Gonçalo Amaral, concerning the injunction that had been filed by Madeleine McCann's parents.

On Thursday of last week, the Appeal Court judges overturned the ban that had been imposed by the Lisbon Civil Court on the distribution and sale of the book, "The Truth of the Lie," (A Verdade da Mentira) as well as on interviews and television reports about the same in Portugal and abroad.

The McCanns claimed that Gonçalo Amaral's book and his interviews about it, had caused, "very serious and irreparable damage," to their family and in particular to their children, twins Sean and Amelie. They invoked infringement of their privacy and family life and damage to their reputation and good image.

However, for the Lisbon Court of Appeal, "the book's contents do not infringe any of the claimants' fundamental rights. The exercise of writing and publication is enshrined in the constituional rights granted to all by the European Convention on Human Rights and by the Constitution of the Republic of Portugal." (Relating to freedom of expression and information and freedom of the press and the media.)

We note that the investigation into Maddie's disappearance, which was coordinated by Gonçalo Amaral, ended by being archived without any conclusive certainty about what had happened to the three-year-old child. In the book, "The Truth of the Lie," the former inspector claims that Maddie died in her parents' holiday apartment in Praia da Luz, probably as a result of an accident, on May 3rd 2007 - after which the McCann couple, with the help of their holiday friends, hid her body. Gonçalo Amaral also claims that he was forced to write the book to defend his reputation and to restore his professional honour, since at a certain point, he was removed from the investigation before it was concluded by a decision from the National Directorate of the Policia Judiciaria.

The Appeal Court judges compared the contents of the book with the final report of the investigation into Maddie's disappearance, "The book does not include any facts which are not also included in that final report. Where the author differs from the attorneys who drafted that report is in the logical interpretation of those facts from a police work point of view. In this respect, there is the right of opinion, moreover in an area in which the author is an expert, since he had been a criminal investigator for 26 years."

"With reference to the complainants' (the McCanns') privacy, they themselves have given many interviews and talks for the media with information that would not otherwise have been made public," and that, "they voluntarily placed limits on their rights to privacy, in order to achieve higher goals such as the discovery of their daughter's whereabouts."

In doing so, "they opened the doors for others to express their opinion on the subject, about what was being said and also to contradict what was being said, always within a legal and constitutionally guaranteed right to respond and freedom of expression of opinion."

The judgment was handed down by judges Francisco Bruto da Costa, Catarina Arel Mando and Antonio Valente.

Report ends.

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