Portugal’s supreme court upheld the initial appeal of Goncalo Amaral, who lead the inquiry into Madeleine’s disappearance after she vanished, age 3, during a family holiday in southern Portugal in 2007.
Kate and Gerry McCann sued Amaral for libel after he published a book in 2008 entitled The Truth of the Lie, in which he made claims that the couple accidentally killed their toddler and concealed her body. It is understood that he profited up to $600,000 from the tell-all book, before it was eventually banned. Amaral was sacked from the case in 2008, when Portuguese police closed the investigation before reopening it five years later.
Amaral had originally been ordered to pay the McCanns $712,000 plus from than $140,000 in interest, but that judgement was struck down on appeal last April.
The payout would have been added to the official Find Maddie Fund, which once stood at £1million but is now closer to £300,000.
This week, the court ruled that Amaral “did not abuse the liberty of expression” and “was within admissible limits in a democratic and open society.”
The ruling places the McCanns in a vulnerable financial position as they may be ordered to pay Amaral’s legal fees, and could be sued themselves by the former policeman, who they have branded “a poisonous liar”.
The long suffering couple learned the devastating news on the eve of their younger twin children’s 12th birthday, reports The Daily Mail. 'It’s not good news,” a source close to the family said. “We just don’t know what to do but we need to sit down with our lawyer and discuss it.
“We’ve gone to the pinnacle of the Portuguese legal system and we’ve lost. We now have to pay a sizeable amount in costs.”
The news comes at a sensitive time for the McCanns, who will mark the ten year anniversary of their daughter’s disappearance in May. Kate McCann has publicly maintained that she believes her daughter is still alive, and has pledged to never stop searching for her.
“We will never give up,” she has said. “You couldn’t settle if you thought about giving up.”