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Missing Maddie’s father in Portugal for libel case

Published on 02/10/2013

The father of missing British girl Madeleine McCann was in Lisbon Wednesday hoping to give evidence in the libel suit against a former Portuguese detective who wrote a book about the case.

“We’ll listen to what the judge has to say and hope to be heard,” said Gerry McCann as he arrived at the court with his sister Trish Cameron and his mother-in-law Susan Healy.

Cameron testified but the court refused Healy’s request to also give evidence.

“Mr McCann cannot give evidence until the court accepts it,” said the McCann family’s lawyer Isabel Duarte, adding that October 8 was the deadline for the decision.

“He will come back if the court accepts — anytime.”

The McCanns are suing Goncalo Amaral for the book in which he argues Madeleine was killed accidentally while the family was on holiday in the Algarve in 2007, and implicates the couple.

They are seeking the equivalent of £1 million (1.2 million euros, $1.6 million) in damages and have unsuccessfully tried to ban the book.

“I understand the book could have troubled the McCanns’ lives… But it does not contain any new information, nothing that has not already been published,” said Amaral’s lawyer Vitor Santos Oliveira.

Amaral told journalists he hoped he would be able to “say a lot in this trial”.

Gerry McCann made the trip to Lisbon last week but left when the trial was suspended at the request of Amaral’s lawyer, citing family reasons.

British police said in August they were opening their own investigation into Madeleine’s disappearance from a holiday resort in May 2007 while her parents dined with friends at a nearby restaurant.

She was just a few days short of her fourth birthday. Her parents believe she was kidnapped and is still alive.

The court has set November 27 for the final testimonies.