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Portugal court upholds ex-cop’s acquittal in Maddie McCann case

Portugal’s supreme court on Tuesday upheld the acquittal of an ex-policeman sued for libel by the parents of Madeleine McCann, the British toddler who disappeared during a family vacation in 2007.

Goncalo Amaral, who had led the inquiry into the child’s disappearance just a few days before her fourth birthday, in Praia da Luz in southern Portugal, was sued over his 2008 book “The Truth of the Lie”.

In the book, he accused Kate and Gerry McCann of concealing their daughter’s body after her accidental death.

Goncalo had originally been ordered to pay the parents of the missing girl 500,000 euros ($540,000), plus more than 100,000 euros in interest, but that judgement was struck down on appeal last April.

The supreme court ruled Tuesday that “Goncalo Amaral did not abuse the liberty of expression”, as his claims remained “within the limits tolerated in an open and democratic society”.

The decision is final in Portugal, but can be appealed before the European Court of Human Rights.

After 14 months of controversial investigations — which saw Madeleine’s parents investigated and Amaral sacked — Portuguese police closed the case in 2008 before reopening it five years later.

British police opened their own inquiry in July 2013, but excavations in Praia da Luz yielded no evidence.