Madeleine McCann’s parents have lost a lawsuit over claims in a best-selling book by a former detective implicating them in their daughter’s kidnapping.
Kate and Gerry McCann have claimed their right to respect for private and family life under Article 8 was violated after former detective Goncalo Amaral claimed they were involved in Madeleine’s 2007 disappearance .
The case rumbled on for years but came to a head on Tuesday before the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR), which ruled there had been no violation.
The court said any damage to their reputation would stem from the fact that they had been suspects in the case, not from Mr Amaral’s book.
Mr Amaral was the lead detective investigating Madeleine’s disappearance but was removed from the case after criticizing British police.
Her 2008 book implicated the McCanns in the kidnapping of their daughter and accused them of hiding her body.
The family were on holiday in Praia da Luz in the Algarve region of Portugal when Madeleine, who was three at the time, disappeared from their hotel room.
Mr Amaral was ordered to pay the McCanns €500,000 in damages for defamation by a Lisbon court in 2015, but the decision was overturned and later thrown out by Portugal’s Supreme Court in 2017.
In the latest judgment, the European Court of Human Rights said: “The court considered that, even assuming that the reputation of the applicants had been damaged, it was not because of the argument put forward by the author of the book but rather because of the suspicions expressed against them, which had led to their indictment within the framework of the criminal investigation (the prosecution decided not to follow up in July 2008) and had aroused an intense media coverage and numerous controversies.
“The information had thus been brought to the attention of the public in a fairly detailed manner even before the investigation file was made available to the media and the book in question was published.
“It follows that the national authorities did not fail in their positive obligation to protect the applicants’ right to respect for their private life.”