LISBON (Reuters) - A Portuguese court ruled on Tuesday that a former investigator of the 2007 disappearance of Madeleine McCann pay 500,000 euros damages to her parents for alleging in a book that the girl had died in an accident and the McCanns had covered it up.
The Civil Court of Lisbon also banned all sales and reprints of the 2008 book by ex-police inspector Goncalo Amaral, “Maddie - The Truth about Lies”, and a video based on it, a court official said. It had earlier ruled that Amaral had caused damage to the McCanns with his book.
The court said Amaral had the professional obligation to keep his thoughts about the investigation to himself immediately after his retirement in 2008 and had no right to express controversial opinions “as if they were the truth”.
His defense can still appeal against the verdict, which also involves interest on the damages.
Madeleine, then aged three, went missing from her bedroom at the Praia da Luz holiday resort in the Algarve region while her parents were dining with friends at a nearby restaurant, leading to a global search that drew international attention.
Portuguese police initially declared the parents suspects, but they were cleared in 2008 and the investigation was closed.
They received damages and front-page apologies in 2008 from several British tabloids for allegations that they had been involved in the disappearance.
After British police began their own inquiry in 2013, saying they believed the girl might still be alive, Portuguese prosecutors reopened the investigation saying new leads had emerged in the case. No charges have been made.
Reporting By Andrei Khalip, editing by Axel Bugge and Ralph Boulton