Madeleine McCann’s parents have launched a fresh legal battle over police claims that they faked their daughter’s abduction.
Kate and Gerry McCann launched the legal battle to overturn a Portuguese court ruling that failed to clear them of involvement in the disappearance of their daughter Madeleine.
The legal battle is expected to wipe hundreds of thousands from a search fund.
Their lawyer confirmed they would be using money from the “Find Madeleine” fund in a bid to overturn the ruling, and challenge claims by former police chief Goncalo Amaral.
The country’s Supreme Court last month rejected their last-ditch appeal over his 2008 book ‘The Truth of the Lie’ in which he alleged Maddie died in their holiday flat and they faked her abduction to cover up the tragedy.
Judges backed a lower court’s April 2016 decision to reverse their 2015 libel win against the ex-detective, leaving the couple facing a huge legal bill and the nightmare prospect of being sued by Amaral.
And they also challenged Gerry and Kate’s insistence they had nothing to with their daughter’s disappearance in a devastating put-down which is said to have sparked their fresh legal challenge.
The McCanns have now confirmed they are seeking to get the Supreme Court decision invalidated after launching a formal complaint against the judges’ findings.
It was known they had 10 days to file an objection with court officials.
It is thought the McCanns’ attempt to nullify the decision is based on comments made by the judges in their 76-page ruling that the 2008 shelving of the Portuguese probe into their daughter’s disappearance ‘was determined by the fact that public prosecutors hadn’t managed to obtain sufficient evidence of the crimes by the appellants.’
The McCanns had their status as ‘arguidos’ or official suspects lifted on the same day – July 21 2008 – just three days before Amaral published his controversial book.
Correio da Manha reported: ‘The McCanns have requested the annulment of the Supreme Court decision, terming it frivolous for saying it ‘had not been possible for public prosecutors to obtain sufficient evidence of crimes by the appellants.”
The newspaper said the McCanns had described the ruling as ‘leviano’ in the complaint lodged through their Portuguese lawyer – which in English translates as ‘frivolous’ but can also mean ‘sloppy’ or ‘rash’.
No-one from the Supreme Court was available for comment this morning.
The McCanns’ lawyer Isabel Duarte, asked if she had lodged a formal complaint against the Supreme Court ruling, confirmed: ‘We delivered it.’
It was unclear today if another set of Supreme Court judges dealt with complaints about rulings – or they were handed to another judicial body to deal with.
Amaral was ordered to pay the McCanns €500,000 euros (£430,000) by a Lisbon court in April 2015 after they won round one of their lengthy judicial battle over his book and a subsequent TV documentary.
The former police chief got that ruling – and a ban on selling his book – overturned on appeal in April last year.
The decision by Lisbon’s Court of Appeal sparked the Supreme Court fight which was resolved on January 31.
The full 76-page ruling said to have sparked a new legal challenge by the McCanns was released just under a week later.
Judges made it clear in their decision their job was not to decide whether the McCanns bore any criminal responsibility over their daughter’s disappearance and it would be wrong for anyone to draw any inferences about the couple’s guilt or innocence from their ruling.
But they added: ‘It should not be said that the appellants were cleared via the ruling announcing the archiving of the criminal case.
‘In truth, that ruling was not made in virtue of Portugal’s Public Prosecution Service having acquired the conviction that the appellants hadn’t committed a crime.
‘The archiving of the case was determined by the fact that public prosecutors hadn’t managed to obtain sufficient evidence of the practice of crimes by the appellants.
‘There is therefore a significant, and not merely a semantic difference, between the legally admissible foundations of the archive ruling.
‘It doesn’t therefore seem acceptable that the ruling, based on the insufficiency of evidence, should be equated to proof of innocence.’
They added, highlighting the McCanns’ Tapas Nine friend Jane Tanner’s much-questioned sighting of the suspected ‘abductor’: ‘It’s true that the aforementioned criminal inquiry ended up being archived, namely because none of the apparent evidence that led to the appellants being made ‘arguidos’ was subsequently confirmed or consolidated.