Wednesday, May 25, 2016

McCanns appealing to Supreme Court

          
      - Privacy versus freedom of expression -

The lawyer for Kate and Gerry McCann has filed an appeal in Portugal’s Supreme Court following last month’s Appellate Court decision in favour of Gonçalo Amaral.
This is the latest move in the long-running civil action over the former lead detective’s controversial book about Madeleine McCann’s disappearance in 2007.
The court last month overturned an earlier decision to award half a million euros in damages to the McCanns. The Supreme Court review is expected to focus mainly on legal aspects of the case rather than material issues.
The lifting of both the damages ruling and the ban on further publication of the book was seen as a highly significant decision within traditional areas of conflict: the right to honour and privacy on the one hand, and to freedom of expression and opinion on the other.
Freedom of expression is a fundamental right enshrined in the Portuguese constitution that applies to every citizen, but it comes with certain constraints.
While everyone has a right to express and to publicise their thoughts in words, images or by any other means, the constitution also states that everyone has a right to a good name and reputation, and to the protection of the intimacy of private and family life.
The media have the right - indeed it is their social function - to spread news and give critical or non-critical opinions. It is important that they do so with respect for the truth and for the intangible rights of others, said the three appeal judges in this case last month.
Amaral in his book, The Truth of the Lie, not only included facts that were evidence in the inquiry into the disappearance of Madeleine McCann, but aired his opinion that Madeleine was not abducted. He suggested that she died accidentally and that her parents covered this up by concealing her body and making up a false story.
The facts of the case in the form of evidence in police files had already been widely published in newspapers and on the Internet as a result of an initiative by the office of Portugal’s prosecutor general. Amaral had the legitimate right to describe and interpret these facts.
The allegation expressed in his book that the McCanns were involved in a cover-up was not new either. It was already in the public domain as it was contained in the police files and was the basis upon which the couple had been declared official suspects, arguidos, in the original investigation.
The judges indicated that the McCanns had voluntarily limited their rights to privacy by making themselves available to the national and international media to which they had easy access. In effect they opened the way for anyone to debate and express opinions about the case, including opinions that contradicted their own.
In essence, the appeal judges ruled that the McCanns' rights had not been infringed and that Amaral’s book was a lawful example of freedom of expression.
Many observers would argue that the lawsuit instigated by the McCanns seven years ago is turning out to be more harmful and costly to them than the defendants. It has inadvertently generated publicity of a kind they least wanted and boosted book sales, but they have instructed their Lisbon lawyer, Isabel Duarte, to continue to the highest level.
Even that may not be the end of this dispute. Amaral is considering turning tables and suing the McCanns for damages. 




9 comments:

  1. They have no viable grounds for appeal and they were kicked out by the Supreme court in 2011.
    Time for them to give it up and face the music.

    Chris Roberts

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  2. Of course, they had to drag Dr McCann and Dr Healy onto the chat show sofas, didn't they? They had to hold a gun to Kate's head to talk about her sex life in The Sun. What shrinking violets they are!

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  3. I hope GA takes them to the cleaners. He deserves everything they deserve Nothing. They dont deserves their two children. What sort of a life is it for them to live lie after lie.

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  4. The McCann's think only their version of events should be in the public domain,and anyone who thinks different should end up in court and pay them huge amounts of money. This is totally unacceptable

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  5. I agree with Chris Roberts above comment.

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  6. They have no moral,no decency,only care for money, absolutely despicable persons, whatever happened to Maddie is their fault, they should be condemned and jailed.

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  7. You are quite right, Chris. The Appeal Court judges gave everything close scrutiny and were unanimous in their decisions. I cannot imagine that the Supreme Court will find any differently. I cannot understand on what grounds this new appeal is being made.

    Lesly Finn

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  8. The McCanns probably find themselves in the position whereby they must put in an appeal to continue the charade. They can then say they were robbed of justice by an unfair system blah blah blah, which they couldn't do if they acknowledged the futility of it and withdrew their action. They have to continue the suit because it too is part of the lie.

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