McCann versus Amaral – Supreme Court Verdict

(Better late than never.)

The initial court ruling was in favour of the McCanns.


This decision was appealed by Snr Amaral, and in April 2016, the Supreme Court ruled in his favour.


This ruling was appealed by the McCanns, but the appeal was rejected by the Supreme Court in January 2017.


Simply (and I may be wrong – I’m no lawyer), the court viewed Amaral’s right to free speech as overriding the McCanns’ right to a good name. To paraphrase, it seems they took the view that, because the McCanns had proclaimed their innocence from the rooftops, then someone who actually knew what they were talking about had the right to say “Well actually ….. ” even if this meant casting the McCanns in a bad light.

The above decision was again appealed by the McCanns, but resulted in the following ruling in March 2017, in favour of Snr Amaral.


In addition to confirming the earlier decision by the Supreme Court, the appeal court also clarified the issue of whether the filing of the case in 2008 implied that the McCanns had been cleared of any involvement in Madeleine’s disappearance (it didn’t, and they hadn’t). They also addressed the issue of the “presumption of innocence”, ruling that it does not in this case restrict the “freedom of expression”.

(Thanks to Anne Guedes for the translation of the documents, and to Pamalam for publishing the documents and Anne’s translation on her blog.)