Wednesday 1 March 2017

Madeleine McCann's parents have not been ruled innocent, judge says

Independent.ie Newsdesk

Independent.ie Newsdesk

Madeleine McCann has been missing for nine years Photo:Getty
Madeleine McCann has been missing for nine years Photo:Getty

Madeleine McCann's parents have not be cleared as innocent in their daughter's disappearance, a Portuguese judge has said.

Kate and Gerry McCann have denied all allegations that they were involved in their three-year-old daughter's disappearance while on holiday in Praia da Luz.

Madeleine McCann's disappearance remains a mystery
Madeleine McCann's disappearance remains a mystery

Last week, the couple lost an appeal against the author of a book who alleged they were involved in the toddler’s disappearance.

Portugal’s Supreme Court ruled Kate and Gerry McCann cannot sue the former Portuguese detective who published the book for libel.

The Supreme Court judges said that lifting their status as formal suspects does not mean that they were innocent.

The court said it wasn't their job to determine whether the McCanns bore any criminal responsibility over their daughter's disappearance and said it would be wrong for anyone to draw any inferences about the couple's guilt or innocence from their ruling.

According to the Telegraph, they said: "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.

Madeleine McCann. Photo credit: PA Wire
Madeleine McCann. Photo credit: PA Wire

"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: "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.

"However even the archive ruling raises serious concerns relating to the truth of the allegation that Madeleine was kidnapped."

The McCanns were lifted of the status of a formal suspect in 2008.

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