Parents of Madeline McCann lose legal challenge

Portugal's Supreme Court has ruled that Kate and Gerry McCann cannot sue former Portuguese detective Goncalo Amaral for libel

The lead officer in the Madeleine McCann case will not have to pay compensation to her parents over a book he wrote about her disappearance.

Portugal's Supreme Court has ruled that Kate and Gerry McCann cannot sue former Portuguese detective Goncalo Amaral for libel.

Last April Mr Amaral, who had claimed that Mr and Mrs McCann were involved in their daughter's disappearance, won an appeal against his libel conviction.

After that, lawyers for the McCanns took the case to Portugal's top court.

In 2015, Mr Amaral was ordered to pay 606,000 euros to the couple as their two-year libel trial came to an end.

Now, Portugal's Supreme Court has decided that the allegations are protected under laws covering freedom of expression, the AP news agency reported.

Judges have decided that Mr Amaral's claims were not abusive and remained "within acceptable limits in an open and democratic society".

In defence, Mr Amaral argued that claims in his book, The Truth of the Lie, originated from the police investigation into the little girl's disappearance.

That investigation was closed after detectives found no evidence of a crime.

Madeleine was three years old when she vanished while on a family holiday in Portugal in May 2007.

Her disappearance triggered one of the most high-profile missing persons investigations in British history.

(Additional reporting from IRN)