The parents of Madeleine McCann have been refused permission to give evidence at the Portuguese libel trial over a book by a former local police chief, according to a family source. Kate and Gerry McCann had asked to give evidence at the trial over Goncalo Amaral's book The Truth of the Lie, which is taking place in Lisbon.
But a family source said they had been refused permission ahead of the next hearing date, which is on Tuesday. The couple are said to be disappointed by the decision, and their lawyer Isabel Duarte is likely to appeal against the judge's decision. An application by Mr Amaral to give evidence is also thought to have been refused.
The McCanns launched a legal action against the former Portuguese police chief, as well as his publisher, and the makers of a documentary based on the book. They say the former detective's claims in The Truth Of The Lie damaged the hunt for Madeleine and exacerbated their anguish.
In October Mr McCann's sister Trish Cameron told the court that the family's pain over Madeleine's disappearance was ''multiplied 100 times'' by the book, while the trial previously heard how Mrs McCann had considered suicide in the aftermath its publication in 2008. Madeleine's mother travelled to Lisbon at the start of the trial, and her husband has attended several times in the hope of being able to give evidence.
Madeleine, who was then nearly four, disappeared from her family's holiday apartment in Praia da Luz in the Algarve on May 3 2007 as her parents dined at a nearby restaurant with friends. British detectives launched a fresh investigation into the youngster's disappearance in July this year - two years into a review of the case - and made renewed appeals on television in the UK, the Netherlands and Germany.
After shelving their inquiry into Madeleine's disappearance in 2008, Portuguese authorities said in October that a review had uncovered enough new information to justify reopening it.