Portugal’s Supreme Court has ruled that missing Madeleine McCann’s parents cannot sue for libel a former detective who published a book alleging they were involved in their daughter’s disappearance.
A court official told the Associated Press that Portugal’s highest court ruled the allegations are protected by freedom-of-expression laws.
The judges also decided his claims were not abusive and “were within acceptable limits in an open and democratic society”.
The official spoke to the Associated Press before the decision was officially published.
A Lisbon court in 2015 ordered Goncalo Amaral to pay Kate and Gerry McCann 500,000 euros (£429,000) in compensation. The McCanns had sought 1.2 million euros (£1 million).
An appeals court last year overturned that decision but lawyers for the McCanns turned to Portugal’s top court.
Madeleine disappeared from a holiday home in Portugal’s Algarve region in May 2007, days before her 4th birthday.
Amaral had argued in his defence that the claims in his 2008 book The Truth of the Lie stemmed from the police investigation.
Portuguese police closed the investigation after detecting no evidence of a crime but British police are still looking into it.
Madeleine’s disappearance sparked global interest as pictures of her and her grieving parents were published around the world.