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Madeleine McCann parents prevented from testifying in Lisbon libel case by procedural delay

  • Portugal Missing Girl-1.jpg

    Kate McCann, the mother of the missing British girl Madeleine McCann, listens to a question by a journalist as she leaves with her husband a court in Lisbon Monday, June 16, 2014. The couple arrived to Lisbon for their libel action against former Portuguese detective Goncalo Amaral who published a book about Madeleine's disappearance. (AP Photo/Francisco Seco) (The Associated Press)

  • Portugal Missing Girl-2.jpg

    Kate McCann, the mother of the missing British girl Madeleine McCann, talks to journalists as she leaves with her husband a court in Lisbon Monday, June 16, 2014. The couple arrived to Lisbon for their libel action against former Portuguese detective Goncalo Amaral who published a book about Madeleine's disappearance. (AP Photo/Francisco Seco) (The Associated Press)

  • 27c20c6186be3c17570f6a706700670b.jpg

    Kate, centre, and Gerry McCann, the parents of the missing British girl Madeleine McCann, arrive at a court, in Lisbon, Monday, June 16, 2014, for their libel action against former Portuguese detective Goncalo Amaral who published a book about Madeleine's disappearance. Madeleine was three years old when she vanished from her holiday apartment in Praia da Luz, southern Portugal, while her parents were having dinner nearby on May 3, 2007. (AP Photo/Francisco Seco) (The Associated Press)

The parents of missing British girl Madeleine McCann face an unexpected delay in their libel case against a former Portuguese detective after a Lisbon court granted him 10 days to find a new lawyer.

The McCanns are seeking 1.2 million euros ($1.6 million) in damages from Goncalo Amaral, who was part of the police investigation into Madeleine's disappearance from a Portuguese vacation resort in May 2007, days before her fourth birthday.

They say they are seeking damages because Amaral's 2008 book defamed them by alleging they were involved in their daughter's disappearance.

The McCanns appeared in court Monday, hoping to make statements during the closing arguments of the 9-month-old case.

But the McCanns' lawyer, Isabel Duarte, said the judge postponed the hearing until next month after Amaral dismissed his lawyer.