Top lawyer for Maddy’s parents

The parents of missing British girl Madeleine McCann have hired one of Portugal's top lawyers to head up their defence team, according to press reports.


Rogerio Alves, the president of the Portuguese Bar, told the Diario de Noticias: "If I accepted the job, it's because I believe there are good reasons to do so."

"The important thing is to discover exactly what happened, to see that justice is done, and if possible, find the child," he adds.

Team of lawyers

Mr Alves, whose presidency comes to a close at the end of November, now joins another highly-regarded lawyer, Carlos Pinto de Abreu, on the McCanns' defence team.

Pinto de Abreu has been in place since the start of September.

Although the Portugese police have declared the couple official suspects in the case, they have never made specific their suspicions.

Instead, the couple's friends and family have let it be known that they are suspected of a possible involuntary manslaughter and subsequent disposal of the body.

The McCanns have also hired another prestigious law firm in London.

hey are taking advice from the firm Kingsley Napley — one of whose clients was the late Chilean dictator Augusto Pinochet.

According to Diario de Noticias, each of the Portugese lawyers will concentrate exclusively on the defence of one of the couple.

Richard Branson donation

Earlier this week the British billionaire tycoon Richard Branson donated 143,000 euros ($A232,760) to the couples' legal defence fund.

The McCanns have also recruited former BBC journalist Clarence Mitchell as their press spokesman.

They say three-year old Madeleine disappeared on the night of May 3rd from her room in a holiday complex at Praia da Luz.

She was sleeping in the same room as her younger twin brother and sister, whilst her parents dined with friends at a nearby restaurant.

Madeleine would have celebrated her fourth birthday in the week after her disappearance.

After a summer-long campaign across Europe to find their daughter, the McCanns have now returned to their home in the English midlands.

British newspapers reported on Friday that the MaCanns are willing to take lie detector tests to clear their name.