Kate and Gerry McCann (right) outside court in Lisbon Goncalo Amaral won another adjournment in libel trial
Kate and Gerry McCann (right) outside court in Lisbon where Goncalo Amaral won another adjournment in libel trial. Reuters

The parents of Madeleine McCann have been left angry and frustrated following another delay in a libel trial centring on their daughter's disappearance.

Gerry McCann told the world "it's Madeleine who is suffering", after the man he and his wife are suing for defamation won a fourth adjournment.

Ex-police chief Goncalo Amaral, 55, wrote in his book The Truth Of The Lie that Madeleine was dead and claimed that the McCanns lied about her disappearance.

The couple learned of the hold-up to the trial only after travelling from the UK to attend proceedings in Lisbon, the capital city of Portugal. Amaral dramatically fired his own lawyer at the last minute, just as proceedings were due to get underway.

Hitting out at what he claimed was a deliberate ploy to buy more time by the defendant, Gerry McCann told waiting reporters: "Today is a blatant and cynical attempt to wear us down and it's Madeleine who is suffering. We're not going to give up – we're going to keep going.

"We're exasperated that the hearing has been cancelled once again at Mr Amaral's request – this is the fourth time this has happened and we've travelled to Portugal.

"The legal case has been running now for over five years and we want to get justice for Madeleine."

Kate McCann also vented anger about the episode, calling it "blatant and cynical". She defended bringing the libel action - which has rumbled on for four years - on the grounds that Amaral's book had caused so much "pain and distress" to their two other children and them too.

She said: "This has happened about four times. This can't be seen as anything but blatant and cynical."

Clearly angry and upset, she went on: "We need to make it clear to people: we took on this case because of the pain and distress that Mr Amaral has brought to us and our children.

"Mr Amaral is not the victim in this."

Mrs McCann also detailed all the arrangements she and her husband had had to make to get to Lisbon, saying: "Every time we come here we have to make arrangements for our children to be looked after, we have to take time off work."

The legal hold-up comes after British police concluded a search of land nearear the hotel from which Madeleine vanished in Praia da Luz, during a family holiday in 2007.

Kate and Gerry McCann hailed the absence of any findings as a sign their daughter could still be alive.

In a statement the McCanns said: "We are further encouraged that despite the intensive searches, no trace of Madeleine has been found and this reinforces our belief that she could still be alive."