Court sides against Madeleine suspect in rape appeal bid

Cheryl Sanders
August 6, 2020

The rape occurred in 2005, two years earlier than Madeleine disappeared whereas holidaying along with her household in the identical resort.

Christian B, a 43-year-old man now in prison in Germany, is appealing against his conviction for raping an American woman in 2005.

Mobile phone data showed Brueckner was in Praia da Luz when the little girl - who was just days away from turning four - was taken.

Observe our dwell weblog for all the newest information and updates. But whether he can leave prison depends on a separate ECJ ruling on the sentence issued in December 2019 stemming from a rape and extortion case.

It was not immediately clear when the European Court of Justice would formally rule, but the Luxembourg-based tribunal tends in most cases to follow such opinions from legal advisers.

But the advocate general argues that as the suspect left Germany after his transfer from Portugal and was later arrested again in Italy, only the Italian authorities would need to give permission for his prosecution.

He was extradited from Italy to Germany two years ago on drug trafficking charges.

Brueckner's legal challenge centres on whether the German authorities needed Portugal's consent to bring rape proceedings because of the 2017 extradition.

The final judgement will be made by ECJ judges at a later date.

If that appeal is successful, Christian B could go free next year, at the end of his jail term for the drug offence.

Last month German police named the serial sex offender as their prime suspect in the kidnap and murder of three-year-old Madeleine who vanished on May 3rd 2007 while on holiday in Praia da Luz with parents Kate and Gerry McCann.

It means that the child abuser, who has been convicted several times, is unlikely to be released on 7 January 2021, buying Madeleine McCann detectives valuable time to build the case against him.

Police said he was regularly living in the Algarve between 1995 and 2007 and had jobs in the area, including in catering, but also committed burglaries in hotels and dealt drugs. Now we must wait and see what the court decides.

"As long as he is in custody, we know this".

The Metropolitan Police maintain their active investigation into Madeleine's disappearance, Operation Grange, is a missing person inquiry as there is no "definitive evidence whether Madeleine is alive or dead".

German police searched an allotment in connection to McCann's disappearance last month.

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