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Child rape trial against Madeleine McCann prime suspect Christian Brueckner can go ahead, German court rules
19 September 2023, 17:43
Madeleine McCann suspect Christian Brueckner can now be charged in Germany over separate rape and sexual abuse offences allegedly committed in Portugal
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Brueckner, 45, who is currently languishing in a German prison for the rape of a 72-year-old American tourist in Portugal, could now face a trial over a string of alleged sex offences committed between 2000 and 2017.
He had been charged in Germany last year with the sex offences, including the rape and sexual abuse of two children in Portugal.
But these charges were dropped in April after a state court in Braunschweig ruled it had no jurisdiction to hear the case.
Now the higher regional court in the northern city overruled the state court's earlier decision that it had no jurisdiction which means Brueckner can now be charged in Germany over the separate rape and sexual abuse cases allegedly committed in Portugal and potentially face a trial.
"The regional court of Brunswick has local jurisdiction for the charges and must decide on the opening of proceedings," the higher regional court said in a statement.
Brueckner is already behind bars, serving a seven-year sentence for raping a 72-year-old US tourist in the Portuguese resort of Praia da Luz in 2005.
Her parents Kate and Gerry McCann, from Rothley, Leicestershire, spearheaded a high-profile campaign for information about her disappearance.
Despite a huge international manhunt and global media attention, no trace of her has been found and no one has been charged over her disappearance.
In June 2020, German prosecutors revealed they were investigating Bueckner in connection with the case, saying they had "concrete evidence" he killed Maddie.
At the request of German authorities, investigators carried out a major three-day search at a reservoir in southern Portugal in May, hoping for clues into Madeleine's disappearance.Brunswick prosecutors afterwards said "a number of objects" were secured during the search, but that it was too soon to determine any link with the Madeleine case.