Madeleine McCann suspect subject of 'unfair media campaign' over toddler's disappearance, lawyer tells court

23 February 2024, 10:52

Brueckner's trial is unrelated to Madeleine's disappearance
Brueckner's trial is unrelated to Madeleine's disappearance. Picture: Alamy/Handout

By StephenRigley

Madeleine McCann suspect Christian Brueckner has been subjected to an unfair media campaign over the British girl's disappearance, his lawyer has said.

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Brueckner, 47, is accused of three rapes and two sexual assaults said to have been carried out on Portugal's Algarve coast in a period from 2000 to 2017.

The attacks took place close to where Madeleine vanished in Praia da Luz in May 2007.

The German's trial is not linked to the three-year-old's disappearance, but he was named as the prime suspect nearly four years ago.

The convicted rapist's lawyer Mr Fulscher said: "Since June 2020, our client Christian Brueckner has been under constant worldwide media fire.

Read more: What happened to Madeleine McCann? Timeline of events and developments in the 16 years since her abduction

"According to the Braunschweig public prosecutor's office, he allegedly abducted and murdered Madeleine Beth McCann.

"The investigating authorities have been repeating this theory to the media like a prayer wheel."

Madeleine McCann has been missing for more than 15 years
Madeleine McCann has been missing for more than 15 years. Picture: Alamy

He added: "The results of the investigation have not yet been presented to the defence, so that the accused has not been able to substantiate this allegation. A comparable media campaign of prejudgement has been sought in vain.

"The greatest challenge for the court in these proceedings will be to free itself from these ulterior motives when investigating the procedural truth and assessing the evidence with regard to the accusations levelled."

Read more: Madeleine McCann suspect Christian Brueckner seen for first time in four years as he faces rape charges in German court

Brueckner was brought to court in a police van and arrived in handcuffs and surrounded by guards.

As his trial got under way, he listened to proceedings and looked through a file in front of him.

Brueckner faces trial in Germany
Brueckner faces trial in Germany. Picture: Handout

He made notes and sometimes whispered to his legal team.

It took nearly half-an-hour to read out the indictment.

Last week, the court sat for just ten minutes as one of the judges was asked to quit by Brueckner's team because she was alleged to have made threats against former Brazilian president Jair Bolsonaro.

British police continue to consider Madeleine's case to still be a missing person investigation.