Judges should be dismissed for bias in favour of Madeleine McCann suspect, says prosecution

Three German judges presiding over a rape trial against Christian Brückner, who is also implicated in the disappearance of Madeleine McCann, should be dismissed as they are biased in his favour, prosecutors argued in court.

Brückner, a convicted paedophile and rapist, is on trial at Brunswick Regional Court in northern Germany. He is charged with five sex offences he allegedly committed in Portugal, including three rapes and two acts of exposing himself to children.

The trial is unrelated to the disappearance of Madeleine McCann, in which Brückner is the prime suspect according to German prosecutors, though they are yet to charge him.

In a surprise move which could potentially trigger a retrial, the prosecution said that the three judges who will decide if he is guilty or not in the ongoing sex offences case are biased in his favour.

In a press release, the court said: “The Brunswick public prosecutor’s office has filed a motion to dismiss the three professional judges of the second Criminal Division due to concerns about bias.

“If the division considers the motion to be admissible, the responsible presentative division will decide on the question of bias by the next day of the hearing on August 5, 2024.”

This decision will now be made by the court’s Chamber of Representatives.

Kate and Gerry McCann pose with a forensic artist's impression of what their daughter may have looked like in 2012

Kate and Gerry McCann pose with a forensic artist’s impression of what their daughter may have looked like in 2012 – Sang Tan/AP

It is extremely rare in the German judicial system that such a motion is ever made and if granted it would mean that the entire trial needs to be re-run from the beginning.

This sudden move by the prosecution came after it suffered a significant blow concerning the arrest warrant for Brückner.

Earlier this week, Brunswick Regional Court announced it had revoked an arrest warrant for Brückner related to the sex offences trial. It said the decision had been made on the basis that the criteria for the granting of this warrant were not fulfilled.

Lifting the arrest warrant is arguably a technicality, as he still has to serve a separate seven-year rape sentence until early 2025, but it is still being heralded as a major win by the defence.

Madeleine McCann, who is assumed dead, vanished from her bed, aged three, at the Praia da Luz resort in Portugal in 2007, where she was staying with her family at the time.

In June 2020, German prosecutors named Brückner as the prime suspect in her disappearance, but he has not been charged with any offences related to that case.

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