Madeleine McCann’s prosecutors admit they are wary of impeaching their prime suspect because of Germany’s strict double threat law.
Exclusive to The Mirror, Chief Prosecutor Hans Christian Wolters said: “If we press charges and he is acquitted, the case will be dead forever.
“In Germany, once you are acquitted, you cannot be charged again, at least only in very exceptional cases.
“If we’re in a hurry now and he was acquitted because the court said, ‘Ah, we still have a few doubts,’ we wouldn’t be able to get him later.”
Speaking from the Public Prosecution Service in Braunschweig, Lower Saxony, Mr. Wolters added: “That’s why we want to collect as much evidence as possible.”
Pedophile Brueckner, 43, was named as the prosecution’s prime suspect in the Madeleine case, which is treating Germany as a murder investigation.
Cell phone data places him in the Portuguese resort of Praia da Luz on the night Madeleine disappeared in May 2007, a few days before her fourth birthday.
A case in Bremen illustrated how rigid the German double threats law can be.
A taxi driver was acquitted of raping and murdering a child, but years later, advances in forensic technology allowed his DNA to be compared to a semen sample found at the crime scene.
Mr. Wolters said: “Here it was perfectly clear that this taxi driver was the culprit, but it was not possible to accuse him again … so tragic.”
Brueckner is currently in prison and is serving a 21-month sentence for drug trafficking.
It will end in January 2021, but he has already been sentenced to seven years for raping a pensioner in Praia da Luz.
He is appealing against this conviction.
Brueckner’s attorney Friedrich Fuelscher declined to comment.
The UK had a law with double threats until 2005.
The following year, Billy Dunlop, acquitted of the murder of a pizza delivery boy, was convicted after his confession.