Madeleine McCann suspect Christian B could soon be released from prison after 'bungled extradition'

MADELEINE McCann prime suspect should be released because Germany bungled his extradition, his legal team argued today at the European Court of Justice.

Christian B, 43, is currently in jail serving 21 months for drug offences and last month was eligible for parole after serving two thirds of his sentence.

In December he was convicted of raping a 72 year old American woman in 2005 in her own home just a few minutes walk from where Maddie was taken two years later in Praia da Luz, Portugal.

Today his lawyer Friedrich Fulscher argued that protocols in the use of the European Arrest Warrant were breached when Germany secured his extradition from Italy to Germany in 2018.

Mr Fulscher argued on a technicality that ''speciality protection law '' was broken because he was extradited for the drugs conviction but then subsequently put on trial for raping the elderly woman. 

Christian B was later sentenced to seven years for the rape but his legal team say he should not have been put on trial because Portugal was also not consulted over the use of the European Warrant.

The case was adjourned until August 6 when the European Court of Justice will deliver an interim opinion before a later judgement.

Mr Fulscher refused to answer questions from the media when the case ended.

Last month Christian B was named as the prime suspect in the disappearance of three-year-old Maddie from Praia da Luz in 2007.

Mobile phone data showed he was in the Portuguese village at the time she vanished.

Chief public prosecutor, Hans Christian Wolters, who is leading the investigation says the outcome of the ECJ hearing could result in Bruckner’s rape conviction being quashed.

He said: “The defence seeks to have the rape conviction overturned by the Federal Court of Justice – Germany’s supreme court.

“The defence can achieve this if the ECJ considers Portugal's consent to have been necessary.”

Christian B, who will not appear in court today, will be informed of the decision in his jail cell in Kiel, northern Germany.

Last month, The Sun reported how Christian B is being "bullied" behind bars over the case.

His lawyer Mr Fulscher told German magazine Der Spiegel: “Fellow inmates try to bully him where they can.

“He is pilloried worldwide and easily identifiable.”

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