Madeleine McCann’s prosecutors admit they are cautious about indicting their prime suspect because of Germany’s strict double risk law.
Chief Prosecutor Hans Christian Wolters said exclusively with The Mirror: “If we bring charges and he is acquitted, the case is forever dead.
“In Germany you cannot be charged again after your acquittal, at least not in exceptional cases.
“If we’re hasty now and he was acquitted because the court said, ‘Ah, we still have some doubts,’ then we might not get him later.”
Wolters added to the public prosecutor’s office in Braunschweig, Lower Saxony: “That is why we want to collect as much evidence as possible.”
The 43-year-old pedophile Brueckner was named as the prosecutor’s prime suspect in the Madeleine case, which Germany is treating as a murder investigation.
Cell phone recordings bring him to the Portuguese resort of Praia da Luz the night Madeleine disappeared in May 2007, a few days before her fourth birthday.
A case in Bremen showed how rigid the German law on double risk can be.
A taxi driver was acquitted of raping and killing a child, but years later advances in forensic technology meant his DNA could be matched against a sperm sample found at the crime scene.
Mr Wolters said: “It was very clear here that this taxi driver was the culprit, but it was not possible to prosecute him again … so tragic.”
Brueckner is currently in jail, serving a 21 month sentence for substance abuse.
It ends in January 2021, but he has already been sentenced to seven years in prison for raping a pensioner in Praia da Luz.
He appeals to this conviction.
Brücker’s defense attorney Friedrich Fuelscher declined to comment.
The UK had a double risk law until 2005.
The next year, Billy Dunlop, who was acquitted of the murder of a pizza delivery company, was convicted of his confession.