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Christian B trial: Madeleine McCann suspect cannot get a fair trial, defence claims

The sex crimes trial of the main suspect in the Madeleine McCann case has been held up after the defence accused prosecutors of creating worldwide prejudice against him.

Lawyers for Christian B, 46, told a German court that he could not get a fair trial on rape and sex assault charges because prosecutors had consistently accused him of abducting British toddler Madeleine McCann who vanished in Portugal 17 years ago.

Defence lawyer Atilla Ayak asked judges to remove one of the prosecutors in the trial that is being held in the city of Braunschweig, Germany.

Christian B – as he is known under German privacy laws – is accused of three rapes and two sex assaults, crimes he allegedly committed over 20 years in Portugal where he once lived. He denies the charges, none of which are related to the McCann case.

The defence team said that in statements, press conferences and media interviews German prosecutors have given the impression Christian B killed Madeleine, though he has not been charged in connection with her disappearance and he denies any involvement.

Madeleine McCann. Pic: Handout/ PA
Image:
Madeleine McCann. Pic: Handout/ PA

In tense exchanges, prosecutors accused the defence of using delaying tactics to hold up the expected appearance of a key witness against Christian B.

His former friend Helge Busching triggered investigators’ focus on Christian B in the Madeleine case in 2017 when he told them his friend had “confessed” to the abduction.

He claimed that in a bar room conversation, Christian B had told him: “She didn’t scream when I took her.”

In today’s hearing Mr Busching is expected to tell the court that he found a video tape at Christian B’s old home in Portugal in which his friend appeared to have filmed himself raping an unidentified elderly woman and a teenage girl.

Investigators have never found the tape, but Mr Busching’s evidence helped form the basis of two of the rape charges in the trial.

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Christian B
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Christian B denies the charges

Christian B, a German drifter, is also accused of raping an Irish former holiday rep Hazel Behan in Portugal in 2005 and sexually assaulting two young girls.

He is currently halfway through a seven-year jail sentence for raping an elderly American woman in Praia da Luz, the same Portuguese resort where Madeleine vanished from her family’s rented holiday apartment in 2007.

The sex crimes trial is expected to continue into the summer.

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