This is not about the incident at all. It is a test case of the dreadful European Arrest Warrant system which NewLabour casually agreed to. It means that a British citizen is not protected by the British courts but can be whisked off anywhere in the EU on the ‘say-so’ of a foreign court. Previously that foreign jurisdiction had to show there was substantial evidence to be presented to warrant a British citizen facing a foreign court. But no longer.
So this is a test case which essentially is brought to protect the liberties of us all, liberties which we have hitherto taken for granted
PRIVATE EYE 1239 26.6-9.7.09
In a blow to the status of the EU’s controversial European Arrest Warrants (EAWs), Britiah student Andrew Symeou has won the right to take his fight against extradition to the House of Lords.
The 20-year old is accused of killing a fellow holidaymaker at a nightclub on the Greek island of Zakynthos. His case is seen as a test over the use of EAWs, introduced by the EU to fast-track extradition without consideration of whether there is credible evidence or even a case to answer. Lawyers for the Bournemouth University student say he should not be extradited because the evidence against him was fabricated and obtained by Greek police who violently intimidated witnesses.
Mr Symeou is accused of striking 18 year old Jonathan Hiles with such force that he fell off a nightclub stage and suffered fatal head injuries. The student denies ever punching anyone in his life, and certainly not Mr Hiles, and says he only learned about the incident at the disco in 2007 after he had returned home at the end of his holiday.
Mr Symeou’s case was first reported by the Eye last August (Eye 1217) after Metropolitan police arrived at his home in north London with the arrest warrant nearly a year after the incident. It has been taken up both by Fair Trials International and Liberty, which has now launched a new “Extradition Watch” campaign.
Mr Symeou recently lost his fight against extradition in the high court after the judges ruled that there was no reason for concluding that the Greek courts would not deal fairly with the allegations about police treatment and manipulation of evidence. But the student's QC, Edward Fitzgerald, said the case raised an important question of law over whether the extradition request by the Greek prosecuting authorities had been brought in bad faith because of the alleged activities of the Greek police.
He said the law lords should be asked to decide whether the concept of bad faith extended beyond the prosecuting authorities to include the alleged police misconduct. Otherwise, he argued, the courts in this country were deprived of a tool which would ensure that people were not sent to languish futilely in a foreign jail while awaiting a trial which should finally exonerate them - or, worse, convict them on the basis of "patent police misconduct, which would amount to a miscarriage of justice".
A panel of law lords will shortly decide whether to agree to a full hearing.