Page last updated at 17:09 GMT, Monday, 7 July 2008 18:09 UK

Greece death extradition protest


Greek death extradition protest

Demonstrators have protested outside a court hearing to oppose the possible extradition of a British student to Greece over manslaughter allegations.

Andrew Symeou, 19, of Enfield, north London, appeared at City of Westminster magistrates' court.

It follows the death on 22 July last year of Jonathon Hiles, 18, of Cardiff, after he suffered head injuries in a club on the Greek island of Zakynthos.

The hearing was adjourned to 12 August, and Mr Symeou was given bail.

Mr Hiles, who represented the Great Britain roller hockey team at various age groups and also played ice hockey for Cardiff Devils' junior team, was with friends in the club on 20 July when he was injured in an incident.

It is alleged that Mr Hiles was pushed from a podium on the island, which is also known as Zante.

Mr Symeou, a student at Bournemouth University, was arrested on June 26 at his home, after a European arrest warrant was issued by Greek authorities. His passport was also seized by police.

Jon Hiles
Jon Hiles was on the island of Zakynthos, also known as Zante

During the short hearing John Jones, for Mr Symeou, said Greek police had obtained witness statements using force and he believed Symeou could not expect fair treatment if he was extradited.

Mr Symeou's solicitor, John Tipple, said after the hearing: "For justice to be done it needs to be done here."

Outside court, Mr Symeou hugged family and friends who had attended to support him.

Around 30 people carried banners opposing extradition which they held up outside the court.

Mr Symeou was remanded on bail on condition he resides at the family home. His mother pledged surety of 20,000.

One step at time

Outside court, Mr Symeou's father Frank said he was pleased with the adjournment.

"It's one step at a time. It gives us enough time to try to put a case together.

"No evidence of the alleged offence has been presented to a British court.

"The accuser does not have to demonstrate that there is a proper case to answer provided that the European warrant has been correctly completed.

"The accused person can be sent to a foreign country without a British court being satisfied that justice is being done."

Frank Symeou said prima facie evidence should be required before extradition could be granted and said the family wanted "a hearing held in England, in English not Greek, where we trust the system and we trust the police."

Denzil Hiles, Jonathon's father, was also at the hearing and afterwards he said he was surprised and disappointed the extradition had not gone ahead.

Mr Hiles said he could see no good reason for the five week adjournment.

He believed there was enough evidence against Mr Symeou for him to stand trial in Greece.

"I don't know if Andrew killed my son," said Mr Hiles.

"I expected to hate him, but all I saw was a frightened boy."

He said he had expressed his sympathy to Mr Symeou's family, and they had expressed their's for his son's death.

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