Page last updated at 11:57 GMT, Friday, 5 September 2008 12:57 UK

Men in Cyprus extradition setback

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The cousins were sentenced in their absence in April

Two men fighting extradition to Cyprus to serve a three-year jail term for manslaughter face a further wait as they continue their legal battle.

Michael Binnington, 22, and Luke Atkinson, 23, of Witham, had originally been cleared of blame over the death of Christos Papiris, 17, in a crash.

This was overturned and they were sentenced in their absence in April.

A City of Westminster Magistrates' Court Judge Quentin Purdy ruled the men had deliberately chosen not to attend.

The judge ruled Atkinson and Binnington were aware of the appeal at the Supreme Court in Cyprus because lawyers were present.

He found they did realise the nature of the hearing, but "seemed reasonably relaxed to continue proceedings, perhaps given their geographical position in the UK".

He adjourned the case to 19 September when another hearing date will be set. Both men are on bail.

It must now be decided whether the trial in Cyprus was fair and in compliance with the Human Rights Act.

'Sought revenge'

The two men, who are cousins, were in a car driven by their uncle, Julian Harrington, in Protaras, Cyprus, in 2006 when it hit a moped.

Mr Papiris was knocked off the bike and died while Marios Demetriou was seriously injured.

Prosecutors claimed earlier that the men set out to take revenge on the Cypriot after a fight outside a nightclub.

Binnington and Atkinson were originally acquitted after a court decided the prosecution had not proved they had conspired with Harrington to harm the motorcyclist and two of his friends.

But the Supreme Court ruled evidence showed the pair had "undoubtedly encouraged and had common purpose with" Harrington to "seek, pursue and punish" the Cypriot teenagers.

Harrington, also from Witham, is serving a 15-year jail sentence after admitting manslaughter and causing grievous bodily harm.


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