Page last updated at 12:42 GMT, Tuesday, 6 January 2009

Cyprus pair face decision delay

Luke Atkinson
Luke Atkinson at court in Larnaca during his trial

Two men convicted in their absence over the killing of a youth in Cyprus face a further wait to find out if they must serve a three-year jail sentence.

Michael Binnington, 23, and Luke Atkinson, 24, both of Witham, Essex, appeared at City of Westminster Magistrates' Court.

They were set to find out if they had won a fight against extradition but the case was adjourned until 26 January.

The men were passengers in a car which hit a moped, killing a 17-year-old boy.

Their defence claims the Cyprus Supreme Court acted unfairly in sentencing them when they had already been acquitted of conspiracy to commit manslaughter.

Drunken state

The pair were passengers in a car driven by Mr Atkinson's uncle Julian Harrington when it hit a moped in Protaras, Cyprus, in August 2006.

The bike's pillion passenger, Christof Papiris, was knocked off and killed, while the rider was also seriously injured.

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

Mr Atkinson and Mr Binnington said they were only involved "unwittingly" as back-seat passengers in a highly drunken state.

They were initially acquitted by a Cypriot court in February 2007, but that verdict was overturned by a higher court in January 2008.

The pair were sentenced to three years in prison and European arrest warrants were later issued for them to return to the island.

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