Page last updated at 10:10 GMT, Wednesday, 17 June 2009 11:10 UK

Pair lose Cyprus extradition case

Luke Atkinson
Luke Atkinson at court in Larnaca during his trial

Two men have lost a High Court fight against extradition to Cyprus where they face three-year jail sentences for the manslaughter of a teenager.

Cousins Michael Binnington, 23, and Luke Atkinson, 24, of Witham, Essex, were cleared of killing the youth but the decision was later overturned.

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

Solicitor for the men, Karen Todner, said an application to appeal against the decision would be lodged.

Lord Justice Maurice Kay and Mr Justice Collins, sitting in London, ruled it was impossible to say the Cypriot trial process as a whole had been flawed and violated their right to a fair trial.

Drunken state

The car was being driven by Atkinson's uncle, Julian Harrington, in Protaras, when it hit the moped, killing pillion passenger Christos Papiris.

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

Atkinson and Binnington were sentenced in their absence by the Supreme Court of Cyprus in 2008.

Their legal team argued that the court acted unfairly in sentencing them when they had previously been acquitted of conspiracy to commit manslaughter.

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

The court had been told that Harrington set off in pursuit of the moped at "very high speed" after a fight outside a nightclub.

It was later discovered that the moped riders had nothing to do with the fight.

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

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