Page last updated at 12:04 GMT, Tuesday, 2 June 2009 13:04 UK

Law Lords to rule on extradition

Jonathon Hiles
Jonathan Hiles represented the Great Britain roller hockey team

A north London student battling extradition to Greece over the death of a teenager in a nightclub can appeal to the House of Lords, judges have said.

Andrew Symeou, from Enfield, was accused of manslaughter after Jonathan Hiles, 18, died in Zakynthos in 2007.

Symeou, 20, who says evidence against him was fabricated, recently lost a High Court fight against extradition.

But judges have now decided the Law Lords should be allowed to rule on the matter.

If I had never been born, what happened to Jonathan Hiles would still have happened
Andrew Symeou

Mr Hiles, from Llandaff North, Cardiff, fell off a dance podium after losing consciousness when he was punched hard in the face, it is alleged.

He suffered a severe brain injury and died two days later from his injuries.

The High Court has previously refused to block Mr Symeou's extradition, which was sought by the Greek authorities under a European Arrest Warrant (EAW).

'Considerable misgivings'

But on Tuesday Lord Justice Laws and Mr Justice Ouseley said the case raised issues of law of public importance. They decided the Law Lords should be given the opportunity to investigate.

The judges decided "with considerable misgivings" that there was an argument that extradition should be halted due to alleged misconduct by Greek police.

Mr Symeou's lawyer Edward Fitzgerald QC has claimed the original extradition order failed to take into account the allegation that witnesses had been pressured into making statements.

Andrew Symeou
Andrew Symeou has always denied responsibility for the death

Two of Mr Symeou's friends had remained on the island and there was evidence they had been beaten while in custody, said Mr Fitzgerald.

He argues that the alleged behaviour of the Greek police is tantamount to "bad faith" which should have a bearing on the extradition.

Speaking after the ruling, Mr Symeou said: "I don't feel relief at all. My life is still in limbo.

"I want to see justice prevail. I want to be found innocent and for those police officers to be exposed for the crimes they have committed because this is not the way police investigations are supposed to be."

Shami Chakrabarti, director of human rights organisation Liberty, said: "The shocking story highlights the injustice of instant extradition.

"No-one should be plucked from their home and dragged across the world without even basic evidence shown in a local court."

But the Greek authorities argue Mr Symeou, a Bournemouth University student, will receive a fair trial in the country and that the Greek courts are the correct place to consider all the allegations being made.

Last year Mr Hiles's father Denzil said he was frustrated by the lack of progress in the case.

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