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Foreign Office acknowledges flaws in Garry Mann's trial in Portugal

Garry Mann
Garry Mann

by Gerry Warren

Faversham MP Hugh Robertson accompanied former Faversham firefighter Garry Mann to a meeting at the Foreign Office to try and get his extradition to Portugal quashed.

At the meeting on Monday, during which Mr Mann was also supported by his solicitor and the chief executive of Fair Trials International, the Foreign Office acknowledged the original trial was flawed.

Mr Mann, 51, who lives in Gordon Square, was convicted in Portugal in 2004 of football hooliganism under temporary legislation introduced for Euro 2004.

He was arrested, tried and convicted within 48 hours in a trial where he was unable to instruct a lawyer or understand the proceedings.

Mr Mann has always protested his innocence and on both occasions during extradition hearings in the English courts, the judge has raised serious doubts about the Portuguese trial process.

The three options the Foreign Office has agreed to look at are:

  • Argue that six years has passed and the legislation was temporary so the case should be dropped;
  • Wait until the case to the European Court of Human Rights has been heard - which would delay any possible extradition for a number of years;
  • Apply to restart the process which would allow Mr Mann the chance to have his case reheard.

Speaking on Wednesday, Mr Mann said: "I'm grateful for Mr Robertson's support and it's starting to look a bit more hopeful.

"After the comments of the judge, who said he believed the trial was unfair, the authorities are now talking and it looks like the Foreign Office will be in touch with the Portuguese government.

"At least it means I won't have a knock on my door in the near future - but it's still a waiting game to see what happens and it still might ultimately rest with the European Court of Human Rights."

Mr Robertson said: "The crucial thing about this case is on both occasions it has been heard in a British Court, the judge has cast serious doubt on both the process and the outcome.

"The original conviction in Portugal was secured under a temporary law without Mr Mann having the chance to defend himself. It is impossible to conclude anything else that the conviction is unsound."

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