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Garry Mann case highlights need for EU justice reforms

February 2, 2010 3:00 PM

The European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg will rule today on whether they will use exceptional powers and prevent Garry Mann's extradition to Portugal under the European Arrest Warrant.

Commenting ahead of the decision, Liberal Democrat European justice & human rights spokeswoman and London MEP Sarah Ludford who is leading a campaign to improve rights for defendants under the warrant, said:

"Garry Mann's case illustrates how essential and urgent it is that the EU takes measures to raise standards in criminal proceedings and strengthen defendants' rights in parallel with the European Arrest Warrant. It is a disgrace that the UK has been one of the governments which have blocked such action in the last decade."

"So UK courts must in cases of injustice such as Garry's invoke powers that they possess, thanks to Liberal Democrat action, to refuse a European Arrest Warrant if human rights have been breached in a case. It is a great mystery why they are abdicating this responsibility and passing it to the Strasbourg court even if a helpful ruling from the latter is urgently needed for Gary's sake."


Note to editors

Garry Mann, 51, from Faversham in Kent, was given a two year sentence for his role in football violence in Portugal in 2004, but was deported and never served his sentence in the UK. Now his extradition is sought to serve the sentence in Portugal.

Mr Mann was arrested, tried and convicted in less than 48 hours. He was apparently denied proper legal assistance and not given proper translation of the proceedings so he was unable to understand or participate properly. In addition it has been alleged that Portuguese police mistreated Mann, subjecting him to physical abuse and depriving him of sleep.

Section 21 of the Extradition Act 2003 allows a British court to refuse a European Arrest Warrant if human rights under the European Convention have been breached. This was inserted due to work by LibDem peers at Westminster.

Sarah Ludford is the 'rapporteur' or draftswoman for the European Parliament's report on a measure to secure interpretation and translation in criminal proceedings for defendants who need it in EU countries.