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Man from Wales faced potential extradition over a minor car crash thirteen years earlier

Man from Wales faced potential extradition over a minor car crash thirteen years earlier

Paul Wright, 34, from Flintshire, Wales has been involved in an extradition hearing due to his involvement in a car crash thirteen years ago. Wright has insisted he was not responsible for the crash but was merely a passenger when it occurred. The crash occurred in 2003 but it was not until March of this year that Wright found himself arrested. Wright was absent from his Greek trial but they convicted him of joyriding and criminal damage. Wright had been sent a summons by the Crete authorities to attend a trial on the 2nd October 2006, unfortunately the summons was sent to an address in Birmingham where he no longer lived. Wright opposed the extradition on five grounds; these grounds included the right to family life and the lack of knowledge of the summons.

As Wright’s top London based extradition lawyer argued, before the Westminster magistrates court, Wright had not received a summons to attend court so could not reasonably have been expected to know about his impending trial. The court in Heraklion, Crete tried the case in 2006, he was sentenced to a fine of £3,500 or a 15-month prison sentence in Greece. The Judge presiding over Wright’s extradition case held that he was not to be extradited as there was not enough evidence to satisfy that he has deliberately made himself absent from the Greek proceedings.

Wright had been 21 years old at the time of the incident in Malia. According to Wright, a friend was moving a car for a barman who they were both friends with whilst on their break. They then ended up in a minor accident with a parked scooter. The judge in the case have critisised the authorities on the delay it has taken to prosecute for a minor accident. He stated that the incident occurred in 2003, it took three years for a conviction another three years until a European Arrest Warrent was issued and then another six years until the authorities in the United Kingdom were sent the arrest information.

The judge has allowed the prosecution seven days in which to appeal the decision. Wright has been released on bail pending the outcome of the appeal which is due to take place on Tuesday 7th November 2016. Wright’s top London based extradition lawyer highlighted that even if the prosecution chooses not to appeal Wright is not safe from extradition. Wright could still be extradited if he vacations in a country that has an extradition agreement with Greece. Wright is now looking into how he will be able to visit other countries without the risk of extradition.

Wright’s top London based extradition lawyer have said they were delighted by the decision of the Magistrates court but unfortunately the process so far has caused Wright to suffer depression and anxiety. Wright has said his fight has not ended here and he will be working to encourage the government of the United Kingdom to change the way it deals with reviewing European arrest warrants. According to Wright, countries like Greece are using the threat of a prison sentence to force foreign individuals to pay large fines because they have been absent from their trial.

 

Wright has claimed since his arrest that he had been unaware of the summons and he was only made aware when a police officer knocked on his door earlier this year. The police officer who was from Wrexham station in North Wales informed Wright that he was not going to be taken to the local station but instead he was being taken to London in order to be tried in front of the Magistrates at Westminster. Wright had initially thought the police were questioning him about his holiday in France earlier that year.

The prosecution accused Wright of knowing about the summons and purposefully ignoring it. Wright said that although he had not been perfect he always admitted to his mistakes and he had not deliberately missed the proceedings. Wright went on to state how he is a family man now with two children and a third on the way. The prosecution argued that Wright knew when he left Greece that there were proceedings mounting against him. However, Wright’s top London based extradition lawyer argued he would not have returned to Greece on a family holiday if he had known there were proceedings being filed against him.

According to Wright, he left Greece because he feared for his safety thirteen years ago, not to avoid prosecution. Wright said he had returned to the bar to inform the barman about the accident and call the police. When he returned to the accident the driver had “legged it”. After the crash, Wright then went to the police station where he had been questioned and released. Wright said he had returned to his hotel thinking he had seen the end of the situation and fallen asleep. He was then awoken by the car owner who proceeded to ransack his room, steal €700 and demanded further money on their return tomorrow.

A couple across the hallway from the apartment had witnessed the incident according to Wright’s top London based extradition lawyer. They supposedly advised Wright to leave the island for his own safety, then took him to a small travel agency and paid for his flight because he had no money himself after having it stolen.

Although Wright is not currently being extradited, he is not safe yet. The prosecution still has a few days left to appeal the decision. Wright’s top London based extradition lawyer has highlighted an appeal will not be Wright’s only problem. He still risks extradition proceedings if he visits a country that has an extradition treaty with Greece and therefore will have to be careful with regards to travel until Greece drops the charges.