Balcony leap father escapes UK charges

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No action is to be taken in the UK against a man who threw his six-year-old son to his death from a hotel balcony in Crete, the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) said today.

John Hogan, from Bristol, leapt 50ft from the Petra Mare Hotel in August 2006, clutching his son Liam, who died from severe head injuries.

Hogan, who survived the fall, was tried by a Greek court and acquitted of Liam's murder in January this year after judges heard he had suffered an "earthquake" of psychosis.

Following an inquest finding of unlawful killing held in Bristol in March, Avon and Somerset Police handed a file to the CPS to consider whether there was a basis for bringing a prosecution against Hogan should he return to England or Wales.

But today, the CPS ruled out prosecuting Hogan on home turf, on the grounds that no "new and compelling evidence" had surfaced since the Greek trial.

Hogan, a former floor-tiler, now 34, leapt from the balcony with Liam and his daughter Mia, two, after he argued with his then wife, Natasha Visser, during their "make or break" family holiday in the resort of Ierapetra.

Liam landed on his head and died within hours. Mia survived with relatively minor injuries.

Following Liam's inquest, Mrs Visser urged the CPS to consider legal action against her ex-husband, who has been held at a secure psychiatric unit in Greece since his trial, as "justice has so far not been done".

But today reviewing lawyer Stephen O'Doherty, from the CPS Special Crime Division, said this would not happen.

He said: "In order to make such an application there must be 'new and compelling evidence' that was not available at the original trial.

"An examination of the court proceedings shows that there was very little dispute as to what had taken place. Mr Hogan was acquitted because of the evidence as to his state of mind at that time.

"Any 'new and compelling evidence' would have to relate to Mr Hogan's mental state as it was in August 2006. Such evidence would also have to be 'substantial' and 'highly probative' of any case against him.

"The Director has concluded that there is no evidence in this category that would enable an application to be made.

"We at the Crown Prosecution Service pass our sympathies to Mrs Visser as she tries to come to terms with the untimely death of her son and the injuries caused to her daughter."

The CPS confirmed it had informed Mrs Visser of the decision.