Briton Graham Mitchell faces retrial in Portugal

 

A man facing extradition to Portugal for a crime he thought he
was acquitted of 17 years ago said today his life has been "turned
upside-down".

Graham Mitchell, 49, is wanted to stand trial for the attempted murder of a German tourist in the Algarve in 1994.

Mr Mitchell and his friend Warren Tozer were originally arrested over an alleged assault on German Andre Jorling, who was left paralysed from the waist down after falling off a 12ft sea wall. They were cleared in 1995 in a high-profile trial in Portugal which was recorded by BBC's Panorama programme.

But Mr Mitchell, a photographer who lives in Canterbury, Kent, with his wife Laura and two children, was re-arrested on March 6 by British police acting on a European arrest warrant in relation to the case. He told the BBC that he was held overnight at Wandsworth prison.

The former Scots guardsman said: "We are terrified, I'm terrified, my wife's terrified. Our life's been turned upside-down and inside-out. Nothing's the same. Every waking moment is a constant worry.

"It's getting back to like when it was when I first came back from Portugal - it's hell on earth."

He said he believed there had been an "administrative blunder" by the Portuguese police. British police told him he was wanted for "first-degree murder", although other paperwork refers to attempted murder and Mr Jorling is still alive, Mr Mitchell said.

Conservative MP Dominic Raab, a member of the Joint Committee on Human Rights, said: "This is a double jeopardy case 18 years after the crime and they can't even get the charge right. How can you be accused of murder when the victim is still alive?"

He said there was a "whole range of problems" with the European arrest warrant and safeguards were needed.

"The fundamental problem is that there is an assumption that all European justice systems are the same. There are many justice systems across Europe that are either frankly corrupt or incompetent, and therefore buying into that assumption is not only a sham but we are hanging out our citizens to dry on a flawed premise."

Mr Mitchell last appeared at Westminster Magistrates' Court on March 14 and is next due to appear at the same court on March 28.

A Home Office spokesman said: "The Government is reviewing the UK's extradition arrangements to ensure they work efficiently and in the interests of justice.

"The European Arrest Warrant was considered as part of Sir Scott Baker's review and we will be responding to his recommendations shortly.

"We will continue to press EU countries to consider proportionality when issuing European Arrest Warrants."

Jago Russell, chief executive of Fair Trials International, said: "Graham thought that he had left his ordeal in Portugal, in the past, but nearly 20 years later faces the threat of extradition.

"We hope that Portugal realises that it would be wrong to extradite Graham so many years after he was cleared, and that they withdraw the request.

"We fear that if they do not, there may be little chance of stopping the extradition under the UK's flawed extradition laws."

PA

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Arts and Entertainment
Supporting role: at the Supreme Court, Rhodes was accompanied by a famous friend, the actor Benedict Cumberbatch
booksPianist James Rhodes on the extraordinary legal battle to stop the injunction of his memoirs
Sport
Sam Allardyce
sport
Sport
Steven Gerrard scores for Liverpool
sport
Arts and Entertainment
Bob Dylan
art
News
ebookA unique anthology of reporting and analysis of a crucial period of history
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Day In a Page

Sun, sex and an anthropological study: One British academic's summer of hell in Magaluf

Sun, sex and an anthropological study

One academic’s summer of hell in Magaluf
From Shakespeare to Rising Damp... to Vicious

Frances de la Tour's 50-year triumph

'Rising Damp' brought De la Tour such recognition that she could be forgiven if she'd never been able to move on. But at 70, she continues to flourish - and to beguile
'That Whitsun, I was late getting away...'

Ian McMillan on the Whitsun Weddings

This weekend is Whitsun, and while the festival may no longer resonate, Larkin's best-loved poem, lives on - along with the train journey at the heart of it
Kathryn Williams explores the works and influences of Sylvia Plath in a new light

Songs from the bell jar

Kathryn Williams explores the works and influences of Sylvia Plath
How one man's day in high heels showed him that Cannes must change its 'no flats' policy

One man's day in high heels

...showed him that Cannes must change its 'flats' policy
Is a quiet crusade to reform executive pay bearing fruit?

Is a quiet crusade to reform executive pay bearing fruit?

Dominic Rossi of Fidelity says his pressure on business to control rewards is working. But why aren’t other fund managers helping?
The King David Hotel gives precious work to Palestinians - unless peace talks are on

King David Hotel: Palestinians not included

The King David is special to Jerusalem. Nick Kochan checked in and discovered it has some special arrangements, too
More people moving from Australia to New Zealand than in the other direction for first time in 24 years

End of the Aussie brain drain

More people moving from Australia to New Zealand than in the other direction for first time in 24 years
Meditation is touted as a cure for mental instability but can it actually be bad for you?

Can meditation be bad for you?

Researching a mass murder, Dr Miguel Farias discovered that, far from bringing inner peace, meditation can leave devotees in pieces
Eurovision 2015: Australians will be cheering on their first-ever entrant this Saturday

Australia's first-ever Eurovision entrant

Australia, a nation of kitsch-worshippers, has always loved the Eurovision Song Contest. Maggie Alderson says it'll fit in fine
Letterman's final Late Show: Laughter, but no tears, as David takes his bow after 33 years

Laughter, but no tears, as Letterman takes his bow after 33 years

Veteran talkshow host steps down to plaudits from four presidents
Ivor Novello Awards 2015: Hozier wins with anti-Catholic song 'Take Me To Church' as John Whittingdale leads praise for Black Sabbath

Hozier's 'blasphemous' song takes Novello award

Singer joins Ed Sheeran and Clean Bandit in celebration of the best in British and Irish music
Tequila gold rush: The spirit has gone from a cheap shot to a multi-billion pound product

Join the tequila gold rush

The spirit has gone from a cheap shot to a multi-billion pound product
12 best statement wallpapers

12 best statement wallpapers

Make an impact and transform a room with a conversation-starting pattern
Paul Scholes column: Does David De Gea really want to leave Manchester United to fight it out for the No 1 spot at Real Madrid?

Paul Scholes column

Does David De Gea really want to leave Manchester United to fight it out for the No 1 spot at Real Madrid?