Man in court over Crete murder bid case

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The Independent Online

A man will appear in court today wanted for extradition to Greece over the attempted murder of a British holidaymaker.

Joseph Bruckland, 20, of Hookwood, Surrey, will appear at City of Westminster Magistrates' Court suspected of involvement in a savage mob attack on footballer Robert Hughes in Malia, Crete, in June 2008.

Last month a judge at the same court granted an extradition request against five other men accused over the attack in which Hughes was stabbed with a broken bottle and had his head stamped on.

The 28-year-old victim, who once played for Sutton United, suffered brain damage and was left in a coma for two months as he underwent three operations to save his life.

District Judge Caroline Tubbs said there was no reason the five suspects, all from Surrey and West Sussex, should not travel to Greece to stand trial.

The five men are Curtis Taylor, 20, Daniel Bell, 21, a former soldier who served in Afghanistan with the 1st Rifles, and Sean Branton, 20, all from Horley, Surrey; Benjamin Herdman, 20, from Worth, West Sussex, and George Hollands, 22, from Reigate, Surrey.

They are appealing against the extradition on the basis it would be in breach of European law governing the right to a fair trial.

All six suspects were arrested last December after they refused to return to Greece in June for a preliminary court hearing and European arrest warrants were issued.

The young men were told they could be jailed for between three and 10 years if found guilty, and could spend up to 18 months in prison while awaiting trial.

The victim suffered a brain injury in the attack, which meant he lost memories since his teens.