Mann may serve sentence in Portuguese prison

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The Independent Online

There was uncertainty last night over whether Garry Mann would serve his sentence in a British prison.

There was uncertainty last night over whether Garry Mann would serve his sentence in a British prison.

The Home Office indicated that suspended jail sentences handed down to seven other men in a Portuguese court on Tuesday night were likely to stand in Britain.

Of Mann's case, a Foreign Office spokeswoman would only say: "One person will be remaining in detention in Portugal for the time being."

Mann is expected to be returned to Britain but it was unclear last night how long this would take and whether, if he does return, he would serve the full sentence.

The Portuguese judge ordered his deportation at the same time as the sentence, but the Home Office said that under the Council of Europe's convention, British citizens receiving jail sentences had to apply for repatriation. The process could take months to complete, it said.

The legal rights group Fair Trials Abroad said the treatment of Mann and 10 other British fans ordered to be deported by the court on Wednesday night - seven of whom received suspended jail sentences - did not comply with the European Convention on Human Rights. The convention allows a defendant time to prepare a defence and call witnesses.

Stephen Jakobi, the group's director, said: "It is impossible for such a trial to comply with the European Convention on Human Rights, which has been incorporated into Portuguese law. Whilst rough justice resulting in deportation or minor penalty can be tolerated, serious offences resulting in lengthy terms of imprisonment cannot be dealt with in this summary fashion."

Jon Silverman, a legal analyst, said fast-track cases were in breach of the convention and the way was open for Mann to appeal at the European Court of Human Rights. "You can't have a fast-track system which does away with allowing a defendant time to prepare evidence," he said.