South East Wales

Andrew Symeou granted bail over death on Greek island

Andrew Symeou
Image caption Andrew Symeou has been held in Greece for 11 months

A student held in a Greek jail on suspicion of killing an 18-year-old Welsh roller hockey player on holiday has been granted bail.

Andrew Symeou, from Middlesex, is accused of the manslaughter of Jonathon Hiles, from Cardiff, in an incident at a Zakynthos nightclub in July 2007.

Mr Symeou, 21, who denies being in the nightclub at the time, has been held since his extradition in July 2009.

Fair Trials International called for his trial to begin as soon as possible.

Mr Hiles, who was in Britain's roller hockey team, fell off a dance podium after losing consciousness when he was punched hard in the face, it is alleged.

He suffered a severe brain injury and died two days later.

Mr Symeou, a Bournemouth University student, is accused of manslaughter and his trial was scheduled to begin on Friday at Patras on the west coast of the Greek mainland.

However, due to the absence of key prosecution witnesses, the public prosecutor requested an adjournment.

A new date for the trial will be set by the Court of Appeal in Patras in due course.

Fair Trials International, a human rights charity which is backing Mr Symeou, said the Greek authorities had accepted that the latest delays in his trial were their fault and granted him bail.

Jago Russell, the charity's chief executive, said: "After a long legal battle, we are delighted that he is finally going to be released on bail.

Right to liberty

"We hope that the Greek authorities now do everything within their power to ensure his trial goes ahead as soon as possible."

Mr Symeou will remain in custody until the bail conditions are met, said the charity.

Fair Trials International said it had challenged previous refusals by the Greek courts to grant Mr Symeou bail in the European Court of Human Rights.

It argued that it had been discriminatory, a violation of Andrew's right to liberty and contrary to the principle that Andrew should be presumed innocent until proven guilty.

In a statement the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) said: "It is our understanding that as result of today's court hearing, Andrew is due to be released on bail."

The statement said consular staff in Greece had offered assistance to both the family of Andrew Symeou and Jonathan Hiles.

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