UK & World News

  • 30 June 2014, 11:03

England Fans Could Face Euro 2004 Riot Charge

A Portuguese court wants to put three England football fans on trial for hooliganism 10 years after they were deported.

The three are named in court papers revealed to Sky News ahead of a hearing in the resort of Albufeira on Tuesday.

The prosecution case involves an accusation that fans attacked police and one police officer needed stitches to a foot injury.

Builder Richard Freeman, from Berkshire, knew nothing of the case until we told him. He said he was wrongly arrested at the time.

He said: "It's a farce. It's the first I heard of it. I'm certainly not going back to Portugal because they might arrest me. What chance would I have of a fair trial?"

Mr Freeman was one of three dozen England fans arrested on the Algarve coast during several nights of violent clashes during the Euro 2004 championships.

Most were held for a couple of nights and then deported and banned from returning for a year.

Many were met at Heathrow airport by Metropolitan Police, questioned and told they would face no further action.

A second suspect, Lewis Andrews from Oxfordshire, said police had told his parents six weeks ago they had a letter from Portugal for him, but he had heard nothing directly.

Mr Andrews said: "Why are they suddenly bringing this up again after all this time? What do they hope to achieve?

"I was just walking home when I was jumped on by the police and beaten with batons. They were just rounding up anybody in an England shirt."

Bruno Min, from Fair Trials International, said: "Our advice to these men is consult a Portuguese lawyer and try to find out why there has been such a delay. It is a surprise, but a hearing could be held in their absence and the authorities could possibly ask for extradition."

The third suspect named by the court is Wayne Finney, from Nottinghamshire. His girlfriend said he knew nothing about the new court hearing.

All three men apparently received a court summons in 2008, but did not respond.

That same year the Portuguese authorities began a bid to extradite Kent firefighter Garry Mann who was arrested during the 2004 clashes, convicted and jailed for two years, but then suddenly deported.

In 2010 he was finally extradited to Portugal and jailed, before being allowed back to finish his sentence in the UK.

Court papers suggest another 21 of those deported in 2004 were considered for belated prosecution, but too much time has elapsed in their cases.

The documents indicate the Portuguese prosecutors have until December to put the other three on trial.

The Home Office said it knew nothing about the latest development.

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