Extradition threat after 2003 Crete holiday crash

BBC — A man from Wales  who was involved in a car crash in Crete  in 2003 is facing extradition to serve a prison sentence there.

Paul Wright, from Mold, in Flintshire was released after being interviewed by Greek police.

But he was arrested in March this year after being convicted in his absence by a Greek court of joyriding and criminal damage.

Mr Wright faces a £3,500 fine or a 15 month prison sentence.

The Foreign Office said it was unable to comment on Mr Wright’s case.

He was on holiday with friends in Malia, Crete when he got into a car belonging to a Greek barman.

He claims his friend crashed it, ran off and left him to explain the damage.

“I jumped in the car with him and he goes tearing down the street, crashes into a scooter and runs away,” said Mr Wright.

The next day he said the car’s owner took around 700 euros from his hotel room and threatened to come back for more.

He returned home, but was arrested by North Wales Police earlier this year, who told him he was the subject of a European arrest warrant.

“I was shocked,” he said.

“These people should be following some sort of procedure to actually summons you, and tell you what’s going on.

“I didn’t even get a chance to defend myself.”

Threat of prison

Mr Wright is unable to work due to a spinal condition and cannot afford to pay the fine.

His solicitor is fighting the extradition and his case is being supported by MP David Hanson, who said it is unfair for a person to be convicted in their absence with no opportunity to defend themselves.

“There are some serious questions which need to be answered,” said Mr Hanson.

Mr Wright is also appealing to the UK Government to change the way it reviews European arrest warrants.

He said countries like Greece are using the threat of prison to force foreigners convicted in their absence to pay large fines.

Mr Wright is due to appear before Westminster Magistrates Court on 1 November.

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