A Birmingham City and England football fan facing extradition to Portugal to serve a jail term will have his case heard the European Court of Human Rights today.
Garry Mann, originally from Birmingham but now lives in Faversham, Kent, was given a two-year prison sentence for his alleged role in football-related violence in the Algarve resort of Albufeira during Euro 2004.
The former firefighter was deported from Portugal and did not serve his jail term in the UK, and the Portuguese authorities have been trying to extradite him under a fast-track European Arrest Warrant.
Mr Mann - whose lawyers have claimed he did not have a fair trial in Portugal - last month lost the latest stage of his fight to avoid extradition when the Appeal Court ruled the High Court had no power to intervene.
But the justices said they hoped for “some measure of justice” for Mr Mann, giving his legal team time to appeal to the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR).
A panel of ECHR judges are expected to decide whether the extradition should go ahead.
Jago Russell from human rights campaigner Fair Trials International - which is supporting Mr Mann - said: “The court is considering whether to use an exceptional power to stop the extradition.
“It is a pretty exceptional power, but I think if ever there was a case where they should use it, it is this.
“I am really hopeful they do.”
Last month Lord Justice Moses, sitting with Mr Justice Hickinbottom, said Mr Mann’s apparent injustice did not stem from what was contended to have been an unfair and unlawful hearing.
He had instead been deprived of proper legal assistance “by two sets of lawyers in two separate jurisdictions on two distinct occasions”.
Lord Justice Moses said the High Court was powerless to act because it had no jurisdiction.
But he expressed the hope that either the European Court of Human Rights would intervene or the diplomatic authorities in the UK or Portugal “can strive to achieve some measure of justice for Mr Mann, a justice of which he as been so signally deprived by those on whom he had previously relied”.
Det Con Rutter, an officer with Humberside Police with 29 years and six months’ standing who attended the trial to advise the Portuguese police officers on English supporters at Euro 2004, described it as “a farce”, the court heard.
According to Det Con Rutter, there was no adequate and proper interpretation and Mr Mann did not understand most of the proceedings.
But Mr Mann’s Portuguese lawyer failed to file the proper documents for an appeal in the correct manner within the required time.
In June 2004 Mr Mann was permitted to leave Portugal through an “order for voluntary departure”.