England fan claims he was victim of police brutality
A CONVICTED hooligan deported from Portugal last week after hundreds of English football fans rioted through an Algarve resort has spoken out for the first time on his arrest.
Gary Mann, a 46-year-old firefighter from Faversham, Kent, claimed he had been a victim of police brutality and that the two-year jail sentence handed to him by a Portuguese court was illegal.
Mr Mann, who was among dozens of fans deported from Portugal over the weekend, last night revealed his determination to appeal against his conviction by a Portuguese court for his role in what the authorities in the Algarve labelled as "football-related violence" in Albufeira.
Last week a total of 48 English football supporters were deported from Portugal after hundreds of fans rampaged through the resort during a series of clashes with heavily armed riot police.
On Sunday the Home Secretary, David Blunkett, broke ministerial protocol to speak of his outrage after Mr Mann, a father of two - the only detained fan to be handed a prison sentence for his role in events - was mistakenly allowed to walk free from prison in the Algarve.
Yesterday Mr Mann, who was convicted of orchestrating violence along Albufeira’s bar-strip, said that despite his release from custody he was determined to clear his name. The accused fireman also claimed that his brother and friend had both provided evidence during the court hearing to confirm his alibi and claimed that CCTV footage which could have cleared his name had been destroyed.
He also said that English translators in the court had struggled, leaving him unable to follow the proceedings properly and that he was still seeking clarification of his exact sentence.
He said: "I feel thoroughly victimised by a wholly unfair trial. I hope this matter is resolved swiftly, as me and my family are devastated by these events and all the media coverage."
On Sunday Mr Blunkett said he was already investigating ways to transfer the sentence to a UK jail after it emerged that Mr Mann’s two-year prison sentence in Portugal couldn’t be automatically transferred.
He said: "I am working very hard on this because I haven’t given up on the idea that we are going to be able to nail this individual."
Despite Mr Blunkett’s comments, Stephen Jakobi from Fair Trials Abroad, which works to overturn miscarriages of justice, yesterday announced his backing for Mr Mann, expressing serious concerns about the handling of the case.
Mr Jakobi said a new appeal against Mr Mann’s conviction is to be lodged with a higher court in Portugal and that, if necessary, the organisation will take their action to the European Court of Human Rights. He said: "A Portuguese lawyer has been instructed and if the domestic remedies are exhausted, we will go to the European court, where I cannot see us losing. The whole thing was unfair because it wasn’t conducted properly in court. This was a judge who runs grossly unfair trials."
Search for a job
Search for a car
Search for a house
Weather for Edinburgh
Friday 24 May 2013
Temperature: 3 C to 13 C
Wind Speed: 20 mph
Wind direction: North east
Temperature: 7 C to 17 C
Wind Speed: 13 mph
Wind direction: West