British tourist facing murder retrial in Portugal says he is terrified
A MAN facing extradition to Portugal for a crime he thought he was acquitted of 17 years ago said today his life has been "turned upside-down".
Graham Mitchell, 49, is wanted to stand trial for the attempted murder of a German tourist in the Algarve in 1994.
Mr Mitchell and his friend Warren Tozer were originally arrested over an alleged assault on German Andre Jorling, who was left paralysed from the waist down after falling off a 12ft sea wall. They were cleared in 1995 in a high-profile trial in Portugal which was recorded by BBC's Panorama programme.
But Mr Mitchell, a photographer who lives in Canterbury, Kent, with his wife Laura and two children, was re-arrested on March 6 by British police acting on a European arrest warrant in relation to the case. He told the BBC that he was held overnight at Wandsworth prison.
The former Scots guardsman said: "We are terrified, I'm terrified, my wife's terrified. Our life's been turned upside-down and inside-out. Nothing's the same. Every waking moment is a constant worry.
"It's getting back to like when it was when I first came back from Portugal - it's hell on earth."
He said he believed there had been an "administrative blunder" by the Portuguese police. British police told him he was wanted for "first-degree murder", although other paperwork refers to attempted murder and Mr Jorling is still alive, Mr Mitchell said.
Conservative MP Dominic Raab, a member of the Joint Committee on Human Rights, said: "This is a double jeopardy case 18 years after the crime and they can't even get the charge right. How can you be accused of murder when the victim is still alive?"
He said there was a "whole range of problems" with the European arrest warrant and safeguards were needed.
"The fundamental problem is that there is an assumption that all European justice systems are the same. There are many justice systems across Europe that are either frankly corrupt or incompetent, and therefore buying into that assumption is not only a sham but we are hanging out our citizens to dry on a flawed premise."
Mr Mitchell appeared at Westminster Magistrates' Court on March 7 after being arrested by Kent Police. His next court appearance will be on March 14.