Harry Maguire to have retrial after appeal against conviction is accepted

  • Prosecution lawyer in Greece calls on Maguire to say sorry
  • England player appeals against ‘wrong, misleading’ accusations

Harry Maguire has begun the battle to clear his name and been told by the prosecution lawyer handling the case that an apology could help his appeal against his conviction following a brawl on the island of Mykonos.

Ioannis Paradissis said that by apologising Maguire could pave the way for “a different sentiment” to prevail when the Manchester United captain attempts to overturn his suspended 21-month sentence before a higher court. Paradissis believes accusations of aggravated assault and verbal assault could then be dropped.

Maguire appealed on Wednesday against a Greek court ruling that he was guilty also of resisting arrest and attempted bribery after his involvement in a fracas outside a bar last Thursday. Legal sources confirmed his defence team had lodged the appeal citing as “wrong and misleading” the accusations levelled against the 27-year-old and his two co-defendants. Once the appeal process is launched under Greek law a conviction remains pending.

“The appeal has been accepted and will lead to a full retrial in a more senior court,” Manchester United said. “This means that Harry has no criminal record and is once again presumed innocent until proven guilty. Accordingly, he is not subject to any international travel restrictions.”

Paradissis, urging Maguire to apologise, told the Guardian: “The charges of resisting arrest and repeated bribery attempts could not be dropped under Greek law. But verbal assault and physical assault could, I believe. It is by no means certain but theoretically the decision could be a very different one if Maguire was man enough and did what he should have done all along and apologised.”

However Maguire’s younger brother Laurence, who has not been involved in the case, tweeted on Wednesday: “Absolute no chance Harry will be apologising.”

Paradissis, who represented three of the policemen who appeared in court as key witnesses, said his clients and “many Greeks” had been appalled by the England international’s inability to apologise and evident lack of “empathy and sympathy towards people who were simply doing their job”.

“If you are a role model you should know how to assume responsibility and explain your position. We have heard nothing from him except that he is a victim and that he believes he is innocent. Where is the empathy and sympathy towards people who were simply doing their job but ended up being violently attacked? Not saying anything is neither sportsmanlike, nor in the spirit of fair play.”

The lawyer said he believed that while the wheels of Greek justice moved slowly, the appeal could be heard before the higher tribunal – and a new set of judges – “within one to two years”.

Maguire’s “lawful life” before the episode had acted as a strong “mitigating” factor in the 21-month sentence handed down by the three-member misdemeanours court on Tuesday. “It would have been much, much longer but they accepted his good behaviour [prior to the incident],” he said.

Under Greek law Harry Maguire, his brother Joe and friend Christopher Sharman had 10 days to submit an appeal against the decision before the court of appeal of the Aegean, also based in Syros. Maguire moved quickly to launch the process, with his legal team filing an appeal in Syros in a step that automatically suspends the conviction until the case is heard again. While justice meted out thus far has been swift, getting the case heard before an appeals court could take as long as two years owing to an extensive backlog of cases attributed to defendants hoping, like Maguire, to have their convictions overturned by a higher court in Greece. Helena Smith

Under Greek law, an appeal would mean the case starting afresh, opening up the possibility of some charges being dropped if Maguire and his co‑defendants were to apologise.

“An appeal is the equivalent of a retrial in a higher court before new judges who could change the [lower court’s] decision,” the lawyer said. “My clients, the policemen, would be ready to accept an apology. That is what they have wanted all along. One of them was thrown to the ground and in great pain afterwards,” he said adding that when called to break up the brawl they had “no idea” who Maguire was.

“They didn’t recognise him. For them they were simply British tourists who in this case went on to to use their status and wealth to try and get out of the situation.”

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Part of Maguire’s defence was that his sister Daisy had been injected with an unknown substance before the incident. His lawyer, Alexis Anagnostakis, said his clients – Maguire, the player’s older brother Joe and Christopher Sharman– had acted in self-defence and did not realise the non-uniformed men were police officers.

Laurence Maguire, in apparent response to a claim by Paradissis in a BBC interview that Maguire’s sister had not told police she had been injected, said: “Daisy and no one in the group was interviewed by the police.”

The officers, although in plain clothes – Mykonos has been at the centre of a coronavirus outbreak that has led to the Greek government sending in undercover police to ensure health protocols are adhered to – had shown their ID cards when they approached the melee, Paradissis said.


Helena Smith in Athens

The GuardianTramp

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