Essex man's Cyprus sentence could be cut

AN ESSEX man jailed for manslaughter in Cyprus will find out soon if his sentence has been reduced by the country's new president.

James Hore

AN ESSEX man jailed for manslaughter in Cyprus will find out soon if his sentence has been reduced by the country's new president.

Julian Harrington, 40, is serving a 15-year term after the hire car he was driving struck a moped and killed 17-year-old Christos Papiris.

The Cypriot courts heard the father-of-one rammed Papiris' moped in the resort of Protaras as part of a revenge attack after a Briton was hurt in a fight outside a local nightclub in August 2006.

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Papiris had not been involved in the original altercation.

Mr Harrington, a fence-maker from Witham, is pinning his hopes of a reduced sentence on the country's new president, Dimitris Christofias.

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In Cyprus it is traditional for the incoming president to reduce the sentence of all prisoners by up to a third, although it is a discretionary act.

Once the president has made the announcement Mr Harrington will then apply to transfer home to the UK to serve the remainder of his sentence.

But his brother, Nigel, told the EADT the family was not getting their hopes up too much.

He said: “The last president, five years ago, gave a quarter reduction, but this one may not be giving anything - we just don't know because he is not obliged to do anything.

“Knowing our luck, it will be the first time for quite a while when there is nothing, but we have our fingers crossed and anything will be a bonus.”

Mr Harrington said once his brother's transfer request goes in, it could be just a matter of months before he is back in the UK with his fiancé, Maxine Scrivener and their daughter, Jazmin.

He also said it was a time of mixed emotions as the family wait to find out the fate of Mr Harrington's nephews, Michael Binnington and Luke Atkinson.

The Witham youngsters, who were passengers in the car, were initially cleared of manslaughter and grievous bodily harm and came home to the UK.

But in January the Cypriot Supreme Court overturned their acquittals and the 23-year-olds are due to be sentenced next week.

They do not have to be in Cyprus for the hearing, but may be subject to extradition proceedings if they refuse to go out to Cyprus voluntarily.

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