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Four men convicted for second time over Crete attack on ex-footballer

Published 01/10/2015

The assault happened in the Crete party town of Malia
The assault happened in the Crete party town of Malia

Four British men have been convicted for a second time of attacking a former footballer during a night out in the Greek party town of Malia, a lawyer representing them said.

Nearly eight years on from the vicious assault, the gang returned to holiday island Crete to face a one-day retrial after appealing against their 2012 conviction for grievous bodily harm.

While a judge upheld the guilty verdict, he lowered their sentence from a four-year prison term to a three-year suspended sentence, allowing them to avoid jail.

Greek lawyer Georgios Pyromallis, who represents Curtis Taylor, Sean Branton and Daniel Bell, said the three flew out to the island, along with the fourth defendant Joe Bruckland to be present for the one-day hearing.

The four denied that they assaulted ex-Oxford United player Robert Hughes, from Croydon, south London, who was left with brain damage after being stabbed with a broken bottle and stamped on the head.

Mr Hughes spent three months in hospital in Greece following the attack and has had three brain operations.

Mr Pyromallis said: "They feel relaxed because the proceedings are over and relaxed because they will be able to come back to their home country.

"They said from day one they were innocent. The assault was part of a bigger altercation in Malia and my clients say some of them have been at the incident but they did not assault the victim.

"They are sorry for what happened to the victim but they do not feel guilty for it."

He added that he has yet to discuss with his clients, who are all from Surrey and aged between 26 and 28, whether they will seek an appeal at the Supreme Court of Greece.

The retrial had been due to take place in September last year but a strike by court staff pushed it back 12 months.

Following the delay last year, Mr Hughes' mother Maggie told the BBC the case had "dragged on far too long".

"He has been through horrific times and I am really saddened to think I have had to bring him all the way over here again," she said.

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