New laws to protect Brits on holiday

New laws to protect Brits on holiday

Robbie Hughes

With his mother Maggie at his bedside after the assault

First published in News thisisoxfordshire: Photograph of the Author by , Crime Reporter, also covering Barton and Wood Farm. Call me on (01865) 425427

THE mother of a former Oxford United player brutally beaten in Greece has welcomed new laws to help British travellers affected by crime abroad.

Maggie Hughes campaigned for better protection of Brits abroad after her son Robbie Hughes almost died after the assault in the summer of 2008.

The midfielder, now 32, played for the U’s in 2005.

He was left brain damaged after the attack in the tourist resort of Malia in Crete.

Following the assault, his family had no help with local law and translation.

Last year, Mrs Hughes presented her Victims of Crime Abroad campaign to Greek ambassador Arsteidis Sandis.

And on Wednesday she saw members of the European Parliament approve a new bill in Strasbourg.

It means Brits travelling around the EU will have the right to information on other countries’ justice systems in English.

Mrs Hughes said: “It’s fantastic news. This definitely opens up the way for all victims to feel safer when they go abroad.”

The European Parliament waved through legislation that will also offer minimum levels of free medical care and support services to crime victims.

Catherine Bearder, an MEP for the south east, said: “The Hughes family should be commended for the determination they have shown to get this law changed.

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“Their efforts mean anyone who becomes a victim of crime while abroad will be treated fairly and, for that, we should all be grateful.

“It is just a pity Robbie had to suffer for action to be taken.

“Too many British citizens have suffered torrid experiences after being robbed or attacked while abroad.

“It can often be compounded by poor treatment by police and the courts, where procedures are explained in a foreign language, if at all.

“These new rules will help ensure British people travelling around the EU do not get a raw deal from the authorities on top of suffering the crime itself.”

The new EU law includes the right to translation and interpretation into English, expenses, protection and compensation.

EU member states will now have three years to implement the new rules in their own countries.

Mr Hughes missed out on a place in the GB Paralympics team this summer.

Six British men will stand trial over the assault in Greece in November.

Curtis Taylor, 22, Daniel Bell, 23, Sean Branton, 22, all from Horley, Benjamin Herdman, 22, from Worth and George Hollands, 24, from Reigate in Surrey, and Joseph Bruckland, 22, from Hookwood, all deny the allegations.

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