Dorset Businessman's Trial Delayed

The trial in Hungary of two businessmen from the South West has been delayed again.

Michael Turner, 30, from Corfe Castle, and Jason McGoldrick, 39, from Plymouth in Devon, face fraud charges relating to their Budapest-based timeshare company, which collapsed in 2005 allegedly owing creditors £18,000.

Both deny any wrongdoing.

The men, who went on trial in the Hungarian capital in February, now face waiting until November to learn their fate.

The delay was criticised by Mr Turner's father, Mark, who branded it a farce, adding:

''I am just aghast after all that time the authorities can say they need more time to identify more witnesses.

''I think it shows how slow and laborious their justice system is.

''After an investigation that started in 2005 and lasted six and a half-years there has now been a trial and now it has been adjourned to allow more evidence to be collected and a re-investigation.''

Mr Turner blamed the previous government for signing up to the European Arrest Warrant - a cross-border crime fighting agreement.

Michael Turner spent four months without charge in a notorious Hungarian jail after being extradited under the European Arrest Warrant in 2009.

He was released, with no explanation, in February 2010 - having only been interviewed once by police - and returned to Britain.

Richard Drax - the MP for South Dorset - has pledged his support and will return to Hungary with the family in November. "We are told that if the Judge ruled now, the prosecution would automatically appeal, which would lead to a retrial in two years," he says. 

"The Judge has asked for further research now because he wants to ensure that there can be no cause for an appeal when he finally hands down his verdict."

"When I gave a character reference for Michael in the Budapest court two weeks ago, I was reassured by the Judge that the trial would be fair and that if there was any doubt at all, he would not convict."

"We must trust that this is so. However, I am disturbed to learn that 97 per cent of all prosecutions in Hungary are successful and that prosecutors can appeal an innocent verdict without grounds. This alone is enough to make the European Arrest Warrant - which assumes all legal systems are the same - completely farcical. I cannot imagine how our European masters thought that there was any equivalency at all between our two legal systems. "