Michael Turner Fraud Trial In Hungary

Richard Drax, MP for South Dorset, is in Hungary this week to support Michael Turner from Corfe Castle, who goes on trial in Budapest today (Thursday June 7th).

Turner, together with his business partner Jason Mcgoldrick, was charged with fraud in 2008, after their holiday business failed. 

A European Arrest Warrant (EAW) was issued by the Hungarian courts for their arrest. 

In a high court hearing, a British judge said that EU rules forced him to trust the Hungarian authorities, despite the prosecution being unable to show any supporting evidence for the warrant.

Turner and Mcgoldrick returned voluntarily to Budapest, where they were locked up for 115 days without charge. 

They were eventually released, still without charge, in February 2010. Since then, there have been continuous warnings from the Hungarian authorities that the case was not over, culminating in this week's trial.

The case has attracted international attention. The organisation Fair Trials Abroad has offered its support and the Foreign Office is monitoring developments. 

In addition, Lord Dartmouth MEP, has supported Turner at home and in Hungary, and Dominic Raab, MP and member of the Commons Joint Committee on Human Rights, continues to call for urgent reform of the EAW.

"The burden on the Turner family has been immense, both psychologically and financially," says Richard Drax. "There is no financial aid for foreigners in Hungarian courts, in contrast to the arrangements here. The Turner family has borne the entire costs themselves, causing them significant hardship."

"Yet there is no evidence to support the prosecution. During the opening stages of the court case in early March, witness after witness stated that they had not been defrauded. That should have been an end to it. Yet the judge still ordered the trial to continue."

"The European Arrest Warrant must be radically overhauled. The assumption that all legal systems operate in the same way, requiring the same burden of proof is clearly wrong."

"This case has rumbled on for years and has blighted a young man?s life accordingly. Michael desires nothing more than to put this behind him. I shall do all I can to support him."