Manslaughter charge dropped against Peters & Peters client accused in Cyprus
Our client, Mr David Hughes, is a British kayaking instructor engaged by the British Army, who successfully challenged a charge of manslaughter in Cyprus. The investigation concerns the death of a British soldier in an accident during a kayaking exercise organised by the British Army’s Adventure Training unit. Mr Hughes cooperated fully with the British Army in its internal investigation of the matter, and continued to be engaged as a kayaking instructor by the Adventure Training unit over the course of 2015. It has now emerged that with the knowledge of the UK Ministry of Defence, the Cyprus police were pursuing a separate criminal investigation and issued a European Arrest Warrant for Mr Hughes’ arrest. In late October 2015, Mr Hughes was arrested in Slovakia after travelling there for a family holiday. He was held in custody for over two months before being extradited to Cyprus to face trial.
Mr Hughes was interviewed extensively by Cyprus police, and following representations on the weaknesses of the prosecution case, the Cypriot police dropped the charge of manslaughter. Instead, Mr Hughes now faces a single charge of “causing death by dangerous or reckless act”, an offence in Cyprus which carries a significantly lower sentence of four years. Manslaughter in Cyprus is a charge which carries a maximum sentence of life imprisonment. We understand that the Cyprus case is based on an allegation that Mr Hughes did not sufficiently take into account the changing weather conditions. He is contesting the charge and the case will proceed to trial.
Miranda Ching, Associate, said: “The Cyprus police have made the right decision to drop the manslaughter charge because there was clearly insufficient evidence to support it. Mr Hughes will firmly contest the remaining charge. He is an experienced and highly respected kayaking instructor.”
Peters & Peters also represents Mr Hughes in an inquest being conducted by the Birmingham and Solihull Coroner’s Court.
The case was covered in The Times, here.