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Cyprus

Canoeing instructor to face trial over British soldier’s death

Jamie Lee Sawyer

A British man was on Monday referred to trial before the Criminal Court for the death of Private Jamie Lee Sawyer who died in March 2015 while on a United Nations tour in Cyprus.

The trial starts on March 7.

Sawyer, 20, was killed in a canoeing accident while he was conducting adventure training off Cape Greco, in Famagusta.

The instructor, David Hughes, 48, is accused of failing to take proper safety measures during the exercise, which was taking place in strong winds and rough seas.

As a result, two of the  individuals who took part in the exercise made it to the predetermined location, but Sawyer was found floating unconscious in the turbulent sea.

Marine police were called to the scene, picked up Sawyer and rushed him to the hospital where he was pronounced dead on arrival due to pulmonary asphyxiation.

The lead investigator said the probe initially looked into the drowning incident as such, but quickly found evidence of involuntary manslaughter against Hughes, who had meanwhile left Cyprus for Slovakia with his wife – a Slovak national.

He was detained there on a European arrest warrant but he fought his extradition to Cyprus.

Hughes was eventually extradited last Friday and appeared before a district court on Monday, which referred him to trial by the Criminal Court.

The judge set bail at €30,000. If it is not transferred, he will be transferred to Nicosia’s Central Prison pending his trial.

If he is released on bail, he will have to surrender all his travel documents and report to a police station on a daily basis. His name will also be placed on the list of people who are banned from leaving the country.

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