Fight for Netherfield man, 51, with mental age of seven, locked up for two years without trial in Spain
LAWYERS are desperately fighting for a fair trial for a man "with a mental age of seven" who is facing nine years in a Spanish jail.
Andrew Dmytruk, 51, has already been locked up for almost two years without trial after allegedly starting a blaze in a Benidorm hotel.
A trial is now set to take place in Alicante within two weeks but his representatives are concerned that his medical records, showing he is brain damaged after contracting meningitis as a baby, will not be presented to the court.
His mother, Doris O'Brien, also fears for his well-being after he attempted suicide in March.
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Mr Dmytruk, of Netherfield, was arrested after the December 2010 fire which destroyed a fourth-floor room.
Thirteen people, mainly British tourists, were treated for smoke inhalation after the Ambassador Playa was evacuated in the early hours of December 21.
Mr Dmytruk appeared at a hearing on Monday at the Provincial Court in Alicante before being returned to prison. His lawyer, Mark Castañer, made a plea for his release from detention, saying he posed no threat of fleeing.
Mr Dmytruk's case has been taken up by the charity Fair Trials International, a lobby group which defends the rights of people facing charges abroad.
It is concerned that Mr Dmytruk has been denied bail on several occasions, largely because he is a foreign national.
Robert Jackman, a spokesman for the charity, said: "It is a sad case. Andrew's Spanish lawyer is concerned the authorities have never really seen the details of his vulnerability, so we are working with a translator to get some of his medical statements translated into Spanish so they can be presented to the court.
"We have always been concerned that Andrew is a vulnerable individual and this has taken so long to come to trial."
Mr Dmytruk is accused of setting fire to a mattress and awnings and chairs at a bar. He is alleged to have been identified by the hotel from CCTV footage.
But his mother says her son was asleep in their second-floor room at the time.
Mr Dmytruk had been celebrating his 50th birthday with Spanish friends and Mrs O'Brien. She left for the hotel at 2am but Dmytruk stayed out and reportedly did not remember returning to their room.
Mr Dmytruk has been on disability benefits for most of his life.
Lawyers have argued he has the mental age of a seven-year-old but the prosecutor has insisted he is fit to stand trial and is seeking a nine-year sentence for arson.
Earlier this year, Mr Dmytruk was found in a pool of blood by a fellow inmate after slashing his throat and wrist.
"He nearly died," said Mrs O'Brien. "It is disgusting. He can't understand why he is in jail and nor can I. He has never harmed anybody, never been in trouble with anybody," said the retired factory supervisor who has been borrowing money from family to fly to Spain to visit her son.
Gedling MP Vernon Coaker said he would take up the case with the Foreign Office today.
He said: "It's a matter of extreme concern and very worrying. Clearly, natural justice would mean that the records should be presented to the court.
"I will take this up with the Foreign Office and ask to look into it to see if there is anything the British Government can do to ensure the records can be presented."
Dr Richard Lansdall-Welfare, consultant psychiatrist for Notts Healthcare NHS Trust, said: "When a person with an IQ level similar to that of a typical seven-year-old is put into that situation, he or she is more likely to suffer from anxiety and low moods."