D Day for planespotters trial date

THE plane-spotters arrested after visiting a Greek air base hope to learn today when they will have to return to stand trial.The group of 14 tourists, including Paul and Lesley Coppin, from Mildenhall, are facing charges of gathering secret information and expect to be tried on Thursday, April 25 and Friday, April 26, in Kalamata.

THE plane-spotters arrested after visiting a Greek air base hope to learn today when they will have to return to stand trial.

The group of 14 tourists, including Paul and Lesley Coppin, from Mildenhall, are facing charges of gathering secret information and expect to be tried on Thursday, April 25 and Friday, April 26, in Kalamata.

The Greek lawyer representing the 12 Britons and two Dutchmen is due to contact them today to confirm their trial date.

Mr Coppin said yesterday the group was prepared to fight to clear their names and that they were hopeful of being acquitted.

He said: "We are very keen to get the date sorted because it has been very difficult to make plans the whole time this has been going on. We had originally thought the trial would be in March but I suppose it is not too bad to go back in April if it goes ahead.

"We are preparing for battle. We have had meetings with our lawyer and been in correspondence with Fair Trials Abroad, which has also assigned a lawyer to our case.

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"The legal process is a lot different in the trial – at the pre-trial hearings we have not been able to question the allegations against us. We have never been allowed to give a statement about our side of the story.

"If everything runs as it should do, we should be acquitted. It is a ridiculous accusation in the first place."

The party of plane-spotters were on a tour organised by Mr Coppin's firm Touchdown Tours when they were arrested on suspicion of spying after visiting a military base in Kalamata in November last year.

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