Convicted charity worker in Albania has freedom bid blocked

Mike Taylor, pictured, says his friend David Brown is "discouraged" by the court's decision
Mike Taylor, pictured, says his friend David Brown is "discouraged" by the court's decision

A COURT’S refusal to hear testimony from two men that could clear a Capital charity worker of child abuse in Albania is “tragic”, say supporters.

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David Brown has served 11 years in a high security Albanian prison

David Brown has served 11 years in a high security Albanian prison

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David Brown has served 11 years behind bars yet two former residents in an orphanage he ran now say police and prosecutors bullied and bribed them into accusing him.

Friend Mike Taylor says Brown’s best hope might be for the UK government to leverage Albania’s wish to join the EU.

“David is a bit discouraged by what’s happening,” said Mike, of the Scottish Children’s Mission. “It’s very hard because it built his hopes up and now they’re squashed.

“He’s gone through 11 years and we’re really not sure what the procedure is if they reject the testimony of the two boys - it seems to be a tragic state of affairs.”

The pair, now aged 18 and 22, were prepared to give fresh evidence but the Tirana Crimes Court took less than five minutes to reject it because Brown is still in prison.

Judge Arben Micko said: “Such evidence can be taken only during the investigation.”

Brown’s lawyer Gjystinga Galloshi said: “I think their new statements should have been taken. “It is unfair for my client to continue staying in prison now when we have new evidence from these two boys.”

Andon Qoshli, now 22, first gave evidence against Brown when he was 13.

“I felt so bad,” he said. “The judge, by giving that decision, stopped me telling the truth. David is innocent.”

Denis Aliu, now 18, was just six years old when he gave evidence during the investigation.

He said he was given gifts by a psychologist and added: “I told the court what the psychologist told me to say.”

Brown’s former colleagues Dino ­Christodoulou, 52, and Robin Arnold, 63, were tried and convicted two years after him.

Christodoulou, who had been ­convicted of child abuse in Britain, was given 20 years and Arnold was jailed for 15-and-a-half years.

Now Brown’s network of supporters are exploring whether the UK’s remaining days within the EU could provide the key to his release.

“One of the things Albania is trying to do is join the EU,” said Mike. “The UK is still supporting that application.

“If there’s an apparent injustice in their legal system then there will be a place for Britain to say they need to sort this out.

“How can we support a society that’s not allowing due legal process.”