Page last updated at 11:02 GMT, Friday, 20 March 2009

Gerrard assault charge is dropped

Steven Gerrard leaves North Sefton magistrates court

An assault charge against England and Liverpool footballer Steven Gerrard has been dropped.

The 28-year-old still faces a charge of affray in connection with an incident at a nightclub in Southport. Six other men face the same charge.

Mr Gerrard had been in the Lounge Inn after a 5-1 win over Newcastle United when a disturbance broke out.

A 34-year-old man had suffered facial injuries in the incident in December, North Sefton magistrates were told.

Mr Gerrard was not required to make a formal plea in relation to the affray charge which he now faces.

The footballer, and six other defendants, will have a plea and case management hearing at Liverpool Crown Court on 3 April.

Charges dropped

Nick Evans, prosecuting, told the court that after a "review of the evidence in full" it was decided that all seven defendants should only face affray charges.

Assault charges were also dropped against John Doran, 29, of Woodlands Road, and Ian Smith, 19, of Hilary Avenue, both Huyton, Merseyside.

Appearing alongside Mr Gerrard on Friday were Accrington Stanley players Ian Dunbavin, 28, of Guildford Road, Southport, and midfielder Robert Grant, 18, of Enstone Avenue, Litherland.

Also in the dock were John McGrattan, 33, of Rimmer Avenue, and Paul McGrattan, 31, of Linden Drive, both Huyton.

Mr Gerrard was arrested along with a number of other men outside the venue after the disturbance on 29 December last year.

The father-of-two was escorted out of the court building by members of his legal team after the short hearing and driven away in a black car.

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