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Tuesday, November 10, 1998 Published at 19:35 GMT


UK

Boycott loses assault case

Boycott's behaviour during the case was criticised by the judge

Former England Test cricketer Geoffrey Boycott has failed to overturn a conviction for assaulting his former girlfriend.


The BBC's Neil Bennett: Miss Moore will be drinking champagne tonight
The 58-year-old former Yorkshire batsman was given a three-month suspended sentence and fined 50,000 francs (£5,100) by a French court in January this year for repeatedly punching Miss Margaret Moore at a hotel in the south of France in October 1996.

Boycott, who was not at the first hearing, challenged the verdict but the same court in the southern French town of Grasse ruled that the conviction should stand.

Miss Moore, who was awarded just one franc in damages, was said to be "very, very happy".

After the ruling, The Sun newspaper ended its contract with him as a columnist.

A spokesman said: "Our readers would find repugnant the idea of us employing someone with a conviction for violence against a woman."

Boycott was dropped from the BBC radio commentary team covering the West Indies tour in January after the first court case.

Commentating future unclear

He returned to the commentary box in July for the Third Test against South Africa after he exercised his right to have the conviction set aside.

But his contract ran out at the end of the summer and the BBC tonight cast doubt on his future.

A BBC spokeswoman said: "Geoffrey Boycott is not under contract with the BBC and there are no plans to use him in the future."

His future was also unclear at Trans World International, the television production company that has employed him to commentate on international matches in India, Pakistan and the West Indies.

The company said it had no cricket coverage planned for the immediate future, but declined to confirm that he would work for them again.

The cricketer was again absent for Tuesday's court decision - he was commentating in Pakistan. But his long-term partner, Rachel Swinglehurst, told reporters he was immediately lodging an appeal.


Geoffrey Boycott: Disappointed but not surprised
In a statement released after the verdict, Boycott said: "I am extremely hurt and disappointed with the outcome of today's hearing.

"A lot of time and effort in the last year has gone into disproving every single allegation made about me by Margaret Moore."


[ image: Miss Moore says she now feels vindicated]
Miss Moore says she now feels vindicated
He added: "I am not guilty of hitting Margaret Moore and hope that the public have come to realise this."

Miss Moore told journalists she "will be drinking champagne tonight".

She also said Boycott was "very foolish" to appeal.

In a written judgment given out after the hearing, Judge Dominique Haumant-Daumas criticised Boycott's behaviour during the case.

She wrote: "In the court, the accused didn't hesitate to rudely interrupt Miss Moore's barrister thereby tarnishing the image of the perfect gentleman which he brought his old friends and witnesses to testify to."

Marriage refusal

During the trial, the court was told that Boycott pinned Miss Moore down and punched her 20 times in the face before checking out and leaving her to pay the bill.


[ image: Margaret Moore said she was punched in the face 20 times]
Margaret Moore said she was punched in the face 20 times
Boycott denied the allegations, saying 45-year-old Miss Moore had slipped after flying into a rage when he refused to marry her.

He said he had decided to leave the hotel after "becoming sick and tired of telling her that I am not going to [marry her], I am not the marrying kind".

The couple had been staying at the Hotel du Cap in Antibes and had spent the evening together drinking champagne with the American singer, Billy Joel.

Following the court's verdict, Boycott was dropped from the BBC and BSkyB's commentary team for the England cricket team's Test series against the West Indies.

Boycott played 108 Tests and captained England four times during his career.





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20 Oct 98†|†UK
Boycott denies hitting former girlfriend

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