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EDITIONS
Friday, 9 November, 2001, 20:47 GMT
Footballer's court absence explained
Lee Bowyer attending court
Bowyer was excused from court to undergo an operation
The continuing absence of one of the defendants in the Leeds United footballers trial has been explained to the jury.

Midfielder Lee Bowyer has not been at Hull Crown Court since Wednesday, after being excused by the judge so he could undergo an operation on a broken nose.

The footballer, who was injured in a match against Manchester United last month, had been due back in court on Thursday.


You must not be too alarmed when you see him

Mr Justice Henriques
But on Friday the judge told the jury Mr Bowyer would return on Monday, adding that the footballer was likely to be wearing substantial facial dressings and warning them not to be "alarmed".

Mr Bowyer, 24, of Leeds, team mate Jonathan Woodgate, 21, of Middlesbrough, Leeds United midfielder Lee Paul Clifford and Neale Caveney, both 22 and from Middlesbrough, are accused of assaulting student Sarfraz Najeib in Mill Hill in January last year.

The four all deny causing grievous bodily harm with intent to Mr Najeib, 21, of Rotherham, South Yorkshire. They all also deny affray.

Dressing warning

Mr Justice Henriques told the jury at Hull Crown Court: "Mr Bowyer is absent from the dock with my permission and he underwent surgery for his broken nose on Wednesday evening and so it is only right he should have Thursday and Friday to fully recover.

"It may well be when you see him on Monday he might have some form of apparatus or dressing on his head.

"You must not be too alarmed when you see him. It's entirely attributable to the surgery he's had to re-set his nose. He will be fit to resume his trial on Monday."

The jury heard evidence from Pc David Brammer. His role in the investigation was to compile video evidence.

Before adjourning the trial until Monday, the judge told the jurors it was possible that they would begin considering their verdicts during the first week of December.


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