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Tuesday, 27 November, 2001, 15:42 GMT
Solicitor 'did not tell footballer to lie'
Michael Duberry
Michael Duberry has given evidence at the trial
A solicitor has denied in court ever telling Leeds United star Michael Duberry to lie to police, and said that to have done so would have been "the end of my career and of my freedom as well".

The club's associate director Peter McCormick, who acted as solicitor to Mr Duberry, told the jury at Hull Crown Court he had warned the footballer he could be prosecuted if he lied to police.

He was giving evidence on Tuesday in the trial of Leeds and England stars Jonathan Woodgate and Lee Bowyer who are accused, with two other men, of assaulting a student after a night out in Leeds.

Lee Bowyer arrives at court
Lee Bowyer denies grievous bodily harm with intent

Mr Bowyer, 24, of Leeds, Mr Woodgate, 21, of Middlesbrough, Paul Clifford and Neale Caveney, both 22 and from Middlesbrough, deny causing grievous bodily harm with intent to Sarfraz Najeib, 21, from Rotherham, South Yorkshire. All four also deny affray.

Mr Najeib suffered a broken nose, fractured leg and a bite mark to his cheek.

Questioned by Nigel Sangster QC, counsel for Mr Clifford, Mr McCormick said there was "no truth whatsoever" in Mr Duberry's allegation that he had instructed him to lie.


If it was proved that I had advised a client in that way, then it would be the end of my career and of my freedom as well

Peter McCormick
Solicitor

Mr McCormick said: "I told him that if he told any lies or untruths to police then he could be prosecuted for perjury."

Mr Duberry said in evidence earlier in the trial that shortly after the attack Mr Woodgate had told him he and his friends had been in a fight with some Asians and that Mr Clifford had bitten one of them.

Mr Duberry, who was cleared at an earlier trial of conspiracy to pervert the course of justice, said he had wanted to tell the true version of events earlier but Mr McCormick had told him to "stick to his story".

Sarfraz Najeib
Sarfraz Najeib suffered a broken nose in the alleged attack

The court heard that Mr McCormick first saw Mr Duberry on 31 January, more than two weeks after the alleged attack on 12 January.

Asked if it was true he had told Mr Duberry not to change his police statement, Mr McCormick said: "If it was proved that I had advised a client in that way, then it would be the end of my career and of my freedom as well."

He said that on several occasions he had asked Mr Duberry if he wanted to alter his statement but he declined and said his statement was true.

Mr McCormick said: "I told him as soon as we began speaking that it was obvious that now the police wanted to see him as a suspect not a witness, they were concerned about what he had told them.

"I said think very carefully and if there was anything that hadn't been true, this was an opportunity to change what he had said."

Mr McCormick said he stopped representing Mr Duberry when he suspected some of the men were likely to be charged.

He said: "If any of them were convicted of any criminal offence then there could be a conflict of interest. That their interests may not coincide with the interests of the football club."

The trial has been adjourned until Wednesday.


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