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EDITIONS
Thursday, 29 November, 2001, 20:15 GMT
Jury warned about footballer witness
Michael Duberry
Michael Duberry lied to police, the court heard
Jurors in the trial of two Leeds United footballers accused of attacking a student have been told to take care when considering evidence from their team-mate Michael Duberry.

Nicholas Campbell QC, prosecuting, said Mr Duberry was "a witness of truth" - but to regard his testimony with care.


When push came to shove he couldn't tell lies any more

Nicholas Campbell QC
Mr Campbell was summing up at Hull Crown Court in the trial of Jonathan Woodgate, 21, of Middlesbrough, and Lee Bowyer, 24, of Leeds and their friends Paul Clifford and Neale Caveney, both 22 and from Middlesbrough.

All four men deny charges of affray and causing student Sarfraz Najeib, 21, grievous bodily harm with intent.

Serious injuries

Mr Campbell asked the jury to consider what motive Mr Duberry would have for lying when he said Mr Woodgate had admitted taking part in the attack.

He said Mr Duberry, 26, was a witness who had been shown to have "lied and lied and lied" but that now he had no reason to lie and implicate his friend.

Mr Campbell referred to Mr Duberry's earlier evidence alleging that Mr Woodgate had admitted he had been involved in the attack on Mr Najeib, of Rotherham, South Yorkshire.

Jonathan Woodgate
Mr Duberry said Jonathan Woodgate described the attack
Mr Najeib suffered multiple injuries including a broken leg, nose and cheekbone in the attack in Leeds city centre in January last year.

Mr Campbell recalled evidence from Mr Duberry he had twice heard Mr Woodgate say that he had been involved in the fight and his friend Mr Clifford had bitten someone.

Mr Campbell said: "I would like you to consider why he should tell such lies about his friend Jonathan Woodgate.

'What motive?'

"It was evidence that points towards the guilt of his friend Jonathan.

"He admitted that he had told lies to police when he was first questioned by them in January.

Sarfraz Najeib
Sarfraz Najeib suffered several injuries
"But when push came to shove he couldn't tell lies any more. He had to tell it how it was.

"We submit that Michael Duberry is a witness of truth but a witness who, for obvious reasons, you should examine with care."

Before finishing his summing up on Thursday, Mr Campbell turned to the case against Mr Bowyer.

He said he had given "a remarkable performance" in the witness box, but that was all.

Mr Campbell said the footballer had manufactured a series of lies, designed to mislead the police and court.

'Perpetrator of violence'

He described Mr Bowyer as "cocky and calculating". "What he was trying to do was pull the wool over your eyes," he said.

"What I am going to try and do is unravel this yarn."

Mr Campbell asked the jury if it was believable that Mr Bowyer had been "whacked" while walking over to meet Mr Woodgate but had not been interested in identifying his attacker.

"It's rubbish," he said. "He hadn't been whacked but he had been involved in a degree of violence that night and he had been the perpetrator of that violence."

On Wednesday, Mr Campbell urged the jury to put aside their emotions when considering a verdict.

The trial was adjourned until Friday.


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