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EDITIONS
Thursday, 6 December, 2001, 18:06 GMT
Leeds jury told to 'think critically'
Jonathan Woodgate
Jonathan Woodgate denies all the charges
The judge in the Leeds United footballers' trial has told the jury to "think critically" about testimony which contradicted that of two of the defendants.

A key witness earlier told Hull Crown Court she saw nobody standing where two of the defendants claim to have been.

Continuing his summing up, Mr Justice Henriques recalled that the prosecution witness said she was standing exactly where Jonathan Woodgate and Neale Caveney said they were during an attack on an Asian student.

Sarfraz Najeib
Sarfraz Najeib suffered a broken cheekbone and leg
England defender Mr Woodgate earlier told the jury he and friend Mr Caveney were stood away from the assault, which took place in Leeds city centre last year.

The witness said she and a friend saw the attack in Mill Hill and saw no other people where the pair said they had stopped, by the corner of Boar Lane and Mill Hill.

Mr Henriques said: "You may think critically of the fact that she was standing exactly where Mr Woodgate and Mr Caveney say they were."

Quoting her evidence, Mr Henriques said: "I didn't see two men there.

Charges denied

"I was panicking and anxious to get away. I was upset and fearful of what might happen to us."

Mr Woodgate, 21, of Middlesbrough, Mr Bowyer, 24, of Leeds and Mr Clifford and Mr Caveney, both 22, from Middlesbrough all deny causing Sarfraz Najeib, of Rotherham, South Yorkshire, grievous bodily harm with intent.

They also plead not guilty to affray.

Mr Najeib, 21, suffered a broken leg, nose and cheekbone in the attack in the city centre in January last year.

The judge outlined the evidence given by the footballers' team-mate Michael Duberry in which he said immediately after the alleged attack Mr Woodgate had admitted he and his friends had been in a fight with some Asians.

Biting reference

Mr Duberry also said that Mr Woodgate had told him Mr Clifford had bitten one of the Asians.

Mr Justice Henriques instructed the jury that in evaluating Mr Duberry's testimony they had to consider several elements.

They had to be sure that they believed Mr Duberry's version of the conversation, that Mr Clifford had been within earshot of the discussion and that he had failed to make any response to the biting reference.

Mr Justice Henriques told the jury they must be sure that in the circumstances a response would have been expected and that by failing to make any response Mr Clifford was accepting the truth of what was said.

The trial was adjourned until Friday.


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03 Dec 01 | England
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