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EDITIONS
Friday, 7 December, 2001, 17:50 GMT
Leeds jury told to 'scrutinise' interviews
Lee Bowyer
Midfielder Lee Bowyer denies the charges
The jury in the Leeds United footballers' trial has been told to examine the defendants' police statements closely.

Continuing his summing up, the judge directed them to "scrutinise" Lee Bowyer and Jonathan Woodgate's evidence in court and compare it with initial interviews they gave detectives.

The pair are accused with two other men of attacking an Asian student.

Mr Justice Henriques told the jury at Hull Crown Court to ask themselves if they believed the discrepancies were a "desire to conceal guilt".

Defender Mr Woodgate, 21, of Middlesbrough, midfielder Mr Bowyer, 24, of Leeds, and Paul Clifford and Neale Caveney, both 22, from Middlesbrough, are charged with affray and causing grievous bodily harm with intent to Sarfraz Najeib. They deny all the charges.

Jonathan Woodgate
Jonathan Woodgate denies all charges

Mr Najeib, 21, from Rotherham, South Yorkshire, was bitten on the face and suffered a broken leg, nose and cheekbone in an attack in Leeds city centre in January 2000.

The judge referred to the answers the four accused gave when questioned by police, saying: "The prosecution will put this: it is inconceivable that any of these defendants could be innocent and answer these questions in these ways.

"You're going to have to scrutinise their interviews."

The court heard that Mr Woodgate would not initially tell police who had been with him that night.

Police statements

The judge said: "The prosecution say this was not to protect his friends. It was to protect himself".

Describing Mr Bowyer's statements to police, the judge recounted how he had failed to identify Mr Woodgate's friends.

The judge said: "You are going to have to decide whether that was Lee Bowyer deliberately misleading police.

"If you decide he was misleading police you are going to have to ask yourselves why."

The trial was adjourned until Monday.


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03 Dec 01 | England
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