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Tuesday, 20 August, 2002, 17:14 GMT 18:14 UK
Footballer's future 'in jury's hands'
Jody Morris, John Terry, Des Byrne
Jody Morris, John Terry and Des Byrne deny all charges
The future of a promising young footballer who could play for his country lies in the hands of a jury, a court has heard.

Chelsea star John Terry "has the world at his feet", his lawyer Desmond De Silva QC told Middlesex Crown Court.

But the player is accused of hitting doorman Trevor Thirlwall in the face with a bottle during a brawl at The Wellington club in Knightsbridge - a charge he denies.

Mr De Silva called some prosecution witnesses "fraudulent thugs" and said the nightclub was trying to "frame" John Terry, fellow Chelsea player Jody Morris and Wimbledon player Des Byrne.


Some of those prosecution witnesses... have crawled out from under the stones of London nightlife

Desmond De Silva QC

Summing up the defence case, Mr De Silva told the jury: "His ability to serve his club and his country and to win for himself the great prizes of sporting life are just around the corner.

"But that future and that life is in your hands"

Mr De Silva claimed the Knightbridge club had employed unlicensed bouncers and had served drinks after hours, so decided to "frame" the players to protect its licence.

"The whole case against John Terry stinks, it is rotten, rotten," said Mr De Silva.

'Fraudulent thugs'

"Beware, some of those prosecution witnesses, I suggest, have crawled out from under the stones of London nightlife and now parade themselves as virtuous victims.

"They are in fact fraudulent thugs."

Mr Terry, 21, Mr Morris, 23, and Mr Byrne, 21, are accused of starting a violent brawl with Mr Thirlwall and his brother Matthew after the players were thrown out of The Wellington for rowdy behaviour.

Des Byrne
Des Byrne behaved like a "silly boy"

Simon Pentol, defending Mr Byrne, described him as a silly young boy who had been battered by the bouncers.

He said it was not a case of "footballers behaving badly as it's been published so often in the media".

Mr Terry denies wounding with intent to cause grievous bodily harm and possessing a bottle as an offensive weapon.

Mr Byrne denies possessing a bottle as an offensive weapon. All three players deny affray.

The jury is expected to consider its verdict on Wednesday.

 WATCH/LISTEN
 ON THIS STORY
The BBC's Duncan Kennedy
"This case is coming to an end"

Click here to go to BBC London Online
See also:

16 Aug 02 | England
15 Aug 02 | England
14 Aug 02 | England
05 Aug 02 | England
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