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 Thursday, 19 December, 2002, 11:32 GMT
Leeds United solicitor cleared
Michael Duberry
Michael Duberry was cleared at the original trial
A solicitor accused of malpractice during the trial of three Leeds United footballers has been cleared of any wrongdoing.

Peter McCormick was investigated after the high-profile retrial of England internationals Lee Bowyer and Jonathan Woodgate.

Both players were charged with causing grievous bodily harm with intent to student Safraz Najeib during a street fight in Leeds in January 2000.

The Office for the Supervision of Solicitors (OSS) threw out claims of impropriety after finding the allegations to be unfounded.

'No conflict'

The National Civil Rights Movement (NCRM) complained to the OSS over Mr McCormick's conduct in January.

The NCRM claimed that Mr McCormick had acted with a "conflict of interest" by representing some of the players in the early stages of the criminal procedures while a director of the football club.

Mr McCormick had been a director of the club until 1998 when he stepped down and was given the honorary title of associate director.

But after a year-long investigation the OSS decided no disciplinary action should be taken.

Thorough investigation

An OSS spokesman said: "We were investigating whether Mr McCormick's conduct was in accordance with the requirements expected of all solicitors.

"A complaint was investigated thoroughly but it was found to be unfounded and so no further disciplinary action will be taken."

Mr McCormick said he had been fully vindicated by the investigation.

He said: "I was glad to have had the opportunity to give evidence in the retrial and set the record straight.

"My evidence was unchallenged. When this complaint was lodged, I said it was misguided and misconceived and that is exactly the conclusion that has been reached."

Mr Bowyer was cleared after a retrial while Woodgate was found guilty of affray and given a 200-hour community punishment order.

A third player, defender Michael Duberry, was found not guilty of perverting the course of justice at the original trial.


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19 Apr 02 | UK
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