Page last updated at 11:31 GMT, Wednesday, 25 June 2008 12:31 UK

Landlord acquitted of cash bribe

Blake Fielder-Civil
Blake Fielder-Civil attacked James King outside a pub in Hoxton

A man who was beaten up by singer Amy Winehouse's husband has been cleared of accepting a 200,000 bribe to drop his assault complaint.

Pub landlord James King, 36, was found not guilty of perverting the course of justice at Snaresbrook Crown Court.

He had been left with serious injuries after a beating by Blake Fielder-Civil, 26, and his friend Michael Brown, 25.

They have both admitted grievous bodily harm in relation to the attack in Hoxton, east London, in June 2006.

'Gangsters' firm'

Both have also pleaded guilty to perverting the course of justice.

Two other men, Anthony Kelly, 25, of Chalk Farm, north London, and James Kennedy, 19, of Hatfield, Hertfordshire, had pleaded guilty to perverting the course of justice around November last year.

All of them are to be sentenced at a date to be fixed in July.

Mr King always claimed he had been bullied into withdrawing his statement against Fielder-Civil and Brown last November.

He told the jury that Kelly had intimidated him telling him he had "no option" but to withdraw his evidence so that Fielder-Civil and Brown would be found not guilty of assault.

Mr Kelly told him that he was part of a firm of gangsters who wanted the charges to go away.

'Bigger story'

It was also claimed in court that Winehouse's money was used in the plot but there is no evidence to suggest that she was part of it.

The story was exposed when, unknown to King, Kelly and Kennedy - who acted as middlemen - went to The Daily Mirror trying to sell CCTV images of the original attack.

But the court heard that they increased the stakes when the newspaper showed little interest saying there was "a bigger story" and that there was a bribe to ensure that Fielder-Civil and Brown would not go to jail.

It is claimed that Kelly and Kennedy, who made secret recordings for the newspaper which later went to the police, expected 20,000 each for their work.

Fielder-Civil could be jailed for up to five years after admitting taking part in the assault and plotting to try to bribe King.




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