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Gerrard pleads not guilty to nightclub assault

Video by FRANCE 24

Latest update : 2009-01-24

Steven Gerrard, 28, denies assaulting anyone during a nightclub brawl in Southport last month. Liverpool's midfielder was charged with assault occasioning actual bodily harm and affray, along with two other men. The case is heard next on April 3.

AFP - England and Liverpool midfielder Steven Gerrard said Friday he would plead not guilty to any involvement in a nightclub brawl.
   
Gerrard, 28, appeared before magistrates over his alleged part in a fight at the Lounge Inn nightclub in Southport, northwest England, last month following Liverpool's 5-1 defeat of Newcastle.
   
He was charged with assault occasioning actual bodily harm and affray along with two other men.
   
Company director Marcus McGee, 34, required hospital treatment after sustaining facial injuries in the incident.
   
Prosecution lawyer Nick Evans asked for the case to be heard next on April 3 after a 10-week break to prepare evidence.
   
But after submissions from the defence including Gerrard's lawyer, the magistrates adjourned the case and ordered the next hearing to take place at the court in Southport on March 20.
   
Gerrard, a father of two young daughters who is married to model Alex Curran, spoke only to confirm his name and address and say he intended to plead not guilty along with the other defendants.
   
The Liverpool captain, was driven to North Sefton Magistrates' court in Southport and jogged up the steps of the court dressed in a dark blue suit.
   
Dozens of photographers were kept back from the court entrance in a penned area.
   
Gerrard emerged from the half-hour hearing to thank photographers and a handful of supporters.
   
The timing of the next hearing allows Liverpool's most influential player to concentrate on spearheading the club's attempt to win their first Premiership title since 1990 as well as the Champions League last 16 clash against Real Madrid. The second leg of that tie takes place on March 10.
   
Gerrard will make his next appearance when Liverpool take on local rivals Everton in the fourth round of the FA Cup on Sunday, after manager Rafael Benitez dismissed any suggestion that the midfielder could be rested.
   
"Steven was working as normal in the training and he was scoring goals - and you could see the spirit was there that he always has," Benitez said.
   
"Steven is in the right frame of mind. I have watched him in training, and he is fine."
   
Benitez added: "He showed the other week (after he was charged) that he has a responsibility to the fans and the club. He is a very good professional and showed he can concentrate on the job - and he knows he has our full support."

Date created : 2009-01-23

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