Football trial witness accused

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The Independent Online
The chief prosecution witness in the trial of three footballers accused of rigging games was remanded in custody yesterday, charged with attempting to pervert the course of justice.

Chris Vincent, 38, a former business partner of Bruce Grobbelaar, one of the footballers, stands accused of offering "to fail to appear to give evidence in exchange for financial reward."

Mr Vincent, of Gadbridge Farm, Forest Green Road, Hollyport, Berkshire, appeared yesterday before a stipendiary magistrate at Aldershot in Hampshire, where he was remanded for seven days.

He was charged "with the intent to pervert the course of public justice, in that he contacted a defendant and his representative in a case in which he is a prosecution witness and offered to fail to appear to give evidence in exchange for financial reward." The alleged offence is said to have happened between September 25 and October 2.

Mr Vincent was due to appear as a witness in the trial of Mr Grobbelaar, 38, the former Liverpool and Zimbabwe goalkeeper, Hohn Fashanu, 32, the former Wimbledon striker, his former team-mate Hans Segers, and Heng Suan Lim, a Malaysian businessman.

They face charges relating to match-fixing, charges which they all deny.

It was not clear yesterday whether their trial, scheduled to be heard at Winchester Crown Court next January, would be affected. A spokeswoman for the Crown Prosecution Service said the case was being reviewed.

A bail application was made on Mr Vincent's behalf during yesterday's 50-minute hearing, but it was refused. Reporting restrictions were not lifted.