Match-fixing trial jury out on Monday

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The Independent Online
The jury hearing match fixing allegations against three football stars will retire on Monday to consider its verdicts.

The former Liverpool and Southampton goalkeeper Bruce Grobbelaar, 39, the former Aston Villa and Wimbledon striker John Fashanu, 34, and the former Wimbledon goalkeeper Hans Segers, 35, are accused of being part of a plot to throw games.

Along with Malaysian businessman, Heng Suan Lim, 31, alleged to be the representative of a Far East betting syndicate, they deny conspiring to give and accept corrupt payments.

Adjourning the case until Monday, Mr Justice Tuckey indicated to the jury at Winchester that he had almost completed his summing-up and that they would retire that morning.

The judge, who has spent one-and-a-half days summing up the case, told the jury yesterday that they had seen video extracts of games involving the two goalkeepers and the defence had produced expert evidence that they had done nothing untoward.

"The defence rely on this evidence and you will take it into account in considering whether the prosecution have proved their case," he said.

Had the prosecution been able to call their own expert evidence on this point, their case would have been stronger, said the judge.

"Put shortly, the defence say what better proof can there be there was no corrupt agreement to influence the result of football matches, when no one has been able to say the goalkeepers did anything wrong. This evidence proves they never threw a game or tried to do so," said the judge.

But, he added, this evidence was not conclusive.

The prosecution said it did not prove there was not a corrupt agreement, and an agreement was proved by the fact money was corruptly given and received.

Their case was that if money was corruptly given and received, "it does not matter whether the result owed everything, little or nothing to the assistance of the corrupt player".

The jury must reach verdicts on three counts.

The first charge, against Mr Lim, Mr Fashanu and Mr Segers, alleges that between 1 February 1991 and 9 November 1994, they conspired together to give and corruptly to accept gifts of money to influence or attempt to influence the outcome of football matches.

The second charge, against Mr Lim, Mr Fashanu and Mr Grobbelaar, alleges a similar conspiracy between 1 November 1992 and 9 November 1994.

Mr Grobbelaar alone denies corruptly accepting pounds 2,000 from Christopher Vincent for improperly influencing or attempting to influence the outcome of a football match or matches.

The hearing was adjourned until Monday.