Rugby boss cleared of libel fraud

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The chairman of Wigan Rugby League Football Club, Jack Robinson, 55, was cleared of a charge of attempting to pervert justice by a jury at Bolton Crown Court yesterday after a four-day trial. Mr Robinson was accused of trying to induce an executive of Leeds Rugby League club to supply him with letters purporting to show that a pounds 150,000 player transfer deal had been cancelled following damaging reports in a local weekly newspaper, the Wigan Observer.

The letters were to be used in a legal action against the newspaper with the offer that any damages obtained would be shared by the two clubs, alleged Mr Alan Conrad for the prosecution. Mr Robinson, a wholesale antiques dealer of Pendlebury Lane, Haigh, Wigan, told the jury he had acted at the behest of Cowie's father-in-law, Jack Martin, who was a fellow director of the club. He said he was always confident Mr Davies would reject the proposal out of hand - which he did. He said he only agreed to put the proposal to Mr Davies in order to keep Mr Martin "sweet" and to ensure that Mr Martin would not withdraw a pounds 250,000 loan to the Wigan club which was in financial difficulties at the time.