Bowyer plans to sue newspaper for the cost of his re-trial

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The Independent Online

The Leeds United footballer, Lee Bowyer, has asked his lawyers to consider bringing a compensation claim against the Sunday Mirror after a prejudicial report caused his first trial to collapse.

The former England player, who was cleared of attacking an Asian student last year, is exploring the possibility of recouping his £1m legal costs from the newspaper in a novel legal action. Such a claim would be unprecedented in this country and could place newspapers at risk of double jeopardy.

The Sunday Mirror is already facing contempt of court proceedings brought by the Attorney General, Lord Goldsmith. That case begins tomorrow and the newspaper could be fined up to £1m.

Mr Bowyer's solicitor, Stephen Barker, said yesterday: "The fact that Bowyer suffered a second trial at the hands of the Sunday Mirror is unanswerable."

At the end of the second trial the judge ordered Mr Bowyer to pay his full share of the costs because he said he had lied to the police.

Yesterday Mr Barker described the costs ruling by Mr Justice Henriques as "unwarranted, unnecessary, unreasonable and unfair". Mr Barker said that because it was not possible to appeal the decision, his client was considering challenging it at the European Court of Human Rights.

Mr Bowyer's legal team is understood to have consulted the prominent human rights barrister Ben Emmerson QC.

Mr Bowyer is also facing a £50,000 civil action by Sarfraz Najeib, who is claiming assault, battery, conspiracy to injure, and conspiracy to pervert the course of justice.

The first trial at Hull Crown Court collapsed when the Sunday Mirror printed a prejudicial interview with a member of the Asian victim's family.