Jermain Defoe to face trial on mobile phone charge

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The Independent Online

Tottenham and England footballer Jermain Defoe is to go on trial accused of using a hand-held mobile phone while driving.

Defoe, 27, of Cuffley, Hertfordshire, denies using a BlackBerry while at the wheel of a Range Rover in Loughton, Essex, last October.

A district judge sitting in Chelmsford, Essex, said today that Defoe, who is in South Africa with the England World Cup squad, would stand trial before magistrates in Witham, Essex, on August 26.

Defoe, who scored the winner against Slovenia on Wednesday to earn England a last-16 tie against Germany on Sunday, was not in court for the case management hearing.

The court heard that Defoe, whose first name was inaccurately spelled "Jermaine" on court lists, was charged after being stopped by a police officer on October 2.

Austin Stoton, for Defoe, told District Judge David Cooper today that the footballer was a "man of very firm conviction" and was entering a "firm not guilty plea".

Mr Stoton said Defoe wanted to appear in court and give evidence and defence lawyers would argue that the police officer had shown a "lack of recollection and specificity".