Vainikolo GBH charges dropped
England rugby star Lesley Vainikolo today had charges of causing grievous bodily harm dropped.
Vainikolo, 30, was accused of punching fan Jake Alicker outside the Second Bridge nightclub in Bath in the early hours of October 26 last year.
Earlier this month a jury failed to reach a verdict at his trial at Bristol Crown Court.
Today the Crown Prosecution Service, which was considering a retrial, discontinued its case against the Gloucester Rugby FC player.
As he was leaving court with his wife, Sienna, and seven-month-old son, Kava, Tonga-born Vainikolo said he was relieved.
"I'm free. I'd like to thank God for this day and this great news," he said.
"I would like to thank my barrister, my wife and son who have been there for me through thick and thin.
"The last year has been hell and I am lucky that my family and friends throughout the world have supported me.
"The prayers and the love have kept me sane.
"I would also like to thank Gloucester Rugby for having faith in me throughout this time."
Giving evidence, Vainikolo told the court he punched Mr Alicker to protect himself after he was "scared" and "intimidated" by his aggressive and threatening behaviour.
He said today: "I would never lie, I told the truth and had God on my side. If you hide the truth you will be found out.
"I can get on with my life now. I am just going to concentrate on my rugby and spend more time with my family."
Simon Calder looks at communities fighting back against the poachers
Arsenal 1 Everton 1: Substitute equalises with six minutes to go
Ashes 2013/14: England’s Ashes shambles is uglier than ’06 whitewash
Sam Wallace: David Moyes is paying the price of United’s virtual abstinence from top-level transfers since 2006. Can he refire their ambition?
Arsenal 1 Everton 1 match report: Gerard Deulofeu provides late sucker punch after Mesut Ozil's opener
Gerard Deulofeu - Why Barcelona chose Everton to educate their latest prodigy
Ashes 2013-14 match report: Another woeful display sees England lose to Australia by 218 runs to go down 2-0
- 1 A forgotten episode in Russian history leaves links with the Philippines
- 2 Turning up the voice of America
- 4 Mass murder in the Middle East is funded by our friends the Saudis
- 5 Japan cracks down on leaks after scandal of Fukushima nuclear power plant