Leeds United soccer stars: trial delayed

The trial of three Leeds United soccer stars charged with assaulting a student was today delayed by legal argument.

England defender Jonathan Woodgate, 21, England under-21 midfielder Lee Bowyer, 24, and reserve team striker Tony Hackworth, 20, appeared at Hull Crown Court.

They deny causing 19-year-old Sarfraz Najeib, of Rotherham, South Yorkshire, grievous bodily harm with intent in an incident in Leeds city centre last January.

Another Leeds player, central defender Michael Duberry, 25, today pleaded not guilty for the first time to conspiracy to pervert the course of justice.

Bowyer, of Leeds, Woodgate, of Middlesbrough, and Hackworth, of Leeds, have also already denied a charge of affray. Woodgate also denies conspiracy to pervert the course of justice.

Two other men - Neal Caveney, 21, and Paul Clifford, 21, both of Middlesbrough - have pleaded not guilty to causing grievous bodily harm, affray and conspiracy.

Trial judge Mr Justice Poole adjourned the hearing to allow counsel for defence and prosecution to make legal submissions, which are expected to continue throughout the week.

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