Brighton and Hove Albion footballers face retrial

The Argus: Clockwise from top left: Steve Cook, George Baker, Anton Rodgers and Lewis Dunk Clockwise from top left: Steve Cook, George Baker, Anton Rodgers and Lewis Dunk

Four footballers are facing a retrial over claims they sexually assaulted a drunk teenage woman in a hotel room.

A jury at the Old Bailey yesterday found Brighton and Hove Albion defender Lewis Dunk not guilty on a charge of voyeurism.

But it failed to reach verdicts on whether he, along with teammates Anton Rodgers and George Barker and former teammate Steve Cook, had sexually assaulted the 19-year-old woman in July 2011.

They will all remain on bail until they stand trial again.

Rodgers, 20, Barker, 21, Dunk, 21, and Cook, 21, were each charged with one count of sexual assault and one count of voyeurism.

They were accused of making sexual contact with a sleeping woman and exposing themselves to pose for photographs.

The woman said she discovered pictures on Rodgers’ phone which showed contact between their body parts and her body, including her face and mouth.

Only one photo was recovered by police, showing Barker giving a “thumbs-up” next to the woman’s leg, which had his initials sprayed onin shaving foam.

Exposure

The court was told Rodgers and Barker had exposed themselves and that there were other pictures taken. But the defendants denied making physical contact with the woman and insisted there was no sexual element to the pictures.

After a two-week trial, the jury of seven women and five men retired last Friday afternoon (February 1).

They spent 25 hours and 20 minutes deliberating – nearly as long as they spent listening to the evidence. Judge Charles Wide had offered them the choice of returning a majority verdict, of ten to two.

At 4pm yesterday (February 7) the jury acquitted Dunk of voyeurism, But when questioned by Judge Wide, the foreman of the jury said there was “no reasonable prospect” of agreeing on verdicts on any of the other counts.

Richard Barton, prosecuting, immediately asked for a retrial on behalf of the Crown, provisionally for April 22.

Judge Wide directed that a date for a retrial be confirmed by next Friday (February 15).

None of the players made a comment after the hearing.

Trial costs

The costof the trial has already reached a minimum of £32,000.

Her Majesty’s Court and Tribunal Services estimate that a day in a Crown Court costs £2,322.

The public purse has paid for 14 days in the Old Bailey for the first trial and the fee is set to soar with the second.

Live updates from the trial:

Week one

Week two

Week three

All trial stories are here: www.theargus.co.uk/news/indepth/bhatrial

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