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Footballer from Peterlee cleared of causing grievous bodily harm with intent
A FOOTBALLER who was accused of breaking the jaw of an opponent during a game has walked free from court after being cleared of all charges by a jury.
The jury at Teesside Crown Court took less than half an hour to return not guilty verdicts on Kevin Devine who was charged with grievous bodily harm with intent and causing grievous bodily harm.
Mr Devine, of Manor Way, Peterlee, claimed he may have caught 20-year-old Mr Brown accidentally in the face as the pair tangled in a challenge for the ball moments earlier, but did not deliberately strike him.
He was accused of threatening his opponent after being told to 'shush' when Wolviston went one nil up in the second half.
The jury was told that the burly centre-forward was previously responsible for two 'off the ball' assaults when playing for a previous team, Horden, in September 2009.
He was sent off in one of the incidents and in the other claimed to have been provoked, having been spat at.
He had denied Mr Brown's account that he jogged up behind him and struck him deliberately after the ball was booted down the opposite end of the pitch from a throw-in.
None of the match officials saw the alleged incident and the game carried on with Mr Brown being substituted.
A number of witnesses were called on behalf of the defence to counter the prosecution claim that Mr Devine deliberately threw a punch at Mr Brown during the match.
Spectator Barry Gethin, whose grandson was playing in the game, was asked by barrister Martin Scarborough if he had seen Mr Devine throw a punch at any of the Wolviston players.
Mr Gethin replied: “Certainly not”.
Supporters of Mr Devine, who were sat in the public gallery, exclaimed “Get in” and “Yes” as he was cleared of the charges and then told by Judge Peter Armstrong that he could leave the dock.