Edinburgh, Fife & East Scotland

St Mirren footballer Darren McGregor cleared of assault

St Mirren footballer Darren McGregor
Image caption Darren McGregor signed for St Mirren in June 2010 from Cowdenbeath

St Mirren footballer Darren McGregor has been cleared of a charge of assault after his alleged victim failed to appear in court to give evidence.

McGregor denied assaulting Chiedozi Okere at Edinburgh's Base nightclub by punching him in the face, causing him to fall to his injury on 3 July 2011.

The 26-year-old central defender, who lives in Edinburgh, had claimed self-defence.

His trial was due to go ahead in Edinburgh Sheriff Court.

However, fiscal depute, Anna Murphy, told Sheriff Derrick McIntyre that Mr Okere had not turned up. She asked for an adjournment of the trial to a later date.

This was opposed by defence solicitor, Nigel Bruce, who told the sheriff that his client had no previous convictions and that the complainer had been reported to the procurator fiscal's office for assaulting the footballer prior to the alleged assault on him.

'Dark cloud'

The Crown, he added, had not fulfilled its duty by not disclosing this to the defence.

He pointed out that there were five defence witnesses, all of whom were present in court, having taken a day off work.

The court was told that a friend of Mr Okere, who was waiting in the witness room, said he had not seen him for "some time".

Mr Bruce asked Sheriff McIntyre to accept McGregor's plea of not guilty and dismiss the case.

McGregor signed for St Mirren in June 2010 from Cowdenbeath, but in August last year damaged a cruciate ligament during a game against Dundee United and has been ruled out until the end of the season.

Outside the court, McGregor said he was "just relieved the matter was over".

He added: "Along with the injury, it has been a dark cloud hanging over me since July of last year".

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