Barry Bennell: Men suing Man City over abuse 'have proved case'

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Barry Bennell
Image caption,
Barry Bennell, 67, has denied being linked to Manchester City during the 1980s

Eight men suing Manchester City over abuse by football coach Barry Bennell have done enough to prove he worked for the club, a court has heard.

The men, who are now in their 40s and 50s, claim Bennell was one of City's scouts when he abused them.

Their barrister James Counsell told the High Court the men had established their case and proved City's "main witness" Bennell is an "abject liar".

The men have said Bennell abused them when they were playing schoolboy football for teams he coached in north-west England between 1979 and 1985.

In his closing argument, Mr Counsell said the men had satisfied the legal components required to establish their case.

In a written statement, he told judge Mr Justice Johnson that Manchester City had taken "the surprising decision to rely, as its main witness, upon the evidence of a prolific paedophile".

"Bennell's evidence was the central plank supporting the arguments that the defendant chose to run," he said.

"It probably did not need the best part of two days' cross-examination to demonstrate that [Bennell] is an abject liar."

He added that "all of the components required to establish vicarious liability are satisfied in this case".

The Premier League club's lawyers have said Mr Justice Johnson "will have very considerable sympathy" for the eight men, but Bennell's "role" at City "ceased" in the late 1970s.

They have argued that evidence provided by the men "does not get anywhere near" satisfying "tests for vicarious liability".

The case continues.

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