ATHENS, Greece (AP) — Manchester United defender Harry Maguire was found guilty of assault at a trial on Tuesday and handed a 21-month suspended sentence following his arrest after a brawl last week on the island of Mykonos, court officials in Greece said.
Two other defendants — including Maguire’s brother Joe — were also found guilty on similar charges and handed 13-month sentences. The sentences for all three defendants were suspended for three years.
Maguire issued a statement saying he will appeal.
“I remain strong and confident regarding our innocence in this matter,” Maguire said. “If anything, myself, family, and friends are the victims.”
Maguire, who is the world’s most expensive defender, was not present at the trial on the nearby island of Syros. He was found guilty of assault, swearing in public, and attempting to bribe a police officer.
United also issued a statement supporting the player.
“It should be noted that the prosecution confirmed the charges and provided their evidence late on the day before the trial, giving the defense team minimal time to digest them and prepare,” United said. “A request for the case to be adjourned was subsequently denied.
“On this basis, along with the substantial body of evidence refuting the charges, Harry Maguire’s legal team will now appeal the verdict, to allow a full and fair hearing at a later date.”
Yannis Paradeisis, a lawyer assisting with the prosecution and representing four police officers who were allegedly assaulted in the brawl, told The Associated Press that he was disappointed by Maguire’s behavior.
“He is a role model to young people and a sportsman. That is not the way to behave,” he said. “The officers I was representing were just doing their job. We have not heard an apology from Mr. Maguire or the other two defendants. We all understand that someone can go on holiday and get in some kind of trouble, but it is not right to behave this way. The whole thing could have ended with an apology.″
More AP soccer: https://apnews.com/Soccer and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports ___ Kantouris reported from Thessaloniki, Greece. Rob Harris in London contributed. ___ Follow Gatopoulos at http://twitter.com/dgatopoulos and Kantouris at http://twitter.com/CostasKantouris
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