Anything About Everything

25 July 2009

Steven Gerrard

Filed under: Behaviour,Celebrity,Law & Order,Society,Sport — rajiv @ 2:41 pm

So Steven Gerrard has been acquitted of affray.

Members of the jury took just over 70 minutes to find the Reds’ captain not guilty.

Judge Henry Globe told him: “The verdict is a credible verdict on the full facts of this case, and you walk away from this court with your reputation intact.

“You did not start the violence, it was started by the violent elbowing of Marcus McGee in the face by one of your friends John Doran.

“At all times you insisted that you only ever acted in what you believed was reasonable self-defence to what you understandably, albeit you accept mistakenly, believed was an attempted attack upon you by Marcus McGee.

“What at first sight to the casual observer may seem to have been a clear-cut case against you of unlawful violence, has been nowhere near as clear-cut upon careful analysis of the evidence.”

When he was interviewed by police after the incident:

The England midfielder told police he had been drinking but he said it was another man, Marcus McGee, who was initially arrogant and aggressive.

The footballer, who denies affray, told police he hit out in self-defence.


The court heard Mr Gerrard said he wanted to sort the problem out – as he had on other occasions when he had been “mithered” – so went back to discuss the problem with him.

The footballer said he believed Mr McGee was going to attack him.

“He stood up quite aggressively out of his stool and I thought to myself ‘I am not going to be able to sort this out in the way I wanted’,” he told police.

“I thought he was going to give me a smack,” he added.

“He was shouting back and I didn’t know what he was saying but he started arguing and I thought he was going to hit me so that’s why I threw a punch.”

Mr Gerrard admitted throwing three punches but told the police only one connected.

At common law, “A person may use such force as is [objectively] reasonable in the circumstances as he [subjectively] believes them to be.”

To gain an acquittal, the defendant must fulfill a number of conditions. The defendant must believe, rightly or wrongly, that the attack is imminent. Lord Griffith said in Beckford v R:

“A man about to be attacked does not have to wait for his assailant to strike the first blow or fire the first shot; circumstances may justify a pre-emptive strike.”

However, because of the completeness of the defence, “self-defence is interpreted in a relatively conservative way to avoid creating too generous a standard of justification. The more forgiving a defence, the greater the incentive for a cynical defendant to exploit it when planning the use of violence or in explaining matters after the event.”

I wouldn’t say Gerrard was a “cynical defendant” in this case.  In any event, it is clear he can afford the best available legal advice and representation.

What is less clear is whether a celebrity has more leeway to punch someone who is “arrogant and aggressive” and who stands up “quite aggressively”.  The fact it was Gerrard’s “mate” who struck the first blow against the “victim”, and the “victim” was in fact trying to get away from his attacker, appear to be irrelevant.



  1. […] Steven Gerrard was acquitted yesterday.  Two interesting threads on Digital Spy Forums, one under “General Discussion” and the other under “Football”. […]

    Pingback by Eye-Catcher: 25 July 2009 « FIOFAFI — 25 July 2009 @ 3:42 pm

  2. Comment added here:

    Comment by rajiv — 25 July 2009 @ 4:24 pm

  3. Amy Winehouse has been acquitted as well:

    It appears that in England, a drunk celebrity who punches someone who annoys them has an excellent chance of being acquitted.

    England are world leaders for celebrity culture.

    Comment by rajiv — 25 July 2009 @ 4:28 pm

  4. Seen here:

    I am from Liverpool but not a football fan, but this verdict shows how the
    jury system fails in cases of "so called stars". I would say this
    verdict was given because the 12 people in the jury room didn’t want the
    responsibility of being the "ones who found him guilty" – I have
    been part of a jury in the very same courts and this was the attitude of many
    of the jurers in deliberation. This case should never of been heard in
    Liverpool. Maybe its time for professional jurors or a panel of judges in
    cases of "stars" because obviously the public cannot be trusted be
    be impartial. Sorry about the rant but this happens far too often.

    So it was a "Kop" out by the jury then.

    Comment by rajiv — 27 July 2009 @ 12:46 pm

  5. Thank you very much for sharing.
    I like him a lot.
    He is a hero.

    Comment by sbo — 6 May 2014 @ 6:04 am

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