Premier league club Sunderland AFC have been accused of sending an “absolutely dreadful message” by failing to suspend England player Adam Johnson last year despite being told he had privately acknowledged kissing a 15-year-old fan.
The midfielder was warned on 2 March that he faces a “substantial prison sentence” after he was found guilty of sexual activity with the besotted fan while the pair were inside his Range Rover. On the opening day of his trial he admitted a lesser charge of kissing the girl as well as grooming her over social media.
Lawyers for Johnson, who was told by the judge at Bradford Crown Court to expect between five and 10 years imprisonment when he is sentenced later this month, have said they intend to appeal the guilty verdict.
Legal experts said one possible ground for appeal could be a claim that there was inconsistency in the jury’s decision to clear the player of one charge of sexual activity with his victim while convicting him of a second.
Edward Grange, Partner with criminal law firm Corker Binning, said: “Inconsistent verdicts can form a ground for appeal but it is very difficult to satisfy a court of its validity.”
Read the full article in The Independent here.