Steven Gerrard was cleared of affray today when the jury at the Liverpool Crown Court delivered a verdict of not guilty. Gerrard insisted he had been acting in self-defense when he punched Marcus McGee at the Lounge Inn in Southport after an argument over the music in the club’s CD player.
Gerrard apologized about the incident, admiting he was mistaken in believing McGee was coming after him, not realizing one of his friends had already elbowed McGee in the face. Gerrard had been drinking with his friends after Liverpool’s 5-1 win over Newcastle.
Five of Gerrard’s friends admitted to affray. Another admitted to threatening behavior.
Judge Henry Globe said to Gerrard: “The verdict is a credible verdict on the full facts of this case, and you walk away from this court with your reputation intact.”
Rafael Benitez issued his relief on Liverpool’s official site. “We are really pleased,” said Benitez. “He is very important for us and he can now focus just on football.”