Boxer Eamonn Magee's conviction for beating up a woman in Belfast is overturned
Former world boxing champion Eamonn Magee has won his appeal against being found guilty of beating up a woman in a north Belfast flat.
The 44-year-old ex-fighter had been facing a four-month jail sentence for assaulting Louise Mullan in July last year.
But his conviction was overturned today after she failed to turn up for a re-arranged appeal hearing.
Ms Mullan previously accused Magee of launching a no-warning attack during a late-night drinking session at a friend's apartment.
The nursing home worker claimed he dragged her to the ground by her hair before kicking and hitting her.
Magee, known as The Terminator during a professional career which saw him capture the WBU welterweight belt and enjoy Commonwealth success, vehemently denied the common assault charge.
At a contested hearing before Belfast Magistrates' Court earlier this year he instead claimed she subjected him to a barrage of up to ten punches he likened to legendary US middleweight Marvin Hagler.
It was contended that Ms Mullan struck first, knowing his status as a former world champion boxer.
Magee, of Eeskdale Gardens in Belfast insisted that he only grabbed her arms to stop the blows.
Despite his denials he was found guilty of assault and ordered to serve four months in prison.
He was granted bail at that stage pending a planned challenge to the conviction.
Since then Magee has been plunged into grieving following the murder of his 22-year-old son.
Eamonn Magee Jr, himself a promising boxer, was stabbed to death on the outskirts of west Belfast in May.
Belfast County Court heard today that the appeal hearing has already been adjourned twice - once because of the bereavement and another occasion when the witness did not attend.
Prosecution counsel confirmed today that Ms Mullan was again not present, having "forgotten" about the case.
His application for a further adjournment was resisted by defence barrister Michael Ward.
Mr Ward contended: "The appellant has been having to deal with this case hanging over his head for a significant period of time, and also had to deal with a personal tragedy in his life.
"This case has now run its course."
Judge Paul Ramsey QC agreed that no exceptional reasons for another adjournment had been advanced.
He confirmed: "I'm going to grant the defence application to allow the appeal."
Magee left court without making any comment.