Belfast Telegraph

Ex-boxer Collins cleared of assault

Former world boxing champion Steve Collins has walked free from court after he was acquitted of assaulting a bouncer.

A jury found the Irish fighter not guilty of punching Adriatik Vodo at the National Boxing Stadium in Dublin more than four years ago.

Outside Dublin's Circuit Criminal Court, Collins said he was relieved and emotional and planned to go home and hug his family.

"This has been hanging over me now for over four years," said Collins.

"It's been very hard because there's been accusations, a lot of things said about it. My character had been assassinated and I'm just glad now it's all come out into the open."

The 46-year-old Dubliner was commentating for Irish state broadcaster, RTE, on a fight involving Bernard Dunne, who went on to be a world champion, on the night of the alleged incident.

Collins, from St Albans, Hertfordshire, had pleaded not guilty to assaulting Mr Vodo, an Albanian national, causing him harm on June 3, 2006. Mr Vodo claimed the boxer was like a caged animal when he punched him in the face when he was stopped going in to the stadium without the correct pass.

However, Collins told the court he acted in self-defence and accidentally struck Mr Vodo as he raised an arm to protect himself. He maintained Mr Vodo had aggressively man-handled him and thumped him in the chest as he was refused re-entry.

Collins first went on trial last November, but the jury failed to reach a verdict and a retrial was ordered.

After a four-day hearing, the jury returned a not guilty verdict after just 90 minutes of deliberations - which Collins said was the correct, honest and true conclusion.

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