Rugby star wins assault appeal
Welsh international rugby star Ian Gough has had his conviction for assaulting his beauty queen ex-girlfriend overturned.
Recorder Jonathan Davies told an appeal hearing there was "no reasonable prospect of conviction" after listening to two days of previously-unheard evidence.
Gough was found guilty last year at Croydon Magistrates' Court, in south London, of grabbing and pushing one-time Miss Wales Sophia Cahill at her home, days after she became engaged to singer Dane Bowers.
Recorder Davies, who was sitting at Croydon Crown Court with a magistrate, said "even a small exaggeration" in accounts of what happened could affect the decision of whether or not an assault happened.
"There is very little difference between an ill-tempered shoving of someone and an assault," he said.
"What concerns me is the difference between an actual assault and something which is not quite assault is very small.
"Both of us have no doubt that an event has occured surrounding these central events, such as anger, nasty letters, rude texts, outrage, disappointment, self-righteousness.
"There were events occurring around the central events that might have given rise to exaggeration.
"'We have both decided that there is no reasonable prospect of our convicting of this."
Defence barrister John Rees had earlier accused Miss Cahill of being "backed in to a corner" after telling "a pack of lies".
"Ýou got yourself in to a position you couldn't back out of.
"You tried to stop (the police) coming having had second thoughts about telling them a pack of lies," he said.
Responding to why she waited days to give police a full statement after making the complaint, Miss Cahill said: "Í needed some time to think it through.
"I thought the police would think 'çome on, it's just a shove' and they would think it was a bit over the top.
"But I realised what he did was wrong, he didn't beat me up but what he did was still wrong."
Singer Dane Bowers, who Miss Cahill was living with at the time of the alleged assault in January 2014, gave evidence at the hearing but a series of heated exchanges with the defence saw him sternly warned for "losing his temper".
He repeatedly challenged Mr Rees and initially refused to answer questions about explicit pictures of himself which were given to a gossip website.
Mr Rees accused Mr Bowers of lying about witnessing part of the incident and of making his evidence up "ón the spot".
Speaking after being cleared, Gough said: "I'm massively relieved at the outcome today.
"Everything was quashed, the evidence was heard that wasn't in the last case.
"The truth is out there and the right result was made.
"It's been a tough 16 months since the allegations were made.
"It's been a very stressful time."
Supported by his partner Emma-Louise Beames, he thanked his family, friends and bosses at Newport Gwent Dragons for being "fantastic".
He said he is now looking forward to being able to concentrate on his future beyond his retirement from professional rugby in May.