Manchester United and England soccer player has been handed a suspended prison sentence of 21 months and 10 days after a local Greek court found him guilty of resisting arrest, aggravated assault and multiple counts of bribery. Maguire’s legal team immediately and successfully appealed against the decision, rendering the initial verdict null and void and meaning the 27-year-old defender will face a retrial at a more senior court. The re-trial will likely take place at the beginning of next year at the earliest and Maguire is free to travel internationally in the meantime, allowing him to attempt to get his life and career back on track.
The court on the island of Syros found Maguire, his brother Joe and their friend Christopher Sharman guilty of all charges brought before them. The trio were arrested when an alleged fight broke out during their holiday in Mykonos due to suspicions someone had injected Maguire’s sister with a date rape drug. “My initial thought, I thought we were getting kidnapped. We got down on our knees, we put our hands in the air, they just started hitting us,” the centre back told BBC Sport. “They were hitting my leg saying my career’s over, ‘No more football. You won’t play again’. “And at this point I thought there is no chance these are police or I don’t know who they are so I tried to run away, I was in that much of a panic, fear, scared for my life. All the way through it.”
Maguire claims that a group of plain-clothed police officers pulled over his minibus in Mykonos and without identifying themselves threw him and his party off the bus, assaulted him repeatedly on the legs and told him his career was over. Scared for his life, Maguire said he attempted to run away with handcuffs half on because he was not sure that the group were indeed police officers. “It was horrible. It’s not something I ever want to do again. I don’t wish it on anybody. It’s the first time I’ve ever been inside a prison,” the Manchester United captain, who is the world’s most expensive defender, said.
“I don’t feel like I owe an apology to anybody. An apology is something when you’ve done something wrong or regret. I regret being in the situation. I play for one of the biggest clubs in the world, I regret putting the fans and the club through this. “I think it could have happened anywhere. I love Greece, I think us footballers get a bit of stick for trying to stay away from everything. It’s not how I want to live my life. “It’s a massive privilege to play for the club, never mind to be captain. It’s not my decision to make,” he said. “I have great faith in the Greek law, the retrial will give us more time to prepare, gather the evidence, allow witnesses into the court. And I am really confident that the truth will be told and come out.
“I’m not going to sit here and say I didn’t have a drink all day,” he said. “I had a few drinks. Anybody who knows me, anybody who knows who has been out with me, knows how I am when I have a few drinks – I’m always aware, I always stay in control. I definitely really wasn’t drunk. I knew what was going off. I just found myself in a bad situation.”
Maguire has been dropped from the England national side and the ex-Sheffield United, Hull and Leicester player has spoken of his disappointment at the decision. Maguire was initially selected in the squad to play Iceland and Denmark next month despite reports of his arrest, with manager Gareth Southgate reasoning that the player was denying the charges and that he was convinced of his innocence after discussions between the two. “Yeah I understand – obviously I’m disappointed,” he told the BBC. “I love playing for my country, I’m physically good, I’m mentally strong.
“Mentally I can get over this. I’m a strong lad. I’m physically and mentally ready to play [so] no, I’m disappointed. But of course I understand.”
Maguire will now attempt to put the incident and looming trial out of his mind as he prepares to face another season in the EPL with Manchester United. It will surely be difficult for the record signing to concentrate on his soccer and ignore the inevitable noise that will surround him until the re-trial is completed, which could be six months from now. “Yes, the proceedings have been nullified, but this simply means the conviction is no longer recognized in law,” leading barrister Paula Rhone-Adrien told the PA news agency. “Maguire is going to be given an opportunity to state why the court was wrong to have found him guilty. Everyone is entitled to a right to appeal a decision made against them.” “It’s a complete retrial and he will even be able to adduce fresh evidence if he needs to.”