AFC Bournemouth defender Steve Cook has said that his recent court case has made him stronger as a person.
Steve Cook, Anton Rodgers, Lewis Dunk and George Barker had been accused of sexual assault and voyeurism in regards to an alleged incident that happened in July 2011.
They had all pleaded not guilty, after being arrested last year.
The jury in the trial were discharged after failing to reach a verdict following a three week trial.
Cook, Rodgers, Dunk, Barker along with Tommy Elphick and Ben Sampayo were all arrested in January 2012 on suspicion of sexually assaulting a woman at the Jury’s Inn Hotel in Brighton in July 2011.
Steve Cook and Tommy Elphick went on to leave Brighton for AFC Bournemouth. Cook joined the Cherries in October that year, whilst Elphick made the move in October 2012.
All the men were originally released on bail until 21st March 2012, pending further inquiries by officers.
Cherries stand in captain Tommy Elphick was later eliminated from the investigation but on 21st March 2012, Cook along with the four remaining Brighton players were re-bailed until 16th May 2012 while investigations continued.
On 30th April 2012 Ben Sampayo was told no further action would be taken against him, however Cook, Rodgers, Dunk and Barker were charged and appeared at Brighton Magistrates’ Court on 11th May 2012.
All four men indicated pleas of not guilty to both charges and all four were granted conditional bail to return to the same court on 6th July.
On that date, Cook and his former team mates were informed that they would return to Court on 3rd August 2012, where they were informed of when their trial would begin.
The trial began on 21st January 2013 at the Old Bailey and after 10 days the jury retired to make their verdict.
After initially being told by Judge Charles Wide to reach a unanimous verdict, the jury couldn’t come to a decision initially and so were told that a majority verdict of 10-2 or 11-1 would be accepted if they could not reach a unanimous decision.
After over 24 hours of deliberations the jury reached a verdict and found Lewis Dunk not guilty on charges of voyeurism. But they were unable to reach a verdict on the other seven counts against the four players.
Prosecutor Richard Barton told Judge Wide that ‘The present view’ was that they would seek a retrial and Judge Wide set a deadline of Friday for a retrial date to be fixed.
Cook told BBC Radio Solent…
‘I’ve realised a lot of things. I’ve become stronger as a person.’
‘It’s been tough for me, I’ve learned a lot about myself, I’ve not been able to train for three weeks so the games gave me something to look forward to and seeing the lads was 100 times better.’
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