Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Former Football Star Sex Offender Loses Appeal

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Former Football Star Sex Offender Loses Appeal

Article excerpt

Byline: Chris Knight Reporter

DISGRACED former Sunderland footballer Adam Johnson will remain behind bars after losing a challenge against his conviction for sexual activity with a schoolgirl.

The ex-Black Cats star was jailed for six years last March after he was found guilty of sexually grooming and touching the 15-year-old fan.

Johnson had his application for permission to appeal and reduce his six-year sentence dismissed by Court of Appeal judges in London on Thursday.

Johnson was able to The former England international admitted one charge of sexual activity with a child relating to kissing her and grooming the girl in his trial at Bradford Crown Court.

bombard his young victim with hundreds of messages NSPCC spokemans But the jury found him guilty of a further count of sexual activity with a child, and he was jailed in March 2016. Judge Jonathan Rose, when sentencing Johnson, said he was satisfied the girl suffered "severe psychological harm" and that he took advantage of "a young teenager's adoration of a successful celebrity".

Eleanor Laws QC, representing the disgraced footballer at the recent appeal hearing, argued the trial judge had misled the jury, which must have had "an adverse and unfair impact on the credibility of Adam Johnson in a case where credibility was the central issue".

But this was dismissed in the court's written ruling, where Lady Justice Rafferty said, although the trial judge was in "error" regarding a direction in summing up, "the error does not imperil the safety of the conviction". It was also argued Johnson's sentence was "clearly highly influenced by the fact that the applicant was a famous and successful footballer and, in fact, counted that against him."

But this too was dismissed, with the original appeal judge's view "although a sentence of six years may be stiff, even severe, I do not consider it to be arguable that it was manifestly excessive" upheld. …

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