It is a genuine relief to see an innocent man escape punishment, so a particularly great sigh of relief at the jury's verdict on Liverpool captain and all-round-hero Stephen Gerrard. There can hardly be a man in the country more innocent that Gerrard. As this report tells us:
The footballer had been drinking Budweiser and a sweet liqueur-based shot called a Jammy Donut. In police interviews, he estimated his level of drunkenness as seven out of 10; one being "sober as a judge" and 10 being "legless".
However, at around 2am, the mood soured when Gerrard walked up to the bar and asked McGee, a customer who had been asked to take charge of the music, for a card to control the CD player. McGee refused.
Six minutes later, Gerrard approached McGee, who was still at the bar. Gerrard's friend John Doran landed the first blow, jabbing his elbow into McGee's face. As McGee reeled backwards, Gerrard thought he was about to be attacked and reacted with punches.
Ian Smith, another member of Gerrard's party, joined in. Doran and Smith then kicked McGee.
And how good to know that his innocence has been so stoutly defended by the man prosecuting him:
During the trial, the prosecutor, David Turner QC, paid homage to Gerrard's skill, describing him as a world-class footballer and "a star". He added: "Wherever you go in Liverpool, and indeed the world, there are little boys proudly wearing that red Liverpool shirt with No 8 and the name Gerrard on the back of it."
And as for the judge, good egg that he is,
"The verdict is a credible verdict on the full facts of this case, and you walk away from this court with your reputation intact."
Intact indeed. Absolutely intacta. Seven (7) men attack one (1) man and not one of the seven is hurt. The one man is hurt. Six of the seven are guilty, all except the one who hit him three (3) times. He is innocent because he was acting in self-defence in case the one man, who had already been hit and 'reeled backwards', hit him. Quite understandable. People who reel backwards after being hit are bound to hit you. Could this have been in Liverpool Crown Court? It could. So that's all settled then. Positively cuddly.