Stoke City star Ryan Shotton cleared of Hanley assault
STOKE City ace Ryan Shotton has spoken of his relief after being cleared of a city centre assault.
The 24-year-old was yesterday found not guilty of attacking Mark McDonald on the grounds that he acted in self defence, and to protect a friend.
After the case, Mr Shotton told The Sentinel: "I am just a happy man. Justice has been done."
North Staffordshire magistrates heard Mr Shotton punched Mr McDonald once in Pall Mall in the early hours of June 24, leaving him needing stitches to cuts to his lip and head.
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The defender, of Brunswick Court, Newcastle, accepted punching Mr McDonald but denied assault saying he delivered the preemptive strike in self-defence.
The court heard the violence came after an earlier incident in Touch nightclub. Magistrates found there may have been 'verbal contact' in the toilets between the two men. Mr McDonald said he tried to speak to Mr Shotton but said the footballer was 'very up himself' and 'arrogantly' pushed him – a claim denied by the Premier League star.
Mr McDonald admitted he was 'wound up' and said there was a confrontation in which he described a 'bit of pushing and shoving' before he was asked to leave the club.
But minutes later Mr McDonald and his friend approached one of Mr Shotton's friends outside the club.
They then continued towards Mr Shotton and another friend before last season's Young Player of the Year struck him with a single blow.
Mr Shotton told the court Mr McDonald gave him a 'very cheap shot' in the club.
He said he and his friends went to get a taxi when two men walked towards them near Pink nightspot.
The full-back said he did not recognise Mr McDonald at first but then realised who it was.
"I thought he was ready for round two. He came across the road aggressively," Mr Shotton said.
"He said he was going to stab me and beat me up. His body language was really aggressive.
"He moved towards my friend. I thought he was going to strike my friend.
"I accept I hit him. I took it upon myself to hit him to protect myself and my friend.
"It was a preemptive strike."
Shotton denied acting in revenge after the earlier incident in Touch.
"I acted in self defence for myself, and my friend," he added.
Chairman of the bench Kate Fitzpatrick said: "We find Mr Shotton not guilty and he was acting in self defence of another."