RUGBY league star Sean Long told a court yesterday his Twitter account can prove he is innocent of an assault charge.
Long, who is currently on the coaching staff at Wigan Warriors, arrived at St Helens Magistrates’ Court accused of beating a woman in an incident alleged to have occurred in Rainford last May.
However, smartly-dressed Long, from Billinge, did not appear in the dock as his legal representative Donal McGuire requested a delay in the case for extra evidence to be gathered from the former GreatBritain star’s mobile phone.
Mr McGuire requested the adjournment for phone records kept by the mobile provider to be checked, telling District Judge Ian Lomax that analysis of the phone might be able to pinpoint where Long, 36, was when he posted a tweet on the day the incident is alleged to have taken place. Mr McGuire told the court: “This is information which goes to the very heart of the defence.
“The defendant says he was away from the scene where the alleged incident took place, so it is crucial to be able to establish that location.
“I appreciate the need for speedy justice, but in my submission the important consideration here is justice.
“The inconvenience of adjourning the case, which I do not suggest is trivial, is weighed against the benefit and advantage to the court of evidence of this type.”
Ali Sarwar, prosecuting, said he was mindful of the length of time it had already taken for the case to come to court but would not make any representations against the adjournment.
Delaying the case, District Judge Lomax said: “I think the adjournment is probably reasonable. It is clearly important to the defence in this matter, and it is not different from what the defendant has been saying from the beginning of the case.
“On balance it is such an unusual line of investigation that it wouldn’t form part of the mainstream response to a criminal prosecution, and I do not think it could have been anticipated.
“It is a line of inquiry worth pursuing, and on balance I will grant the application to adjourn.”
The case had been scheduled for three days this week, but will now return to court on September 30. A case management hearing has been set for July 10 which Long will not have to attend.