Redknapp lawyers slam 'repugnant' prosecution case

Updated: 07 February 2012 11:09 IST

The lawyer for Tottenham Hotspur manager Harry Redknapp said on Monday that the use at his tax evasion trial of evidence from Rupert Murdoch's now defunct News of the World tabloid was "repugnant".

Redknapp lawyers slam 'repugnant' prosecution case
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London:

The lawyer for Tottenham Hotspur manager Harry Redknapp said on Monday that the use at his tax evasion trial of evidence from Rupert Murdoch's now defunct News of the World tabloid was "repugnant".

Wrapping up the defence case, Redknapp's lawyer attacked prosecutors for relying on a 2009 interview with a journalist from the paper, which was closed in 2011 amid Britain's phone-hacking scandal.

"I do not shrink from suggesting to you it is repugnant to all our basic instincts of fairness in the criminal justice process," defence lawyer John Kelsey-Fry told Southwark Crown Court.

He said the evidence from reporter Rob Beasley was "primarily despicable". Kelsey-Fry added that there was an "inherent absurdity that shrieks out at you" in some of the allegations that Redknapp hid money from British authorities in a secret offshore bank account.

Judge Anthony Leonard will begin summing up evidence on Tuesday, after which the jury is expected to retire to consider its verdict.

Redknapp, 64, and co-defendant Milan Mandaric, 73, deny two counts of cheating the public revenue by failing to declare $295,000 (£189,000, 225,000 euros) stashed in a Monaco bank account.

Prosecutors say the money was paid to Redknapp by Mandaric when the two men were manager and owner of Portsmouth respectively as part of a bonus arising from the sale of striker Peter Crouch.

In an interview with Beasley, Redknapp appeared to acknowledge the money had arisen from the sale of Crouch, but during his trial he said he had misled the News of the World journalist.

"I don't have to tell Mr Beasley the truth. I have to tell police the truth, not Mr Beasley, he's a News of the World reporter," he said.

During his trial, Redknapp has said the money was paid by Mandaric to help with investments in the United States, and that he believed any taxes owing on the amount had already been paid by his chairman.

Australian-born media tycoon Murdoch closed the News of the World in July after it admitted hacking the phones of celebrities and crime victims.

Redknapp is the most successful English manager in the modern game, having led Portsmouth to FA Cup success and guiding Spurs to the quarter-finals of last season's UEFA Champions League.

Mandaric is now chairman of Sheffield Wednesday, having previously worked at Leicester City.

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