Paddy McCourt and Ciaran Shiels of Madden & Finucane Solicitors outside Bishop Street Courthouse

Paddy McCourt and his solicitor Ciarán Shiels of Madden & Finucane arriving at Bishop Street Courthouse for the appeal

Former Celtic and Derry City footballer Patrick McCourt has been cleared of a charge of sexually assaulting a young woman after the prosecution offered no evidence in his appeal against conviction.

Mr McCourt had been convicted of the sexual assault that occurred on January 30 but today at his appeal a prosecutor said that there were ‘evidential difficulties’ in the case.

She said that they were offering no evidence and McCourt’s appeal was allowed.

Defence counsel Eoghan Devlin said that there had been ‘a series of failures’ in the case and pointed out that no one doubted the young woman had been assaulted but not by Mr McCourt.

Judge Philip Babington granted the appeal and reminded everyone involved that there was a victim in the case.

Speaking outside the court Ciaran Shiels, solicitor for Paddy McCourt, said that the victim had been ‘failed by the PSNI’ as had his client.

He said Mr McCourt should never have been charged never mind put through “the ordeal” of the last 22 months.

The solicitor said that the former footballer had been “very shabbily treated by the PSNI in this city.”

He claimed that he believed Mr McCourt “had been singled out due to who he is”.

Derry Now