Ryan Giggs trial ends with jury discharged and former teammate facing possible contempt of court charge

Mick the Ram


The four week trial of former Wales manager and Manchester United legend, Ryan Giggs, has ended dramatically with the jury of seven women and four men – having lost one juror to illness –

being discharged after failing to reach verdicts on any of the three charges brought against him, despite more than 20 hours of deliberations.

Not guilty plea

Giggs had denied headbutting ex-partner Kate Greville, 38 in an incident in Worsley Greater Manchester on November 1, 2020. Additionally he also pleaded not guilty to a charge of coercive or controlling behaviour towards Ms Greville, and denied assaulting her sister Emma, 26. The Crown Prosecution Service has a week to decide whether to pursue a retrial, but any such retrial will not take place until at the earliest June 2023. 

No verdict

On Wednesday Judge Hilary Manley asked if the jury had reached a verdict on any counts on which a majority of 10 to one had agreed. The foreman of the jury answered: “No.” Asked if there was any “realistic prospect” of them reaching verdicts if given more time, the foreman once again answered: “No”. The judge warned all the jurors not to discuss the case as there may be another trial of the case at some point in the future. She then turned to Giggs, who was stood in the dock. She told him he would be bailed until Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) lawyers meet and make a decision on any future trial and a subsequent trial date is made. He was released on bail until a mention hearing on September 7, which he has been excused from attending.

Potential for a retrial

Lawyers will now have to consider the public interest of a retrial. When a jury cannot agree on a verdict the usual practice is for the defendant to be tried again by a different jury. Usually the prosecution will be given seven days to notify the court and the defence if they wish to proceed for a second time. Judge Manley told Giggs: “I have permitted the prosecution a short period of time to consider their position. More will be clear in a week’s time.”

Mr Giggs had broken down in tears as he described his night spent in a police cell following his arrest as “the worst experience of my life”. In his time at Manchester United, the club won 13 Premier League titles, two Champions League trophies, four FA Cups and three League Cups.

Possible contempt of court

At the conclusion in proceedings there was another dramatic development when it emerged that former teammate, Gary Neville, is to be referred to the Attorney General (AG) for a social media post he made during the trial. Judge Manley, has referred it as a possible case of contempt of court. She said: “Given the author is a person with a high public profile and his social media account has 1.5 million followers, it could be seen to be an attempt to influence on-going criminal proceedings and could be contempt of court. Accordingly, I am referring the matter to the office of the AG for the consideration of a potential prosecution.”

Categorical denial

Neville’s agent Di Law said that the 47-year-old, who now works as a Sky Sports pundit, was “absolutely adamant” that the post was referring to the Glazer family’s ownership of Manchester United and not the Giggs trial. The Contempt of Court Act 1981 restricts what can be said publicly about whether a defendant is guilty or innocent. It prohibits publishing any information that creates a “substantial risk” of serious prejudice to a trial, and importantly that includes social media. It is a criminal offence, punishable by a fine, or up to two years in prison.

Witness not called

Mr Neville had been listed as a witness in the trial to back Mr Giggs’ defence and was named several times in evidence, but did not appear during the trial. Giggs and Neville spent 19 years as team-mates in Manchester United’s first team and now share a number business interests. They enjoyed unprecedented success under manager Sir Alex Ferguson. Right back Neville retired in 2011 after over 400 appearances for United and winning 85 England caps.

Attorney General’s decision

The AG, Suella Braverman, will now consider the potential impact on a criminal trial and whether charges should be pursued.