Ex-footballer Adam Johnson to launch new appeal over grooming conviction

Updated: 
SOCCER-JOHNSON/TRIAL

Disgraced former footballer Adam Johnson launches a fresh appeal today against his conviction for grooming and engaging in sexual activity with a besotted teenage fan.

The 29-year-old was sentenced to six years in March last year after being convicted of sexual activity with a 15-year-old following a trial at Bradford Crown Court.

Three judges at the Court of Appeal in London will hear his renewed applications for the go-ahead to challenge conviction and sentence.

He has previously had the applications rejected by a single judge.

Johnson's trial heard that the former Sunderland and England winger kissed and sexually touched the girl in his Range Rover in a secluded spot in County Durham.

Trial judge Jonathan Rose said he was satisfied the girl suffered "severe psychological harm" and that Johnson took advantage of "a young teenager's adoration of a successful celebrity".

His conviction led Sunderland to say the club was "so very sorry" for letting down the 15-year-old fan, and to the resignation of chief executive Margaret Byrne, after she admitted "a serious error of judgment" in advising the board that the star could carry on playing after he was initially suspended.

Tweeting about the appeal, his sister, Faye Johnson, who has led a campaign to have his conviction overturned, posted: "Pleased that we now have a date for Adam's appeal against conviction and sentence. I hope that justice can finally be done for my brother."

His applications will be heard by a panel of judges headed by Lady Justice Rafferty.