Retired Northern Ireland football international and current under-21 manager Jim Magilton appeared in court today accused of assaulting his teenage stepdaughter.
Standing in the dock of Antrim Magistrates’ Court in a grey suit and open-necked white shirt, the 47-year-old confirmed that he understood the single charge against him.
Magilton, from Aberfoyle Gardens in Belfast, is accused of common assault against the teenager on January 7 this year.
A police officer gave evidence that he believed he could connect the retired midfielder to the charge and when defence solicitor Ferghal MacElhatton asked for a press ban on naming his client, District Judge Peter King asked about the background to the case.
The constable outlined how it was the police case that Magilton allegedly hit the 14-year-old “a couple of slaps to the head and allegedly dragged her down the stairs by the arms”.
Mr MacElhatton said Magilton “isn’t accepting the allegations made against him”, that he gave a “full account” during police interviews and that the charge “will be contested in full”.
Refusing the solicitor’s application, however, Judge King said as the nature of the allegation was a physical assault rather than a sex assault, “my preference is for open justice, I decline to make any anonymity order”.
As there were no objections raised over bail, Judge King freed Magilton on his own bail of £500 but barred him from contacting his alleged victim and from a certain area of Crumlin.
The case was adjourned to February 28 but Magilton was excused from attending on that date.
Currently the elite performance director at the IFA and manager of the Northern Ireland under-21 team, Magilton started his playing career with Liverpool and remained with the club until 1990 when he joined Oxford Utd.
After scoring 34 goals from midfield in 150 league appearances he signed for Southampton in 1994 and, years later, he moved to Sheffield Wednesday for two seasons before going briefly on loan to Ipswich Town in a move made permanent in 1999.
His club career ended at Ipswich in 2006, having made over 250 league appearances. He moved into management at Ipswich, where he led the club for three years before managing QPR for a brief spell.
In his international career, Magilton earned 52 caps and scored five goals.
More recently he was appointed as a director at the IFA in 2013 and manager of the U-21 team in 2015.