Glentoran footballer guilty of possessing drugs

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One of Northern Ireland’s most highly-rated young footballers has been convicted of possessing class A drugs – but acquitted of any intention to deal.

Glentoran winger John McGuigan, 21, admitted having a quantity of ecstasy and cocaine at a nightclub in south Belfast.

He had been arrested after police were called to the venue close to Queen’s University in March last year.

McGuigan pleaded guilty to two charges of possessing class A drugs at Belfast Magistrates Court on Thursday.

But the Irish League star, who has represented Northern Ireland at junior levels, denied two more serious counts of possession with intent to supply and attempting to supply ecstasy.

He was cleared of those charges following a contested hearing in front of District Judge Ken Nixon.

Glentoran manager Eddie Patterson was among those who gave evidence in the case.

McGuigan, of Hawthorn Hill in Hannahstown, west Belfast, will return to court to be sentenced next month.

His lawyer expressed satisfaction at the outcome.

John Finucane, of Finucane Toner Solicitors, said: “My client had always denied any intention to sell drugs.

“He is more than satisfied that the court has recognised this and upheld his innocence with regard to these more serious charges.”