Gary Neville is to be referred to the Attorney General over a social media post during the trial of his friend and former teammate Ryan Giggs.
It coms as the jury in the Giggs case was discharged after it failed to reach verdicts.
He had been on trial accused of assaulting his ex Kate Greville and using controlling or coercive behaviour against her, and the common assault of her sister. He denied the charges.
Mr Neville’s agent has since said
But who is Gary Neville, and why is he being referred to the Attorney General? Here’s what you need to know.
Who is Gary Neville?
Neville was the second-longest serving player at Manchester United behind Ryan Giggs. Neville, who played as a right-back also spent his entire playing career at the club. His brother Phil also played for the club.
In 2011 after almost 20 years with Manchester United he announced his retirement.
He went on to become the England assistant manager. Neville served as head coach at Valencia from December 2015, though he was sacked by the club in March 2016.
Along with Giggs, his brother, Paul Scholes and Nicky Butt, he is a co-owner of Salford City football club.
Outside of football he made a name as a TV pundit, and in 2013 he launched a hospitality firm called GG Hospitality with Giggs. The aim of the firm was to open football-themed hotels.
What happened with the social media post?
Giggs’ trial was delayed while Judge Hilary Manley and prosecution and defence lawyers discussed a post on Neville’s social media.
Judge Manley continued with the trial but brought the matter up again following the jury failing to reach verdicts and being discharged on Wednesday.
She said that: “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.”
The judge added: “Accordingly, I am referring the matter to the office of the Attorney General for the consideration of a potential prosecution.”
During the trial, proceedings were halted when Peter Wright QC, prosecuting, holding a mobile phone, said a social media post “by a member of the public who has a direct connection with this case” had been brought to his attention.
Proceedings were then adjourned for around 50 minutes before court re-assembled.
Back in court, without the jury, Judge Hilary Manley said she had brought the matter to the attention of the presiding, or more senior judge, on the circuit of judges in the region, adding: “No doubt certain steps will be taken.”
Judge Manley said there was no suggestion anyone on the jury was aware or had seen the post and as Kate Greville, Gigg’s ex-girlfriend and complainant in the case, was part way through giving evidence she did not want to halt proceedings and have the jury waiting any longer.
Clearly irked, the judge said the issue had caused, “considerable delay” already.
Chris Daw QC, defending Giggs, said he wanted to make it “crystal clear” the defendant did not have anything to do with the Instagram post.
The matter was briefly touched on later the same day, with Judge Manley suggesting someone, “have a word with the author”
What has Neville said?
His agent has said the post referred not to the Giggs’ trial but to how the Glazer family are running Manchester United.
His agent told the Daily Mail: “Gary is absolutely adamant that this was not about the case, but was referring to the Glazers.
“Any suggestion otherwise is not true and he will take it very seriously.”
Has the matter been referred to the Attorney General?
On Thursday a spokeswoman for the Attorney General’s Office, said: “Contempt of court is a serious matter and the Attorney General will review any allegations brought to her carefully.
“We have not yet received a referral”
What is contempt of court?
Contempt of court is an offence, punishable by a fine or up to two years in prison.
This includes publishing information that creates a “substantial risk” of serious prejudice to a trial, according to the Attorney General’s Office.
The act applies to newspapers, TV, radio and social media.