Manchester City’s Benjamin Mendy granted bail ahead of trial for rape and sex assault

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Following Friday’s hearing, Mr Mendy was granted conditional bail until January 24, when there will be a further pre-trial hearing.

During that period, he will be subject to “stringent” conditions, including having to surrender his passport, live at his home address and make no contact with the complainants in his case.

It is understood he was not released from custody immediately following the bail hearing, but had to return to Strangeways prison in Manchester for processing, before being allowed to return home.

The hearing was held in private, despite an application from the press to be allowed to sit in on proceedings.

Penelope Gibbs, director of the charity Transform Justice, said: “Bail or remand is a really important decision for a defendant and these hearings should be held in open court. 

“I absolutely believe in the principle of criminal justice hearings being held in public. It is a really shocking aspect of the criminal justice system that important hearings are held in chambers with the public and press excluded.”

Mr Mendy’s successful bail application comes amid growing concern in the legal profession at the number of suspects being held on remand for long periods because of the growing backlog in the criminal courts.

Jo Sidhu QC, chairman of the Criminal Bar Association, said: “An unprecedented backlog of trials has created a massive logjam of remand prisoners and there is alarming concern that custody time limits will not be extended, because a shortage of barristers and judges may not be regarded as an acceptable excuse.”

Mr Mendy began his career in his native France with Le Havre, before moving to Marseille and then Monaco.

He joined Manchester City in July 2017 on a five-year contract for a reported £52 million fee.

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