A RUGBY Lions player and former world clay pigeon shooting champion is to stand trial accused of breaking an opponent’s jaw during a match.
Rugby Lions number eight Ben Husthwaite pleaded not guilty at Warwick Crown Court to inflicting grievous bodily harm on Shipston on Stour RFC player Alex Watton.
The charge follows an incident during a one-sided game between the two teams at Shipston’s Mayo Road ground on February 20 – which Lions won 55-3.
Husthwaite, who has also captained the Lions, is alleged to have gone over to Watton, Shipston’s tight-head prop, and punched him in an off-the-ball incident, breaking his jaw.
Judge Richard Griffith-Jones adjourned the case for trial, which is expected to last three days, and Husthwaite, 38, of Narborough, Leicestershire, was granted unconditional bail.
Although a keen rugby player, Husthwaite is best known as an international clay pigeon marksman – making his name in the ‘sporting’ discipline of the sport.
His international successes began with becoming World Junior Sporting champion and FITASC (Federation Internationale du Tir aux Armes Sportives de Chasse) world champion in 1998.
He has held a number of World, European and British titles in more recent years, including being World Sportrap Champion in 2008, World Sporting Champion in 2010 and World FITASC runner-up in 2010 and 2012.
Husthwaite’s trial, in which prosecutor Michelle Heeley said there are likely to be four prosecution witnesses, is not expected to take place until the end of May.
His barrister Jamie Baxter had been told that if the case was to be given a fixed date for trial, it could not be listed until November.