Former Barcelona Footballer Dani Alves Sentenced To Four And A Half Years In Jail Over Sexual Assault

 Dani Alves, an FC Barcelona icon, has been sentenced to four and a half years in prison for sexual assault by the Provincial Court of Barcelona.

The 40-year-old Brazilian will also have to pay the victim $163,000 (€150,000) in restitution and face a nine-and-a-half-year restraining order. Alves will be sentenced to five years probation upon his release.

According to SPORT, the court determined that the woman did not consent to sexual contact and that there is evidence to substantiate the rape that Alves was accused of committing in a restroom of the Sutton nightclub's VIP section early on December 31, 2022. 

Alves was arrested three weeks after the event and has been held ever since, accused of "sexual assault with penetration".

Prosecutors recommended a nine-year prison sentence for Alves, followed by ten years of probation. They also asked him to pay $163,000 (€150,000) in compensation to the victim, as mandated by the court.

In a television interview, the former Brazil international and three-time Champions League winner for Barcelona denied knowing the victim. Later, he admitted to having intercourse with her, but said it was consensual.

Alves later told Catalan newspaper La Vanguardia that he had initially lied because he was worried his wife Joanna Sanz would abandon him.
Alves denied raping the young woman on the stand after a three-day trial that ended on Wednesday last week.

"If she wanted to leave, she could have left; she wasn't obligated to be there," Alves told the court, adding that the victim "never asked to leave."
Alves denied punching the woman and grabbed her hair, arguing "I am not a violent man" during an almost 20-minute appearance on the stand.

When the trial began last Monday, the victim testified for more over an hour behind a screen, ensuring that she could not be identified.
The next day, around 20 witnesses testified, along with a friend of Alves' who was with him on the night of the event, describing that Alves drank a lot of alcohol before entering the Sutton nightclub.

A friend who was with the victim that evening broke down in tears as she told the court that the woman was "crying uncontrollably" after leaving the bathroom and that Alves had "really hurt" her.

In their comments to the court, police officers revealed that the victim was in "shock" when they arrived at Sutton and was concerned that "nobody would believe" her allegations when submitting a complaint.

Alves was sentenced just over a week after the trial ended, around 10:00 a.m. on Thursday in Barcelona.

Both parties may appeal the finding to Catalonia's High Court of Justice, which is expected to give its own decision in the coming months.

Mundo Deportivo published a remark from Alves' legal counsel, Ines Guardiola, who confirmed plans to do so.

"At the time, I can only tell you that we will appeal the sentence. I continue to believe in Mr. Alves' innocence. "I have to study the sentence, but I can tell you that we will appeal," Guardiola stated.

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