One of Cambridgeshire's oddest traditions gets under way this morning...
Ex-Sunderland Winger Johnson Launches Appeal Against Child Sex Offence Conviction
Disgraced former footballer Adam Johnson has launched a fresh appeal against his six-year sentence for grooming and engaging in sexual activity with a teenage fan.
The 29-year-old was jailed in March last year after being convicted of sexual activity with a 15-year-old following a trial at Bradford Crown Court.
His case will be heard at the Court of Appeal on February 28, where he will apply for permission from the full court to appeal against his conviction.
Johnson had a previous application for leave to appeal refused by a single judge in July.
His sister, Faye Johnson, who has led a campaign to have his conviction overturned, tweeted: "Pleased that we now have a date for Adam's appeal against conviction and sentence. I hope that justice can finally be done for my brother.''
Johnson's trial heard that the former Sunderland and England winger had kissed and sexually touched the girl in his Range Rover in a secluded spot in County Durham.
He was also arrested for possessing extreme pornography, and pre-trial hearings heard that police found medicines in a safe when he was arrested which indicated he may have been suffering from sexually transmitted infections.
Trial judge Jonathan Rose was satisfied the girl had suffered "severe psychological harm'' and that Johnson had taken advantage of "a young teenager's adoration of a successful celebrity''.
He admitted another charge of sexual activity with a child and grooming the girl.
His conviction led Sunderland to say the club was "so very sorry'' for letting down the 15-year-old fan, and to the resignation of chief executive Margaret Byrne, after she admitted "a serious error of judgment'' in advising the board that the star could carry on playing after he was initially suspended.
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