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Football: Rape-accused Benjamin Mendy released on bail

London, Jan 7 (IANS) Manchester City footballer Benjamin Mendy, who has been charged with rape and sexual assault, was on Friday released from prison on bail.

The 27-old accused of attacking five women between October 2020 and August 2021, was freed after a bail hearing at Chester Crown Court. He has been in custody for 134 days, since first being arrested and charged on August 26 last year.

The French international was granted bail by Judge Patrick Thompson at a private hearing from which the press was excluded, while bail was discussed. The defendant had been due to go on trial this month, but the trial has been put back to June 27 at the earliest.

Judge Thompson granted Mendy bail until January 24, the date of his next court hearing. The full bail conditions were not given in open court, but the footballer was told he must live at his home address, not to contact the complainant and surrender his passport by midnight on Friday, a skysports report said.

Mendy, wearing a black suit and white shirt, replied, "OK" to the judge.

The defendant, of Withinlee Road, Prestbury, Cheshire, is accused of eight offences against five different women including seven counts of rape relating to four women and one count of sexual assault.

The charges are three counts of rape, alleged to have happened on October 11, 2020; sexual touching on January 2, 2021; two counts of rape on July 24, 2021, and two counts of rape on August 23, 2021.

Mendy has played for Manchester City since 2017, when he joined from Monaco. He was suspended by the club after being charged by police, pending an investigation.