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McGill reinstates star football player after domestic abuse case dropped

01/29/2015 06:12 EST | Updated 03/31/2015 05:59 EDT
MONTREAL - A star McGill University football player suspended because of charges of domestic violence has been reinstated after being acquitted.

"It's closed, he's acquitted, he's a free man," lawyer Steve Hanafi said of his client, Luis-Andres Guimont-Mota.

The case couldn't proceed Thursday after the complainant, Guimont-Mota's estranged wife, didn't show up to testify.

"The Crown had no proof to offer to the court since the plaintiff didn't come to court," Hanafi said.

Guimont-Mota was charged last September with assault and uttering threats.

The defence attorney had suggested after the initial court appearance that the facts were exaggerated and that his client was the one actually assaulted.

Hanafi said Guimont-Mota is relieved, happy to be back on the team and would resume practising with his teammates Friday.

McGill University confirmed that Guimont-Mota, a star running back before his suspension, was returning to the squad.

"It was always said he would be reinstated once justice had followed its course," university spokeswoman Carole Graveline said Thursday. "He knows he can come back on the team."

Last October, Guimont-Mota failed to have the suspension overturned by the Quebec Superior Court.

The institution had said in September he shouldn't have been allowed to take the field at all given a criminal conviction stemming from a previous incident, an assault outside a Quebec City bar in 2010.

He pleaded guilty in 2011 and was sentenced to 90 days in jail to be served discontinuously, according to publicly accessible court records.

The decision to suspend Guimont-Mota prompted Clint Uttley to resign as head coach of the McGill Redmen football team. Uttley said he had served his punishment and deserved a second shot.

The Quebec City native and business management student was named McGill's offensive player of the year in 2013.

His arrest resulted in McGill announcing it was conducting an in-depth review of guidelines on who can participate in varsity sports.

The head coaching position remains vacant but a spokesman for McGill's athletics department says it hopes it will be filled in the coming weeks.

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