Former Grand Prix race-winner Eddie Irvine has been hit with a suspended six-month jail sentence following a nightclub incident in Milan over five years ago.
According to court papers, the Northern Irishman was involved in a punch-up with former friend Gabriele Moriatti, the son of the city’s former mayor and education minister Letizia Moratti. Both were issued suspended custodial sentences after the court case by presiding judge Marco Forentin.
It is understood that the entire showdown was triggered by a text message Irvine – who enjoys a reputation as a ‘ladies man’ – sent to an ex-girlfriend of Moriatti. Quite what the details of that message were remains unknown, but it’s understood Moriatti was none too happy about it.
The pair later met in the VIP area of Milan’s Hollywood nightclub, with both giving differing accounts of the events and subsequently suing and countersuing the other for assault and battery.
Ironically, both were found guilty, but it’s unlikely that either will serve any jail time.
However, Judge Forentin has referred the matter to the public prosecutors’ office for further investigation, amid claims that one of Moriatti’s witnesses perjured himself with his testimony.
It;’s likely that both Irvine and Moriatti will appeal their respective sentences, and given the inordinate length of time it’s taken for the case to even get to the courts in the first place, the trial and its sentences could be declared ‘null and void’ if the appeal is not re-heard by the end of 2015, when Italy’s statute of limitations will kick in.
Irvine, now 48, raced in Formula 1 between 1993 and 2001 for Jordan, Ferrari and Jaguar, claiming four race wins in 1999 en route to finishing runner-up in the Drivers’ Championship standings.
Quite where Irvine would rank among Formula 1’s top felons remains to be seen, but if you’d like to learn a little bit more about some F1 figures with a shady past, click here.