Monthly Archives: August 2023
The law relating to Football Banning Orders changed in 2022. The test for making a Football Banning Order used to be that one should be made when somebody was convicted of football related offences and a court was “satisfied that there are reasonable grounds to believe that making a banning order would help to prevent violence or disorder at, or in connection with, any regulated football matches”.
That has changed so that now a court must make an order unless there are exceptional reasons for not doing so.
Football Banning Orders are very draconian. Many people may think that they are limited to a ban on watching their own team play. However, standard orders last for three years and they ban people from watching any league football matches.
People are banned from travelling to the towns where their team is playing. Those subject to an order will also have to surrender their passports whenever England are playing abroad so be unable to travel themselves.
It is important to bear in mind that a Football Banning Order can be imposed without anything violent having happened. There is a long list of charges where such an order can be sought by the prosecution.
In our latest case, our client was interviewed as to inappropriate chanting at his local football ground. In interview he described his behaviour as indefensible. He was charged with disorderly behaviour. He did not seek the benefit of free and independent legal advice in this interview.
Despite these admissions, one of our experts in defending football related offences, Jim Buckley, defended him and secured an acquittal.
To be guilty of an offence of disorderly conduct it must be proved that the words used were within the hearing of a person likely to be caused harassment, alarm or distress.
The only witness was a steward with 23 years’ experience. As a result it could be demonstrated that he was not personally affected by the chanting at all. The Court refused an argument by the prosecution that it could infer that other people there would have been affected in the way necessary to prove the offence.
As a result our client was found not guilty and was able to return to watch his favourite team.
It may be capable to learn lessons from this case study – firstly, be careful what you chant at a football match,. Secondly, never be interviewed without legal advice. Finally, even if you make that mistake with the right lawyer you may still win your case.
Instruct an expert in defending football related offences
Seeking legal advice at the earliest opportunity will allow us to provide advice to you about the law and the evidence in either a police investigation or a prosecution.
If you are arrested or know that the police wish to speak to you about any criminal allegation make sure you insist on your right to free and independent legal advice. We will be present in your interview to advise through the investigation stage.
If you have already been interviewed or face court proceedings for football related offences we can still make a real difference to the outcome of your case.
We have offices across the East Midlands and will happily travel across the country to provide representation for all types of offences.
Alternatively you can use the contact form below.