Successful defence in football case
Back in the old days, football grounds were places where anything went, and those who strove for better words often ended using four letter words. But now people watching football have to be more careful.
Things looked bad for a lifelong Wolverhampton Wanderers supporter on 11th January when he was arrested at the City Ground. Not only were Wolves a goal down in the Quarter Finals, but our client found himself behind bars.
When Morgan Gibbs-White went down and claimed a penalty, our client was accused of shouting “get up” followed by a homophobic slur. Despite Morgan Gibbs-White being a fair distance away, two policemen claimed to have heard the shout and our client was arrested for disorderly conduct.
VHS Fletchers were able to help. Helen Lees, was despatched to advise at the police station, and despite it being 2 a.m. our client gave a full explanation of what he actually shouted.
He was charged with disorderly conduct and the CPS prosecutor wanted a three year Football Banning Order which would not only prohibit him from watching any League Football for three years, but would have caused inconvenience whenever the England Team played abroad, as he would have had to surrender his passport in advance.
Fortunately, our football law expert, Jim Buckley, was able to secure an acquittal at trial. In cross-examination, the arresting officer accepted that in amongst a crowd of 28,000 people at a distance of 12 metres away he could not rule out having misheard the alleged abusive word.
The moral is not to shout anything that could be misinterpreted as abuse when at a football match. Also, always get a solicitor at the police station if you are arrested; and you should instruct VHS Fletchers to help you at Court with any football-related charges.