Friday, 20 July 2012

JOHN TERRY , RACISM , AND THE LAW....

Friday , July 13th , Westminister Magistrate's court , Chelsea's Captain , and defender John Terry was acquitted of racially aggravated public disorder during a league match between Queens Park Rangers and Chelsea in November 2011 .

THE JUDGEMENT : Weighing all the evidence , i think it is highly unlikely that Mr. Ferdinand accused Mr. Terry on the pitch of calling him a black c*** . However , I accept that it is possible Mr. Terry believed at the time , and believes now that such an accusation was made . The prosecution evidence as to what was said by Mr. Ferdinand is not strong. Mr. Cole gives corroborating ( although far from compelling corroborating ) evidence on this point . It is therefore possible that what he said was not intended as an insult but rather as a challenge to what he believed had been said to him.

In those circumstances , there being a doubt, the only verdict the court can record is one of not guilty.

HOWARD RIDDLE
SENIOR DISTRICT JUDGE ( CHIEF MAGISTRATE )

Before you start to wonder if i am delirious , may i hastily interject that the paragraph you just read was that of Judge Howard Riddle summing up .

REWIND SCENE : A premiership football encounter last November , Chelsea's Captain John Terry got into an altercation with Anton ferdinand , disgusting insults evidently were traded ; sadly , Terry added race to the metaphor of insults , which got picked-up by an off-duty police officer in the crowd , and made a complaint to the police. The Police and Crown prosecution services decided to take Terry to court. A chain reaction was set-off which led to the Foot Ball Association stripping John Terry of the England Captaincy ; Fabio Capello resigned because he was diametrically opposed to the FA's decision to punish Terry before the Law courts reached their own verdict on the matter.
John Terry always denied the prohibited portion in his insults to Ferdinand was done proactively , but rather as a repetition , in question to Ferdinand's assertion. To be honest , The Great Shakespeare would have marveled at the story line , and the uncanny quirkiness of evidence ( or lack of it ) central to the controversy , prosecution, and consequently the Judge's ruling . That's because Ferdinand cannot vouch to have heard Terry breach the law , and no one else for that matter on the pitch could ; So low was Terry's tone , it took someone even farther than those around him to note, and seek action. The cameras recorded what appears to be an offensive word mouthed by Terry in the direction of Ferdinand .

THE LAW : The crown prosecution service defines RACIALLY AGGRAVATED OFFENCES as where

the offender shows or is driven by a racial hostility. They are offences where

*at the time of committing the offense , or immediately before, or after doing so,the offender demonstrates hostility towards the victim's membership ( or presumed membership ) of a racial group

*or the the offence is motivated ( wholly or partly )by hostility towards members of a racial group based on their membership of that group

This covers assaults , criminal damage , Harassment , and public order offences
( crime and disorder act 1998 )

ROLE PLAY : as it relates to the law and the Terry - Ferdinand court case , it is instructive to note that as quirky and weird as the circumstances surrounding the case are , i have put myself in the judge's shoes on this , it would be overreaching to hand a conviction given the evidence on display. I am not sold on Terry's reason for his utterances , but looking at the law , and the context of the incident , i would rather err on the side of NOT handing a punishment .

LESSONS : Please , Moms and Dad's , do not not grow your children to think soccer players are role models . They are not. They are mere human beings like you and i - with their faults, weaknesses , and demons . Seeing them as examples is like saying Face-book is the elixir to all the social ills on earth because it reaches everyone. Soccer stars do good communal and charity work undoubtedly , but so too ordinary folks. What we have is a passion for the sport that goes into over drive , and we propel the characters involved to the highest figments of our imagination . Reading what Ferdinand and Terry were saying to each other on that day, is what you would expect from people of their original social background. The millions they have earned has not necessarily wiped that out.

The biggest winners from this case is our society , our laws on race , and the tremendous awareness most ordinary folk now have of the law. The dichotomies on the issue of Club loyalty would remain , or probably get worse in relation to QPR and Chelsea. However, it is my believe , and more importantly , that human relations in society actually gets improved by all of this . What counts most is respect for the law.
We have also witnessed that our laws on race are robust and and dynamic. Perhaps in other countries , the "offence" Terry was prosecuted for would have been called acceptable. If that is normal , Good luck to them . It has been suggested that the whole thing was blown out of proportion , and should have never come to court. I beg to differ. Laws should not be dormant .
What better medium to show case our laws on race ! For a class that Walllow in self-publicity , it's fair game they unwittingly become pawns for the good of wider society , and not directly for their own ends. If ordinary Peter had been prosecuted for racially aggravated public disorder , who would have heard ? nobody .

JOHN TERRY : Must be wondering if in the end it was fair to loose the England captaincy when he has been cleared of any offence . It is a point . ANTON FERDINAND must be wondering why he had to suffer all the emotional turmoil for a mater he did not really bring-up. I hear you. Capello would be thinking - i Knew the FA acted hastily in sacking Terry as captain . Going back to those issues only serves to tear-out hairs .
We go forward with better wisdom , and enhanced by the Principles , Values , and laws that underpin our society . For once , it's not about Football and it's personalities self-serving ; or fans fawning over them. This time they are for a change serving the interest of the ordinary folk by making him better informed through this issue More for it.

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