John Terry found not guilty of racism charges


The Chelsea skipper has been found not guilty of racially abusing QPR defender Anton Ferdinand during a match last October.


By David Wright

The Chelsea skipper has been found not guilty of racially abusing QPR defender Anton Ferdinand during a match last October.

The former captain of the England football team, John Terry, has been cleared of a racially aggravated public order offence against QPR defender Anton Ferdinand, after a five-day trial at Westminster Magistrates’ Court.

The 31-year-old centre back, who denied the charge, allegedly made the comments at a Premier League game at Loftus Road last October.

Making the judgment, Chief Magistrate Howard Riddle, said: “The issue for the court is not to decide whether Mr Terry is a racist – I have received unchallenged evidence he is not.

“The issue is whether Mr Terry uttered the words as an insult.”

Though, the judge then went on to add that: “The only verdict the court can record is not guilty.

“It is a crucial fact that nobody has given evidence about what Mr Terry said or how he said it.”

The Chief Magistrate went on to portray Ferdinand as “brave” to give evidence and said that:  “Overall I found Anton Ferdinand to be a believable witness on the central issue.”

Defending the choice to bring the case to court, Alison Saunders, the chief crown prosecutor for London, stated: “The very serious allegation at the heart of this case was one of racial abuse. It was our view that this was not ‘banter’ on the football pitch and that the allegation should be judged by a court.

“The Chief Magistrate agreed that Mr Terry had a case to answer, but having heard all of the evidence he acquitted Mr Terry of a racially aggravated offence. That is justice being done and we respect the Chief Magistrate’s decision.”

Terry, who was stripped of the England captaincy over an affair, left court without a word for the assembled media, but was cheered by a small group of Chelsea supporters.

However, his lawyer, Dan Morrison, said: “[John Terry] did not racially abuse Mr Ferdinand and the court has accepted this.

“John would like to thank his legal team for their hard work and his family, friends and Chelsea Football Club for their support.”

Chelsea’s chairman, Bruce Buck, added: “Chelsea football club notes that of course we respect the decision of the magistrate today.

“We are pleased that John can now put his mind to football and go back to training and do what he has done for many years.”

After the ruling was declared, a statement by the FA established the governing body will continue its own in-house investigation into the event.

“The FA notes the decision in the John Terry case and will now seek to conclude its own enquiries. The FA will make no further comment at this time.”

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