John Terry has been found not guilty for the charges brought against him by the CPS claiming he called Anton Ferdinand a ‘black c*nt’ during a Premiere League football game last October. Footage of the incident can be seen below.
Chief magistrate Howard Riddle cleared the Chelsea captain of a racially aggravated public order offence, which Terry had always denied.
The verdict is no doubt a huge relief for the 31-year-old, who was looking at a ban from domestic football, a fine and the possibility of having his deal with Umbro cut.
Judge Howard Riddle told the court
The prosecution evidence as to what was said by Mr Ferdinand at this point is not strong. It is therefore possible that what he [Mr Terry] 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.
John Terry was spotted quickly leaving the court after the verdict and was bundled into a waiting car.
The case throws up the inevitable debate about the British judicial system and the way it protects those in positions of power and influence. Although just a magistrates court level offence, Terry instructed a QC to defend him. One barrister Pappzd spoke to said
That’s like demanding that a heart surgeon puts a plaster on your finger.
Many members of the public, particularly those of African and Caribbean origin, also took considerable exception to the fact that Terry’s England and Chelsea team mate Ashley Cole, a black man himself, attended court to defend Terry.
Others are still shocked over England football manager Roy Hodgson’s choice to take John Terry to the recent Euro 2012 football championships instead of (or as well as) Rio Ferdinand, the brother of the Terry’s victim Anton Ferdinand. Many believed that the decision was based on the animosity which had built between the two men following the incident. Hodgson and the FA claimed it was purely a footballing decision.
Whatever the case, the verdict is likely to cause new rifts within football and the wider society at large. Only time will tell how this manifests.