leads to justice for yet another football fan
Here a Hamilton fan gives his account of his treatment under the Act and the lengthy time it took for him to get justice.
Charge: Offensive Behaviour and Threatening Communications
Date alleged incident occurred: 24/09/2014
Date of arrest: 01/10/2014
Date of trial: 24/06/2015
Verdict: Not Proven
On the 24th of September 2014 Hamilton Academicals played Motherwell in the league cup, this was the 1st time in 4 seasons the teams met.
My Version of Events (Actual Events)
On the 24th of September I had arranged to meet my Dad and Brother in Glasgow city centre, as being from the East End and South Side, it was a central meeting point to travel to Hamilton. We left on the half past 6 train, getting to Hamilton by 7pm. I had no intention going to the game as I already had a banning order because of the same charge 2 years previously. Leaving the Academical Vaults on Clydesdale Street at roughly half past 7 where we were met by other Accies fans going to the game, the usual singing and chanting progressed along the street just like any other football match. As we got to the connecting lane (between Clydesdale Street and New Douglas Park(NDP)) the Motherwell supporters train entered Hamilton west in which the lane ran parallel with. The train was packed and the fans spilled out and passed a police escort waiting at the exit onto Clydesdale Street. The Motherwell fans were forced in the Retail Park on the other side of the lane, where they threw missiles into the lane including flares and smoke bombs at the Accies fans (Police had no recollection of this at the trial) were eventually ushered down the lane by police and into the car park within the grounds of NDP. At this point I leave my Dad and Brother to head to a friend’s house that I was currently with. We had decided to head to his house in nearby Whitehill to watch the Celtic Vs Hearts game which was on the television. I was stopped by a police officer who knew my face because of “intelligence” the usual questions incurred followed by “behave yourself”. Half way to my friend’s house we decided to head back to the Academical Vaults to watch the Celtic VS Hearts Game. We then went towards the Vaults in a different direction to the lane, in which we left up Burnbank Road towards the Peacock Cross and the Vaults being out final destination.
The Accies game had entered extra time with no score and then eventually penalties. When extra time had finished I made my way down to NDP to watch the penalties at a split in the stadium, where numerous police were standing and never spoke to me despite this “intelligence”. Accies went on to win the game 5-3 on penalties. I met my Dad and Brother in the car park with the intention of heading to the train station and going home. Within minutes of meeting them, we were stopped by police, the usual name check followed and after a quick PNC check they realised I had a banning order. This was followed by my arm getting extended up my back with the intention of arrest. After a conversation, they realised I had not broken any laws by entering a stadium so they had no choice but to let me go, one officer demanded I said my details on camera even though I just gave them 2 seconds previously his colleague. At the time I had no recollection of anyone else being filmed and questioned but I have since been made aware my Dad and Brother were also filmed. Upon leaving the police officers gave me a “warning”, “you shouldn’t be doing this, your Mrs is pregnant” and if I didn’t fuck off I was getting “lifted”. By the time the interaction was done by police the car park and surrounding areas of NDP were empty. Leaving the stadium the same way we entered, we went up the lane to the train station.
By the time we got to Clydesdale Street it was carnage, people running everywhere, police with batons extended, police arresting people and sirens and police vans everywhere. We attempted to enter Hamilton West station to get the train home to be met with the police advising us the station was closed given the carnage. We were told to wait further along the street out of trouble so the crowds could disperse. When we moved up the street we were met by the same officer who politely told me to fuck off earlier with the handicam, “I thought I told you to fuck off” were his words again, so after explaining the stations closure I was told to stand across the road outside the vaults where many more police were standing and wait for it opening again, within 5 minutes said officer came across again and again asked me why I was still here, to which point he was called to another situation. Another 10-15 minutes passed before order was restored and we could get the train home. 1 week later the police turned up at my parents’ house asking me to appear at the police station. To which I did and was released on bail to appear the next day at court. I was released on special bail, conditions being not to enter Hamilton and to sign on every Hamilton away game at Helen Street Police station. The trial was put back 3 times due to discrepancies within the police statements in which it nearly took 1 year to prove my innocence during which my bail was never altered, despite my solicitor’s request, causing problems with my shifts.
Witness 1 (Police Officer)
Witness 1 advised he seen a large group walking from Burnbank Road onto Clydesdale Street at roughly 19:30 where they were seen to be chanting (Well, Well, Fuck yer Well, Fuck yer Motherwell), gesturing, swearing and shouting. I was said to be leading this group, this group then made its way into the lane were the offensive behaviour continued. The Motherwell train pulled into the platform where I and several others burst onto past police onto the adjacent platform goading the Motherwell fans into a fight. He then advised he spoke to me in the station and told me to behave but no arrest was made as “he was human and didn’t want to be too harsh” (The officer had left this vital part of evidence out in his statement). The Accies fans were then kettled into the lane to stop further incidents from happening. Witness 1 couldn’t recall any missiles being launched into the lane even though this happened the full length of it. No more incidents occurred before the match or during.
After the game the officer said he witnessed me getting my details taken in the car park and decided to do his own PNC check when hearing my name over the radio but originally denied seeing me in the car park. On Clydesdale Street he said he saw me challenging others to fight and acting in an aggressive manner, he then saw Witness 2 speak to me before getting a distress call from another officer and having to rush to his aid. Witness 1 said he then saw me running away from witness 2 to which I could not be traced that evening or I would have been arrested. Witness 1 had no other dealings with me that night.
Witness 2 (Police Officer)
Witness 2’s statement was exactly the same apart from when he left the Accies fans in the lane to deal with the Motherwell fans. Yet again he saw no missiles being launched into the lane. He also advised after the game he spoke to me on Clydesdale Street before any carnage happened which contradicted the previous witness. He advised that I never ran away when challenged but stated he could not trace me after the game despite “intelligence” and my banning order. He advised that the police attempted several times to trace me at my parents’ home which were unsuccessful until my later arrest on the 1st of October.
Judge’s summing up
The Judge entered the dock after a 5 minute interval to look over notes, which for a 2 day trial was not a long time. His opening statement advised that after Witness 1’s evidence he was left with reasonable doubt that I was the person in question that was guilty of such a crime, advising that because the officers left vital evidence out of their statements it was a case of mistaken identity and a Not Proven verdict was returned.