Page last updated at 15:19 GMT, Friday, 15 May 2009 16:19 UK

Pair guilty of Sol Campbell abuse

Sol Campbell
The man and boy had denied shouting offensive chants

A man and a boy have been banned from attending football matches for three years for shouting homophobic chants at Portsmouth footballer Sol Campbell.

Ian Trow, 42, of Deanshanger, Milton Keynes, Buckinghamshire, and the boy, 14, denied indecent chanting but were convicted by Portsmouth magistrates.

The charges related to abuse aimed at Mr Campbell during a match against his ex-club Tottenham Hotspur last year.

In a statement, Mr Campbell said he felt "totally victimised and helpless".

'Bad taste'

The court statement from the 34-year-old former England defender also said: "I felt absolutely disgusted at this and I didn't react because of my profile and I feared I might make the situation worse and cause problems.

"I felt totally victimised and helpless by the abuse I received on this day.

"It has had an effect on me personally and I do not want it to continue. I support the police in their action."

After a three-hour trial, Georgette Holbrook, chairwoman of the panel, ruled the two defendants had chanted homophobic abuse during the game at Fratton Park on 28 September.

(Clockwise from top left) Silvester, Gibbs, Stevens and Turner
Four men pleaded guilty at a previous hearing

She said: "We find that the words used were in extremely bad taste; they were inappropriate, shocking and disgusting, and as such they were indecent."

The magistrates were shown a DVD of footage recorded by police showing Tottenham fans at the match.

Mr Campbell was club captain at Tottenham before leaving to join rivals Arsenal in 2001.

Angie Cunningham, defending, said the video footage was examined by a professional lip reader who said the youth, who was 13 at the time, could be seen pointing and shouting homophobic abuse.

She added that Trow could only be seen mouthing some of the words, but Portsmouth magistrates ruled he had said the same words as the boy.

Miss Cunningham added: "They passionately and whole-heartedly believed their behaviour and language didn't overstep the mark of what is acceptable behaviour and language at a football match."

Trow was also fined £500 and ordered to pay £400 costs and £15 to a victim surcharge fund.

The 14-year-old was given a conditional discharge for 12 months and ordered to pay £400 costs.

Miss Cunningham said both defendants intended to appeal against the conviction.

Following the match, Hampshire Police released images of 16 people wanted in connection with the chants.

A total of 11 were arrested and four men pleaded guilty to the offence in January and were sentenced to a three-year football banning order and a fine.

Legal first

Three men have been given police cautions while two 15-year-old boys were given final warnings, according to the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS).

While cases of racist chanting have been prosecuted before, this was the first case of indecent chanting to be brought to the courts, the CPS said.

Nick Hawkins, Hampshire Chief Crown Prosecutor and CPS national lead on football issues, said: "I am pleased we have secured convictions and admissions of guilt from all 11 people we charged in connection with this unsavoury incident.

"The magistrates' decision show ordinary people applying common sense are disgusted with the kind of things that went on at Fratton Park last September and reflect the views of ordinary football fans across England and Wales."

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