John Terry Found Not Guilty of Racially Abusing Anton Ferdinand: Breaking
Terry stood accused of a racially aggravated public order offense—relating to an incident that occurred during a Premier League game between Chelsea and QPR at Loftus Road last October.
The prosecution accused that Terry called Ferdinand a "f**king black c***" during the match, and in so doing, used racist and abusive language.
Terry admitted in a police statement that he used the words in question, but his defense rested on his insistence he did so sarcastically—to refute Ferdinand's accusation he'd used the offensive term in question.
The following forms the conclusion of chief magistrate Howard Riddle's full 15-page verdict (as per the judiciary of England and Wales):
Weighing all the evidence together, 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 that 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 at this point 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.
A statement from Terry is likely to follow shortly.
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