John Terry Found Not Guilty of Racially Abusing Anton Ferdinand: Breaking

Will Tidey@willtideySenior Manager, GlobalJuly 13, 2012

LONDON, ENGLAND - JULY 09:  Chelsea FC football player John Terry arrives at Westminster Magistrates court to stand trial for allegedly racially abusing Anton Ferdinand, on July 9, 2012 in London, England. The former England captain allegedly made racist comments to Queens Park Rangers defender Ferdinand during a match on October 23rd last year, at Queens Park Rangers' ground, Loftus Road, in west London. (Photo by Neil Mockford/Getty Images)
Neil Mockford/Getty Images

Chelsea and England defender John Terry has been found not guilty of racially abusing QPR's Anton Ferdinand by a judge at Westminster Magistrates' Court in London.

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.