Football fan fined for homophobic chanting

14/09/2017

A Leicester City fan has pleaded guilty to and been fined for indecent chanting at a football match.

Jason Holmes, 44, from Leicester attended the Leicester City v Brighton and Hove Albion game on Saturday 19 August. At the end of the game, he was seen by a police officer repeatedly chanting a homophobic term, which was directed at the away fans. He was subsequently arrested and the CPS authorised a charge of indecent chanting, contrary to s3 of Football (Offences) Act 1991.

He appeared at Leicester Magistrates Court today and pleaded guilty to the offence. He was fined £300, which was increased from £250 due to the homophobic nature of the offending. He was also required to pay £85 costs and a victim surcharge of £30.

Prior to today's hearing, Holmes voluntarily attended an educational session provided by Kick it Out, the campaign against discrimination in football.

Janine Smith from the CPS said: "The CPS takes all forms of hate crime seriously and has an important part to play in eliminating discrimination in football. The role of the criminal justice system is to rehabilitate and prevent further offending as well as to punish. This offence was treated as a homophobic hate crime and Jason Holmes has been dealt with by the court.

"The CPS contacted Kick it Out about the educational sessions they provide as a way of raising awareness about the impact of discriminatory behaviour. Jason Holmes was offered an educational session to help him understand the full impact of his behaviour, which he attended.

"The contribution of Kick it Out to this case has ensured that, as well as facing the consequences of his actions, this defendant will understand why his actions were so unacceptable."

Roisin Wood, Chief Executive Officer at Kick It Out, said: "Through our work with the Crown Prosecution Service and Leicester City Football Club, we were able to recommend a course of action which ensured that Jason would understand the full impact of his homophobic behaviour.

"At Kick It Out, we encourage rehabilitation through education for individuals or groups that act in a discriminatory manner, where appropriate. We believe this is the best way to ensure our messages of equality and inclusion are received and understood by anyone who discriminates.

"Over the past few years, we have worked with supporters at numerous clubs to educate them on unacceptable behaviour and to understand what impact discriminatory actions could have on fellow fans.

"The sentence handed to Jason is a timely reminder that all acts of discrimination in football are against the law and can end up in banning orders or further prosecution."

Detective Inspector John Farndon of Leicestershire Police said: "This conviction demonstrates that homophobic motivated offences are not acceptable and the police will seek to prosecute offenders whenever possible. In this case the conviction, along with the attempts to educate Holmes about the effect of his actions, reinforces the police and Crown Prosecution Service's commitment to tackle hate crime."

Notes:

  • The sentence was increased following an application under s146 Criminal Justice Act 2003
  • Janine Smith is the Chief Crown Prosecutor of CPS East Midlands