Football banning orders for East Midlands derby brawlers

18/11/2015

A group of football fans who staged an organised brawl in Trowell following last year's match between Nottingham Forest and Derby County have been sentenced and issued with football banning orders.

After the Championship match between the two teams on 28 September 2013 a large group of fans of both teams met at a pre-arranged place, the Festival Inn in Trowell, to fight each other. The fight had been arranged before the day and specifically timed and located to avoid the police presence surrounding the game itself. The two groups of fans clashed outside the pub and their violence spilled over into the residential area nearby.

Many of the group took precautions to disguise themselves, but some were arrested leaving the scene and others were tracked down by the police from their social media records. A total of nineteen defendants were charged with conspiracy to commit violent disorder for their part in the incident. Fourteen pleaded  guilty at different stages of the proceedings, and one, Ian Litman, was found guilty by a jury. They were sentenced today at Nottingham Crown Court.

Janine Smith, Chief Crown Prosecutor for CPS East Midlands said: "These fifteen defendants were part of an organised group of hooligans who brought fear and violence to a suburban community just because they supported different football teams. It was a challenging case to prosecute. It was important to ensure that these defendants were dealt with for the full extent of their criminality. A conspiracy involves planning, pre-meditating and co-ordinating criminal activity. To prove that these defendants were involved in the conspiracy, prosecutors had to be satisfied that there was sufficient evidence that each one was involved in the organisation of the incident. Some involved went to considerable lengths to hide their identities and involvement and many escaped the scene. However, in the end the evidence was overwhelming for these defendants and they are now facing the consequences of their actions.

"Over 25,000 people went to the match that day and even more watched at home or in pubs and bars around the two cities and enjoyed the rivalry between two local teams. For most it was the highlight of their season and exclusively about the football. However, these defendants mindlessly went looking for trouble. They organised their fight, thinking only of avoiding detection, never thinking about the consequences for the people who would have to cope with this violence unfolding on their doorsteps. Rivalry between football teams is one thing, but this kind of organised violence does not belong in sport or in our society.

"Football Banning Orders are in place to make football a safe occasion for families and communities. Orders have been imposed on these defendants for the worst kind of hooliganism. We will continue to seek these orders for those who use football as an excuse for criminal behaviour."