Two youths receive Final Warning over Twitter racist abuse

07/02/2012

Two youths who racially abused Newcastle United footballer Sammy Ameobi using social networking site, Twitter, have been issued with Final Warnings as a result of their actions.

The two seventeen year old boys were arrested in November last year as the result of a police investigation into the incident. Both youths subsequently admitted their involvement and accepted Final Warnings at a Northumbria Police youth surgery on Monday.

Wendy Williams, District Crown Prosecutor at CPS North East, said: "The CPS understands the serious nature of racist crime and the real and lasting effects it can have, not just on individuals and their families, but also upon communities and society as a whole.

"Our policy is to prosecute racist and religious crime fairly, firmly and robustly. In deciding what constitutes fairness for such cases, the views of the victim themselves are incredibly important."

CPS North East worked in consultation with Mr Ameobi and Newcastle United Football Club during this case and a Final Warning was deemed the most appropriate course of action, given the previous good character of the two youths involved.

When the Final Warning was issued the youths were spoken to formally by a senior police officer. They admitted the offence, were warned about their behaviour and the consequences if they commit another offence were explained to them. Superintendent Gillian Mitchell of Northumbria Police said: "Northumbria Police will not tolerate racist behaviour of any kind and takes all reports of such incidents very seriously.

"Such criminal activity is totally unacceptable and, as this incident demonstrates, we will seek to arrest anyone who carries out such crimes - however they are committed - and bring them to justice."

A Spokesman from NUFC said: "Newcastle United are pleased to note the action taken against the two youths who directed racist remarks towards Sammy Ameobi on the social networking site Twitter. The Club takes such matters extremely seriously."

CPS North East also issued a strong warning to others about the consequences of using social networking sites to make racist remarks.

Wendy added: "What many people fail to realise when posting information on social media is that the information is then in the public domain and can be viewed by anyone. This can expose the user to arrest and prosecution if their activity breaks the law, such as if it involves racist abuse.

"Ironically, when a person makes such comments digitally, they will have effectively handed police and prosecutors the evidence to build a case against them."

ENDS