Stevenage man sentenced following assault at football match

17/02/2011

A man from Stevenage has been sentenced for common assault and going onto a playing area at a designated football match, contrary to sections 4 and 5 of the football offences act.

A man from Stevenage has been sentenced for common assault and going onto a playing area at a designated football match, contrary to sections 4 and 5 of the football offences act.

At a hearing at Stevenage Magistrates' Court today (17 February), Robert Fitzgerald (24) was jailed for 12 weeks, fined £100 and received a football banning order, which inhibits him from attending any FA-approved match for six years. 

The incident happened at Stevenage Borough Football Club, off Broadhall Way, on Saturday, 8 January. Fitzgerald ran on to the pitch and assaulted one of the Stevenage players, Scott Laird, following a match between Newcastle and Stevenage Borough football clubs, which Stevenage won. 

CPS Hertfordshire District Crown Prosecutor, William Winters, said: 'Football provides millions of people with hours of sporting pleasure, whether you are watching a game on TV or at a match watching from the stands. Football matches should be a safe environment for both the fans and the players alike and the actions of Mr Fitzgerald that day were totally unacceptable. 

'He has been brought before the courts and sentenced for his crime and will now have to watch the game on TV for six years, initially from his prison cell, due to the football banning order. I can only hope that the recipient of the assault, Mr Laird, is able to put this incident behind him and continue playing football and winning games.' 

Fitzgerald was arrested on 10 January; charged on 11 January and appeared at Stevenage Magistrates' Court on 26 January, where he pleaded guilty to the offences.