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Football fan jailed for 10 weeks after Euro 2020 rant on Facebook

|News, Hate crime

Don't cross the line. Racism will not be tolerated. You could be committing a hate crime.A football fan who livestreamed himself on Facebook racially abusing three England players after the Euro 2020 final has been jailed. 

Jonathon Best, 52, used the social networking site to rant about black players involved in the penalty shootout against Italy which England lost on Sunday, 11 July. 

On Tuesday, 2 November 2021 Best was sentenced to 10 weeks in custody at Willesden Magistrates Court. He had previously pleaded guilty to sending by public communication network a grossly offensive or indecent or obscene or menacing message or matter. 

Best, a forklift driver, was caught out after a colleague and Facebook friend reported the 18-second clip to both Facebook and the police after he refused to take it down. Facebook took the clip down three days later.

Elaine Cousins, from the CPS, said: “While the majority of the nation took great pride in the Three Lions reaching their first international final in more than 50 years, Jonathon Best took to Facebook to livestream a barrage of racist abuse at the three players who missed penalties during the game. 

“He used social media to publicly vilify these three young men who tried to score for England. When approached by a Facebook friend asking him to remove the grossly offensive content, Best replied ‘it’s my profile, I can do what I want’.

“There is absolutely no room in the game, nor elsewhere, for racism. The CPS is committed to bringing perpetrators of hate crime to justice where there is the evidence to do so.

“I would like to thank the individual who reported this appalling hate crime and I hope this prosecution goes someway in educating and deterring people from posting hate on social media.”

The CPS is currently working with the police, player bodies and organisations, to explain what evidence is needed to pass our legal tests to authorise charges in hate crime cases.

Elizabeth Jenkins, of the CPS, said: “Hate crimes such as these have a massive impact on players and their mental health. The CPS takes this kind of offending very seriously and this case shows that where offensive content is reported to the police we can successfully bring offenders to justice.”

Notes to editors

  • Jonathon Best (DOB: 16/07/1969) is from Feltham in the London borough of Hounslow. 
  • Elaine Cousins is a Senior Crown Prosecutor within the Magistrates Court unit in CPS London North.
  • Elizabeth Jenkins is the Deputy Chief Crown Prosecutor for CPS North West and the CPS sports lead prosecutor. 

 

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