Football fan who threw banana skin at black player convicted of hate crime
A football fan who threw a banana skin at a black football player has been convicted of a hate crime.
Averof Panteli, 57, claimed he had no racist intent when he threw the banana at striker Pierre-Emerick Aubamayeng, who had just scored for Arsenal against Tottenham on 2 December.
The Crown Prosecution Service had refused to accept his simple plea to the offence of throwing a missile onto a football pitch and was able to prove he acted out of racist intent.
He was convicted today at Highbury Corner Magistrates' Court and sentenced to a fine of £500, costs of £85 and a victim surcharge of £50 as well as a football banning order for four years, stopping him attending any football match in England and Wales.
Crimes that are motivated wholly or partly by hostility or demonstrate hostility towards the victim of the offence based on that person’s presumed race, religion, sexual orientation, transgender identity or disability are eligible for an increased sentence.
The CPS had applied for the sentence for throwing a missile on a pitch to be uplifted to properly reflect the full impact of the crime and the court stated that his fine would have been £300 if not for the hate crime element.
Meer Teny, of the CPS, said: "Our prosecution was able to disprove Averof Panteli's claim that throwing a banana skin at a black football player was not a racist act.
"The magistrates accepted, given the nature of the object thrown, that this clearly demonstrated hostility based on the player's race.
"This has led to a tougher sentence, which I hope will provide confidence to victims of hate crimes to come forward."
Notes to editors
- Meer Teny is a District Crown Prosecutor in CPS London North