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Football fan who made monkey gestures at black player convicted of hate crime

|News, Hate crime

A football fan who made monkey gestures towards a black football player after he had scored a goal has been convicted of a hate crime.

Josef Smith, 40, of Dudley, was convicted today (6 February) at Dudley Magistrates Court of making racist gestures towards the Chelsea football player during the match between Wolverhampton Wanderers and Chelsea Football Club at Molineux Stadium on Saturday 14 September 2019.

Smith was seen outstretching his arms to the side and curling his fists under his armpits by three witnesses after the football player scored a goal. He was also seen to have spat from his seat in the upper stand, down to the tier below where the away fans were situated.

During his police interview, Smith denied any wrongdoing although he admitted that he was frustrated that the Wolverhampton Wanderers were losing the match.

He was convicted today at Dudley Magistrates’ Court and sentenced to a fine of £800, costs of £600, a victim surcharge of £50 and a football banning order for four years.

Sean Kyne of the CPS said, “There is no place for hate crime in football and we will prosecute offenders who demonstrate hostility towards others based on their race, religion, sexual orientation, gender identity or disability.

“We would like to thank the witnesses who challenged and reported his actions.”

Notes to editors

  • Sentencing details:
    Count 1: Use threatening / abusive words / behaviour likely to cause harassment alarm or distress - £300 fine
    Count 2: Racially/religiously aggravated harassment/alarm/distress by words/writing - £500 fine. The fine would have been £250 but was uplifted to £500 given the racial aggravation
  • Josef Smith (DOB: 9/6/1979 ) is from Dudley
  • Sean Kyne is a Senior District Crown Prosecutor at CPS West Midlands.

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