John Terry case: the judge's conclusions
Below is the conclusion of the judgment handed down by Judge Howard Riddle in the John Terry case. You can read his full verdict here. MSN has removed some of letters from words used in the trial that could be offensive to some readers.
John Terry and Anton Ferdinand
The prosecution has presented a strong case. There is no doubt that John Terry uttered the words "f***ing black c***" at Anton Ferdinand. When he did so he was angry. Mr Ferdinand says that he did not precipitate this comment by himself accusing Mr Terry of calling him a black c****.
Even with all the help the court has received from television footage, expert lip readers, witnesses and indeed counsel, it is impossible to be sure exactly what were the words spoken by Mr Terry at the relevant time. It is impossible to be sure exactly what was said to him at the relevant time by Mr Ferdinand.
It is not only that all of this happened in a matter of seconds. For a small part of the relevant time the camera's view of Mr Terry was obstructed. We do not have a clear camera view of Mr Ferdinand, sufficient to pick up exactly what he said. No matter how serious the incident looks now, and how crucial the exact wording is now, at the time it was secondary to the key witnesses.
They are professional footballers in the final minutes of a game where the result mattered to them both. They would naturally concentrate on the game more than on exactly what had been said to them or by them. There was the noise of the crowd. There is the fact that towards the end of a game players are not only physically tired (as Mr Carter-Stephenson pointed out) they are also mentally tired. I don't need evidence to tell me that.
It is a crucial fact that nobody has given evidence that they heard what Mr Terry said or more importantly how he said it. He has given effectively the same account throughout. Insofar as there are discrepancies in his account, they are understandable and natural. He says that he was himself wrongly accused by Mr Ferdinand on the pitch of calling him a black c***. He has maintained that from the beginning.
Mr Ashley Cole has corroborated that it was mentioned to him during the game. There is no doubt that reasonably soon after the game he made the accusation to Mr Ferdinand. He confirmed that basic account in a statement on the evening of the match. He gave a very detailed account to the FA and later to the police.
He gave evidence to that effect in this court. There have been minor discrepancies in the account. It seems likely that his belief that he was wrongly accused on the pitch has strengthened as time goes by, and I have discussed that above. However, his account has been subject to the most searching and thorough questioning on at least three occasions. Nobody has been able to show that he is lying.
The lip readers do not provide evidence that categorically contradicts his account. What may at first sight have seemed clear to the non-expert, is less clear now. There are limitations to lip reading, even by an expert. I have assessed John Terry as a credible witness.
Weighing all the evidence together, I think it is highly unlikely that Mr Ferdinand accused Mr Terry on the pitch of calling him a black c***. However I accept that it is possible that Mr Terry believed at the time, and believes now, that such an accusation was made. The prosecution evidence as to what was said by Mr Ferdinand at this point is not strong. Mr Cole gives corroborating (although far from compelling corroborating) evidence on this point. It is therefore possible that what he said was not intended as an insult, but rather as a challenge to what he believed had been said to him.
In those circumstances, there being a doubt, the only verdict the court can record is one of not guilty.
- Read the judge's full verdict here
related stories on msn
Would you care to comment on the case of the four Somali girls who beat a white girl half to death but were not charged as "drinking was not part of their culture"
Would you care to put yourself in that young girls parents' shoes for a minute and see how they would feel?
Would you expect four white girls to be let off if they did the same to a black girl?
And you have the nerve to say black people aren't treated equally. It's the chip on the shoulder mentality of people like you that fan the flames of racism and you do no favours to the vast majority of thoroughly decent black people who just want to get on with their life and forget about skin colour.
Rio Ferdinand is a disgrace, and is racist!!! To say that Ashley Cole is Black on the outside & White on the inside,
I grew up in Westbourne park road in London so I have many Black, White, Chinese, and Irish, Asian as well as many races’ we are all human beings, I don't see the need to mention their colour. I am angry or upset with them,
And as for the England Euro squad Terry or Rio!!! Saying that the two cannot be in the same England set up, I don’t think there was ever a chance of Rio making the Squad , he is no longer good enough to play for England Again .
This I think is the reason for him getting involved in this, and also the publicity in the newspaper’s for himself
Anton plays for the team that I support QPR!! I and I feel he has made this into something that it’s not.
This is very sad day for football and the damage that Rio has ignited, Racism attack on Ashley Cole,
Rio Ferdinand Should make a Televised Apology to Ashley Cole , and bring an end to this matter !!!
This whole thing stinks! Nobody actually witnessed Luis Suarez call Evra a much milder word and yet he was found guilty so much for justice.
And some black people will never accept that the majority of white people couldn't give a toss about skin colour. You wallow in the role of percieved victims due to injustices of the past. It's nothing to do with todays people, we couldn't influence history if we wanted to. For God's sake stop bleating on about the past (when, incidentally, black people also enslaved other blacks).
There is no doubt at all that ethnic minorities get more than a fair crack of the whip now but some just can't resist keeping on with their highly tuned persecution complex. These are the people who continue to keep the embers of racism and prejudice glowing.
A total waste of time and money. If you now swear at the police without being arrested, stating the bleeding obvious on a football pitch has only produced a win-win for the lawyers at the public's expense. Yes, sustained and aggrieved racial abuse should be dealt with, but a throwaway comment made in the heat of the moment should be dealt with by the football authorities with a ban and a heavy fine, not turned into a farcial legal circus where the verdict was known days ago. I have been called worse many a time and just ignored it.
The verdict was nothing to do with the rule of law. It was because of the insubstantial nature of the evidence. There was simply not enough proof. And the CPS , which had access to that evidence before they elected to prosecute, had no right to waste our money. The whole thing should have been left to the FA.
Bearing in mind how heavily they came down on Suarez for using the word "Negrito" I'm curious to see what they're going to do with "f.....g black c,,,t" and Terry.
I notice you are conveniently omitting to mention the fact that Ferdinand also used foul and abusive language to Terry, it was six of one and half a dozen of the other.
Is someone called you a white c**t, which of those two words would you find most offensive?
The juge applied the basis of UK law which requires the acuser to provide sufficient proof to secure a conviction. Ferdinands legal team failed to do that.
I expect if you were facing an accusation yourself you would also like the judge to demand sufficient proof before convicting you?
I know many people who are coloured, black, white or other... I see them as people not a colour or race. Why do some ethnic groups feel is is wrong to refer to their colour if they do not feel themselves that being that colour makes them inferior. there does not need to be any reference to a persons colour in discussions with them or about them, its about time it became an irrelevence. Oh and by the way, those who perpetuate this colour nonsense are the coloured people themselves.
more on msn sport
latest sport videos
msn sport poll
Who will triumph in the Champions League final?
Thanks for being one of the first people to vote. Results will be available soon. Check for results
- Borussia Dortmund
- Bayern Munich