A 14-year-old boy and a 42-year-old man who were found guilty of shouting “disgusting” homophobic abuse at footballer Sol Campbell have had their convictions overturned.
Ian Trow of Milton Keynes, Buckinghamshire, and the 14-year-old, who cannot be named, had denied indecent chanting at the Portsmouth v Tottenham Hotspur game in September last year.
They were accused of shouting: “Come on gay boy, that’s my gay boy”.
In May, Trow was given a £500 fine and a three-year ban from attending matches, while the 14-year-old was fined £415 and also received a ban.
However, after an appeal, the cases were heard again at Portsmouth crown court.
Reviewing the footage of the fans, Judge Price said: “We can hear the crowd, we can hear the words ‘gay boy’. We can’t be sure those words came from Mr Trow’s mouth; we can’t be sure those words came from the boy’s mouth.”
Trow told the Milton Keynes Citizen he and the boy had refused the option of being given a police caution, saying they wanted to prove they were innocent.
He added he intended to pursue civil action against the police for the “living nightmare” he had endured.
Video footage played in court at the trial in May showed up to 2,500 fans shouting chants such as: “Sol, Sol, wherever you may be, Not long now until lunacy, We won’t give a f*** if you are hanging from a tree, You are a Judas c*** with HIV”, “Campbell you are a c**** ” and “Sol’s a wanker.”
In a statement read out in court, Campbell said he felt “victimised” and “disgusted” by the chanting.
He said: “I felt absolutely disgusted at this and I didn’t react because of my profile and I feared I might make the situation worse and cause problems.
“I felt totally victimised and helpless by the abuse I received on this day.
“It has had an effect on me personally and I do not want it to continue. I support the police in their action.”
Four other men were fined and banned from attending matches for three years in January in connection to chanting at the match.