Rams spectator who shouted racist insults facing match ban
A DERBY County supporter is facing a three-year match ban after being found guilty of shouting racial insults at two players during a match at Pride Park.
Adam Smith was overheard by other fans at a match being verbally abusive about Derby player Nathan Tyson and Birmingham City player Marlon King.
He denied two charges of racially aggravated use of threatening and abusive language but was found guilty after a two-day trial at Southern Derbyshire Magistrates' Court.
The 34-year-old, of Merrill Way, Allenton, was overheard by three other fans at a match between Derby County and Birmingham City at Pride Park on November 24. Fans told police he had been shouting abuse at black players.
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Finding him guilty yesterday, presiding magistrate Graham Foster said the evidence of the three prosecution witnesses was "compelling".
Mr Foster said: "The evidence we have heard from the three prosecution witnesses has been consistent and repeated. They gave explicit and graphic descriptions of the words heard."
He added that Smith had received a binding order nine years ago for punching a man but had not been in trouble with police before and was regarded as being of good character.
Six defence witnesses also gave evidence to say they had not heard Smith use racist language directed at the players.
Smith will be sentenced next month and is facing a minimum banning order for three years.
Superintendent Gary Parkin, who is in charge of policing at Derby County, said: "Derbyshire Constabulary and Derby County Football Club have worked hard to ensure Pride Park is a safe, family friendly environment to watch football. Racial abuse will not be tolerated and will be dealt with robustly."
Derby County's chief executive Sam Rush said: "Racism will not be tolerated at Pride Park Stadium.
"Thankfully these are isolated incidents. However, when they do take place, the people involved can expect to be arrested and feel the full force of the law."