Terry's lawyers ask for dismissal of abuse case

Published Jul 10, 2012 03:46pm

“I have been called a lot of things in my football career, and off the pitch, but being called a racist I am not prepared to take,” the court heard Terry saying on the tape. -Photo by Reuters

LONDON: John Terry's lawyers asked Tuesday for the racial abuse case against the former England football captain to be dismissed from court, calling it “weak and tenuous.”

The Chelsea captain is accused of calling Queens Park Rangers player Anton Ferdinand a “f@#$ing black c**t” during a match between Chelsea and QPR on October 23 last year.

Terry, standing trial at Westminster Magistrates Court in London, denies committing a racially aggravated public order offence.

The 31-year-old's lawyer George Carter-Stephenson applied to judge Howard Riddle to dismiss the case, saying Ferdinand was an unreliable witness.

Lip-reading experts agreed it was impossible to clarify what was said at the key moment from the footage, he added.

The case was “so weak and tenuous it does not warrant it going any further,” he said.

Prosecutor Duncan Penny will respond to the application before Riddle rules.

In evidence heard earlier on Tuesday, the second day of the trial, Terry said he suffered continual abuse during football matches but would not put up with being branded a racist.

The court was played a recording of an interview conducted a week after the incident between Terry and investigator Jennifer Kennedy from the Football Association (FA), the sport's governing body in England.

“I have been called a lot of things in my football career, and off the pitch, but being called a racist I am not prepared to take,” the court heard Terry saying on the tape.

“That's why I came out and made my statement immediately.

“I am not having Anton thinking that about me or anyone else,” he said.

Terry told the investigator he had only repeated back to Ferdinand what he believed the QPR defender had said to him.

He said he thought Ferdinand was accusing him of calling his opponent those words and was angry about it.

“I was hurt by it, taken aback and really surprised,” Terry said.

“It's something I took and didn't like it at all. I have never been accused of that before, inside or outside football. I took it to heart.”

He added: “I felt strongly about it and wanted to clear it up before I left the stadium or he got the chance to leave the stadium.”

He told Kennedy he spoke to Ferdinand after the match, accompanied by his Chelsea teammate Ashley Cole.

Terry asked whether Ferdinand was accusing him of racial abuse “and he said, 'No, not at all'.”

Terry then said, “Good,” adding that he did not want Ferdinand thinking he had racially abused him.

Terry told Kennedy that Ferdinand had been shouting abuse at him on the pitch over an alleged affair with a teammate's girlfriend.

He said he was frequently abused by fans and players over the allegation.

“As a footballer you have to take it on the chin a bit,” he added.

Terry said he was aware of how a video of the incident looked to those who did not know the context and acknowledged that the footage “did not look good.”

But he added: “I know I have nothing to hide.”

If it was the case, a player would not be “projecting it” in front of a packed stadium and dozens of television cameras, he said, adding: “I could have easily had my hand over my mouth or whispered in his ear.”

The Chelsea captain said that whenever players signed for the Blues, he always took care of them and welcomed them into his home, regardless of their race.

It emerged in court that the only person who initially complained to police about Terry was an off-duty police officer.

If found guilty, Terry could be fined up to #2,500 ($3,850, 3,150 euros), although the damage to the defender's lucrative commercial deals would likely be far greater.

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