Football-related offending covers a wide range of behaviour, from simple drunkenness in or around a stadium to large scale disorder. Sonn Macmillan Walker has extensive experience of dealing with the full range of football related prosecutions.
It is not unusual for those charged with football-related offences to be made subject to very strict bail conditions. Such conditions regularly include a prohibition on attending regulated matches, which can have serious consequences for season ticket holders and others. Given that cases often take many months to reach a conclusion the effect of such bail conditions is tantamount to a banning order (see below). Our fee-earners are adept in challenging the imposition of disproportionate or unduly onerous bail conditions both at the police station and at court.
The majority of convictions in such cases are accompanied by applications from the authorities for Football Banning Orders. These draconian measures prohibit individuals from attending games or even being in the vicinity of a ground when a specified game is being played. Banning Orders may also prohibit travel abroad during international tournaments or for other international and club games played outside the UK. Such orders last for a minimum of three years and breaches can be punished with imprisonment.
We have extensive experience representing defendants facing football-related allegations. Recent cases include the successful defence by Edmund Smyth and Edward Grange of three (out of five charged) supporters facing allegations of serious disorder on the London Underground following a QPR v Reading game. We are also currently representing defendants charged following disturbances after the Arsenal v Manchester United Champions League semi-final in May 2009. As a result of our representations, another client had his prosecution for a racially aggravated offence (at an Arsenal Champions League fixture) dropped in October 2008.
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