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MLA asks Lord Chief Justice to review sentence in football hooligans' case

AN EAST Derry MLA has said he's made contact with the Lord Chief Justice's Office to ask for a review into a case involving a number of abusive Coleraine football fans.

MLA asks Lord Chief Justice to review sentence in football hooligans' case

AN EAST Derry MLA has said he's made contact with the Lord Chief Justice's Office to ask for a review into a case involving a number of abusive Coleraine football fans.
SDLP Assemblyman believes the four men - convicted over derogatory abuse during a Coleraine FC match - should be banned from "every pitch".
On Thursday Darryl James Stirling (27), of Taylors Row, Coleraine; Aaron Knight (26), of Glebe Avenue, Coleraine; Christopher Robert John Boreland (22), of Lakeside Court, Coleraine and Rhys Hutchinson (20), of Farranseer Park, Macosquin, all escaped barring orders despite being convicted of disorderly behaviour.
All four chanted abuse from the stands during an Irish Cup tie in Larne between Coleraine and Carrick Rangers in March this year.
A banner was also displayed which made reference to “refugees”, and derogatory comments towards a player included remarks like “dirty Fenian b******,” Ballymena Magistrates' Court heard on Thursday yesterday.
Other comments included “F*** the BBC”, who were televising the Irish Cup quarter-final tie at Larne live, Ballymena Magistrates Court heard.
District judge Nigel Broderick asked if the football club had taken any action against “these so-called fans” and he read from a letter from Coleraine FC Chairman Colin McKendry which said the club has a “zero tolerance” policy as part of their Code of Conduct.
Stirling was ordered to do 150 hours of community service, and Knight was put on Probation for six months and given 150 hours of community service.
Boreland, meanwhile, was given a five months’ jail term suspended for two years; and Hutchinson was put on probation for six months and bound over to keep the peace for two years in the sum of £300.
Yesterday, Mr Dallat said he had contacted the Lord Chief Justice Office and asked for sentencing in the case to be reviewed.
In statement the politician said: "This case has caused a great deal of anger not just among Coleraine supporters but has been met with disbelief that Rhys Hutchinson, Darryl Stirling, Christopher Boreland and Aaron Knight got off without a banning order, not just from Coleraine matches but every other event.
"It is extremely difficult to understand why District Judge Nigel Broderick, after watching CCTV and agreeing that it was the worst he had ever seen did not ban these undesirables from every pitch.
"Clearly as a public representative I want to see all sport prosper and be protected against thugs of this kind who have nothing to offer but the same sectarian and racist abuse which almost destroyed soccer. Since then Coleraine Football Clubhas achieved much in improving the clubs’s image and attracts a cross-community fan club which is brilliant.
"I do think the Lord Chief Justice needs to examine this case with a view to ordering a review of the sentences. If this continues there is absolutely no protection for any club or any individual."

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