x Abu Dhabi, UAE Thursday 20 July 2017

There is 'no motivation to fabricate' in the John Terry case

Prosecutors made their final argument that Anton Ferdinand lacks the motivation or sophistication to fabricate his claims that John Terry directed racist comments at him, but the defence states Ferdinand has been inconsistent.

John Terry, centre, arrives at Westminster Magistrates court for the final day on his hearing of racial abuse charges.
John Terry, centre, arrives at Westminster Magistrates court for the final day on his hearing of racial abuse charges.

LONDON // The prosecutor in John Terry's racism trial said the opponent the Chelsea captain is accused of racially abusing lacks the "motivation or the sophistication" to invent the allegations.

In his closing argument Thursday, Duncan Penny said Terry had been exhibiting a "pattern of behaviour" during the Premier League game in October in hurling "bursts" of abuse at Queens Park Rangers player Anton Ferdinand.

Penny claims Terry was "lashing out" after being goaded about his alleged extramarital affair with then-England teammate Wayne Bridge's former girlfriend.

Terry denies a racially aggravated public order charge and said the phrase was used sarcastically to counter the obscenity he claims Ferdinand was accusing him of saying.

But prosecutors said that defence was implausible, noting that Terry added an extra expletive at the start of his response.

They also asked chief magistrate Howard Riddle to consider what would motivate Ferdinand to be "reckless" and concoct the allegation.

"It's very unlikely that Mr Ferdinand, in the heat of the moment, with five minutes to go ... would have had the motivation or the sophistication to make the allegation suggested," Penny said.

Riddle said the verdict in the case would be announced no earlier than today.

Ferdinand had initially wanted football authorities to deal with the case rather than the police and had been reluctant to report the incident. The case was sparked by an off-duty police officer's complaint.

"What was in this for Anton Ferdinand? ... This case may follow him for the rest of his career," Penny said on the fourth day of the trial.

"He made it clear he did not wish to be here [in court], just like Mr [Ashley] Cole," the prosecutor said.

Terry was stripped by the Football Association of the England captaincy in February when this case was delayed until after the European Championship, leading Fabio Capello to quit as coach for believing his authority had been undermined. The defence used its closing argument to describe Ferdinand as "inconsistent and unreliable" with his recollection of the words and events at the heart of the case.

"This is not a case about racism. The prosecution in cross-examination conceded that he is not a racist," lawyer George Carter-Stephenson said.

Carter-Stephenson said Terry had faced such abuse "hundreds of times before" and had not previously lost his temper. "Can it really be right that Mr Terry totally loses his cool, as suggested by the prosecution, in relation to a further taunt by Mr Ferdinand?" Carter-Stephenson asked.

Terry faces a maximum fine of £2,500 (Dh 14,160) if he becomes the first top football player in England convicted of racial abuse during a game.

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