13 January, 2022
Craig MacKenzie, a Solicitor Advocate in our multi-disciplinary Regulatory law team successfully opposed an application brought by the CPS and police. They were seeking a Football Banning Order against a young man who had been convicted of a 'football related offence'.
A Football Banning Order is a preventative measure imposed by a court following a football-related offence, with the aim to prevent violence or disorder at or in connection with regulated football matches. The conditions can be extremely onerous. A person who has been given a Football Banning Order (FBO) must report to a specified police station within five days and surrender their passport when required by the Enforcing Authority (the Football Banning Orders Authority), and report to a police station during the "control periods" associated with "regulated football matches" outside of the UK (see s.14 Football Spectators Act 1989).
Football Banning Orders can contain additional restrictions, such as prohibitions from entering a restricted zone around a ground for a period of three hours before to three hours after a match, and a prohibition on using the national rail network without the prior approval of the British Transport Police. Other restrictions may also be imposed such as exclusion from City Centres and associating with other named persons before and after matches.
The offence giving rise to the proceedings was a very serious violent disorder, which took place in a city centre train station. There were around 30 defendants charged.
The police believed that they had an overwhelming case and indeed also relied on the defendants record of previous convictions. Those previous convictions included similar, 'football related offences'. At a previous hearing the court was also of the view that the police had a strong case and in fact suggested that our client should not oppose the application because by adjourning the case for a contested hearing was tantamount to providing him with false hope.
Mr. MacKenzie robustly defended his client, he was convinced that there were good, compelling reasons why an Order should not be made in this case. Those reasons included, the onerous nature of the prohibitions sought, the potential impact of the order on the defendant and the time that had lapsed since the index offence had been committed. The personal characteristics and circumstances of the defendant were investigated fully and information from third parties sought to assist his case.
By proper preparation and robust presentation, a successful outcome was achieved. The young man was not made subject to the extremely onerous Football Banning Order.
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