A 44-year-old man has pleaded guilty to homophobic abuse during the Premier League game between Aston Villa and Leicester City.
Steve Carstairs has admitted to shouting homophobic slurs during the Midlands derby on December 5, 2021.
Carstairs, while sitting outside Leicester, shouted homophobic slurs at Villa Park after the home side scored. A West Midlands police officer overheard the highly offensive remarks and prompted his arrest.
The CPS authorized West Midlands Police to charge Carstairs with an aggravated homophobic public order offence.
Carstairs was fined £200, including a 25% increase for committing a hate crime, along with costs of £135 and a victim fine surcharge of £34.
CPS West Midlands’ Preena Mistry said: “Carstairs committed a homophobic offense during a football match between Aston Villa and Leicester. The defendant’s hideous comments would have seriously offended those who heard him, including children standing by him. The CPS will not hesitate to prosecute a hate crime in circumstances like these.”
The CPS is currently working with the police, clubs, players’ associations and football authorities to explain how these crimes are prosecuted and what information is needed to cross the threshold for charges and build strong cases.
Douglas Mackay, CPS Sport’s lead prosecutor, said: “Singing at football games can add to a good atmosphere, but if it is homophobic in nature, CPS will take that conduct very seriously.
“There is no place for hate on our football grounds. Sport is inclusive and we will work closely with football authorities, clubs and charities to keep hate out of the game.
“The impact on people who are challenged for their personal characteristics can be profound. Some people don’t care and persist with hateful mob behavior. We will not hesitate to prosecute anyone accused of these actions where there is enough evidence and it is in the public interest to do so.”
Graeme Smith, chairman of Foxes Pride, Leicester City’s LGBTQ+ supporters’ group, said: “No one goes to football to hear abuse or LGBT-phobic language that makes them feel unsafe.
“This case sends a clear message that LGBT phobia abuse is a crime and should not be tolerated. Everyone should feel safe to report it when they hear it and be sure it will be taken seriously. We look forward to continuing our work with Leicester City FC to ensure that football is a safe environment for all.”
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