John Terry trial: the ultimate manipulation of justice?

John Terry’s days in an England shirt are surely numbered. Stripped of the captaincy for the second time in his career and rapidly losing the respect of his peers, the 31-year-old will go to the Euros in June knowing that the tournament could be his last at international level.

Considering everything John Terry has been through – the cash-for-tours accusations, the alleged affair, the cover-up, the public shunning by Wayne Bridge, the loss of the armband, the racism charge, the loss of the armband (again), the dressing room mutiny – he should be out on his ear. It seems only his particularly muscular legal and PR teams are keeping his head above water now.

Terry will be going to court to answer a racially-aggravated public order charge. But the only reason the courts are dealing with it is because an anonymous member of the public made a complaint to police. The consequences of this are curious.

With the trial subsequently adjourned until 9th July and the media banned under section 8 of the Magistrates Court Act 1980 from reporting the reason for the adjournment, Terry will be available for selection for the Euros.

Aside from the fact that this has forced the FA to strip Terry of the captaincy, avoiding a media backlash, but at the acceptable expense of pissing off Fabio Capello, it raises an interesting point.

Had no criminal prosecution been brought by this ‘anonymous member of the public’, the FA would have been forced to begin lengthy disciplinary proceedings against Terry. If found guilty, he would surely face a fate similar to that of Luis Suarez – an eight-match ban. His position as England captain would be untenable, and relations with his England teammates irreparably soured. Not a good situation going into a major tournament.

As things stand, all that remains for Terry to do is to ride out the media storm. The debate over who will replace him at the helm is already trending more fervently on Twitter than the murky events that preceded it, and with five months till the Euros, the Anton Ferdinand incident will soon be yesterday’s news.

So perhaps John Terry should be thanking this mysterious ‘anonymous member of the public’, whose complaint has brought about a trial, which is now adjourned until after the Euros and which will see Terry, if convicted, having to pay a maximum fine of just £2,500 (the equivalent of three hours work)?

Whoever could it be?


3 Responses to “John Terry trial: the ultimate manipulation of justice?”

  1. 1 oldrope
    February 5, 2012 at 5:42 pm

    Good point well made. I was previously unaware of the media ban on the reason for the adjournment, though it doesn’t take a conspiracy theorist to realise that it was all very convenient. I wonder what Blatter makes of it all. His measured response is surely what this story has been missing so far…

    • 2 petercharles
      February 5, 2012 at 5:48 pm

      I thought it was interesting that no-one was asking the question: “why was the trial adjourned?” Nothing helpful comes up when you Google it. Then I remembered you can only report the date which a trial has been adjourned to, but not the actual reason. Probably to avoid prejudicing the eventual trial.

  2. 3 oldrope
    February 6, 2012 at 5:16 pm

    Ah that might make sense. But surely if it has been adjourned for a legitimate reason there must be many occasions where that info could be made public. If the postponement or problem relates to evidence or welfare of defendant or witness or whatever then obviously there could be many a reason to keep that out of the public domain. But it does seem odd when we know this trial will be about what a man allegedly said during a televised football match watched by millions. If Anton Ferdinand his having a hernia removed and doesn’t want to give evidence till after that, then y’know, fair cop, I can sympathise with him not wanting people to know. But does all seem a bit weird. Hints of the superinjunctions? Not being allowed to even refer to the whys and wherefores etc? Maybe I am being harsh.

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