32-year-old man receives three-year football banning order for online hate related offences

RYAN Scott Fitzgerald of Bryn Y Mor, Llandwrog appeared at Caernarfon Magistrates Court today charged under Section 127 of the Malicious Communications Act 2003.

The charge related to a racist online message written by Fitzgerald on Friday, 12 May 2023.

After posting to a public Twitter account, Fitzgerald admitted directing the vile comment at Sheffield Wednesday’s Thai owner Dejphon Chansiri.

The message, which contained racial slurs and offensive language, was posted online shortly after the Yorkshire club’s League One 4-0 play-off defeat at Peterborough United.

North Wales Police were made aware of the incident following a report made by the UK Football Policing Unit (UKFPU).

Conditions set out by the FBO mean that Mr Fitzgerald is prohibited from attending any football matches in the UK for the duration of the order.

He was also ordered to pay a fine of £365.

Supt Simon Barrasford said: “Nobody should be subjected to any form of racist or religious abuse.

“Hatred of any kind has no place in society. I hope this banning order sends out a clear message that such crimes will not be tolerated.

“Fitzgerald targeted a football club owner based on his ethnicity, in what was clearly a racially motivated hate crime.

“If you see or experience such unacceptable discriminatory abuse, online or otherwise, I urge you to report it to the police.”

Sam Baker, Hate Crime Lead for the UKFPU, said: “Sadly there are people who think it is ok to go online and abuse players, managers, officials and others involved in football.

“We will investigate any reports of online hate crime and ensure that appropriate action is taken, and prosecutions such as this show that people cannot hide behind a social media profile and get away with posting these vile comments.

“Those people who commit hate crime offences are reminded that the consequences are real and they will face the strongest possible action, which can include being banned from attending matches or even a prison sentence.”

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