Terry 'racially abused' Ferdinand after taunts over alleged affair, court hears
10:52 GMT, 9 July 2012
Trial at Westminster Magistrates' Court expected to last five days
Terry faces maximum fine of 2,500 but no prospect of jail
FA inquiry has been postponed until after criminal case
Chelsea captain and England international John Terry called Anton Ferdinand a racist obscenity in response to taunts about his alleged affair with a team-mate's ex-girlfriend, a court has heard.
The 31-year-old allegedly called QPR defender Ferdinand a 'f****** black c***'.
Terry is accused of a racially aggravated public order offence during a Barclays Premier League match on October 23 last year, which was broadcast to millions of people.
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In the dock: The Chelsea captain arrived at Westminster Magistrates' Court on Monday morning
Appearing at Westminster Magistrates' Court, Terry sat in the dock wearing a light grey suit, white shirt and pink tie.
The court heard that Terry told Ferdinand to 'f*** off” and also called him a “f****** k*******' as the pair exchanged insults.
Opening the prosecution, Duncan Penny
said: 'The Crown alleges that the words he used demonstrated hostility
based on Mr Ferdinand's membership or presumed membership of a racial
Accused: Terry denies any wrongdoing after being charged with shouting an offensive comment to Ferdinand
The court heard that Terry maintains he was only sarcastically repeating words that Ferdinand wrongly thought he had used.
Mr Penny said: 'The Crown alleges
that the defendant, most probably in response to physical gestures being
made by Mr Ferdinand which the defendant understood to refer to the
well-publicised allegation of an extra-marital affair with a team-mate's
wife, shouted at Mr Ferdinand.'
No sentence: Terry doesn't face a jail term
He went on: 'The Crown's case is
that the words were abusive and insulting in a straightforward sense and
that the term 'f****** black c***' was uttered as an abusive insult
demonstrating hostility based on Mr Ferdinand's membership of a racial
'They were uttered by the defendant
in response to goading by Mr Ferdinand on the issue of his extra-marital
affair, rather than by way of exaggerated and instant querying of a
perceived false allegation.'
Terry was allowed out of the dock into the well of the court to view footage of the alleged insult.
Before the case started, defence barrister George Carter-Stephenson QC asked for Terry to be allowed to sit beside him in the well of the court rather than in the dock.
District Judge Howard Riddle rejected the request.
Manchester United defender Rio
Ferdinand, controversially axed from Roy Hodgson's 23-man Euro 2012 squad,
tweeted support for his brother on Monday.
'Morning all! Frazzled head this morning, school run done! @anton_ferdinand head high bruv,' Ferdinand said.
Terry denies any wrongdoing and has
hired the services of experienced and highly respected QC, George
Carter-Stephenson, to lead his defence.
Terry was dropped as England captain
by the Football Association once his trial date was set for after Euro
2012, and that axing led to Fabio Capello's resignation as manager and
the appointment of Roy Hodgson.
Impressive: Terry starred for England at this summer's European Championships
Hodgson selected Terry in his squad
for the championship in Ukraine and Poland and the central defender
played in all four of England's games at the tournament before their
elimination on penalties by Italy.
Chelsea defender, who did not say anything when asked for comment on
his arrival at court, takes to the dock facing a maximum fine of 2,500
if he is found guilty. There is no prospect of any jail sentence. The
trial is expected to last for five days.
Police protection: Terry wore a pink tie and grey suit for the first day of his trial
The case is being heard by Chief Magistrate Howard Riddle, and there is no jury.
Both television clips and unbroadcast footage of the incident, which would normally be used for training purposes, were shown to the court.
It is claimed that Ferdinand said something about 'shagging ya mate's missus' and made fist gestures, before Terry responded.
court was told that Chelsea team-mates Ashley Cole and John Obi Mikel
were nearby when insults were traded, but they will not be called as
witnesses as part of the prosecution case.
said in a statement to the Football Association five days after the
incident that he and Ferdinand had been exchanging 'verbals' and he had
made a gesture to imply Mr Ferdinand had bad breath.
He said: 'We're still having a, sort of, ding-dong, if you like. That's when, as I said before, he said “black c***”.
'Now clearly, as I said before, I don't think he's calling me a black c***, but at the same time I take quite a strong offence.'
Centre of attention: Members of the media flocked to Westminster Magistrates' Court on Monday
The England defender said he was not offended by the taunts about the alleged affair with Wayne Bridge's ex-girlfriend, because 'it's not the first time I've heard it, so it's with a pinch of salt a little bit now'.
However he said he was angered by any accusation that he might have used a racist insult. After the match, which took place at QPR's ground Loftus Road, Terry asked a steward to get Ferdinand from the QPR dressing room.
Terry said in his statement: 'It's myself, Anton and Ash (Ashley Cole), nobody else, and I said to Anton, “was you accusing me of calling you a black c***”
'Frazzled head this morning. @anton_ferdinand head high bruv'
Rio Ferdinand on Twitter
'That was my exact words to him, and he said “No, not at all.”'
Later in the interview Terry added: 'I'm being honest and open with you guys, that I didn't mean it in the context that, if you watch the video and me, watching the video, you can quite easily say that doesn't look good.
'But at the same time, in the context of what I thought Anton accused me of, you know, no-one can argue what my feelings were at that time.'
Immediately after the match, Ferdinand did not think that Terry had used racist words, the court heard.
He said: 'It's handbags innit – it's what happens on the pitch', and the two shook hands. But later, Ferdinand's girlfriend showed him footage posted on YouTube, and he believed Terry had used the racist insult.
It is claimed that Ferdinand made a reference to 'shagging Bridge's missus' during the exchange.
In a statement made to police last November, Terry said he was offended by the accusation that he had used racist language.
He said his words to the other player were meant to make it clear that he had not used a racist insult, and that Ferdinand was a 'k*******' for thinking that he had.
The statement read: 'Whilst footballers are used to industrial language, using racist terms is completely unacceptable whatever (the) situation.
'I was completely taken aback by this remark as I have never been accused of something like that and I did not take his remark lightly at all, and took strong offence to his suggestion.'
Video: John Terry arrives and goes through security at Westminster Magistrates Court