Five year ban for fan with flare

Published Thursday, 25 October 2012
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A Derry City fan who took a flare into a cup final has been banned from football matches in Northern Ireland for five years.

Five year ban for fan with flare
Derry City in action at the Oval in the Setanta Cup. (© Pacemaker)

The prohibition imposed on William Thomas Joseph Diver is believed to be the first of its kind since new powers were given to judges.

Diver, 36, of Inveroe Gardens, Londonderry, was also given a suspended five month jail sentence.

He was convicted of possessing fireworks at the Oval Stadium in east Belfast on 12 May.

Diver was at the ground for the Setanta Cup final between Derry City and Crusaders.

The offence he was charged with under the Justice Act (Northern Ireland) 2011 related to having a Thermobaric Canister at a regulated football match.

Belfast Magistrates' Court heard on Thursday that he was searched and arrested at the ground before the device could be let off.

His lawyer said Diver had brought it with him to create an atmosphere at the match.

There was never any intention to try to cause injuries, it was stressed.

The court was told Diver didn't get to see the final, which Crusaders won after a penalty shoot-out.

Passing sentence, District Judge Rosie Watters imposed a football banning order under the 2011 Act.

It prohibits Diver from attending any regulated matches in Northern Ireland until October 2017.

The five month jail term was suspended for two years.

Diver has instructed his lawyers to appeal against the sentence.

Commenting on the ban, PSNI Superintendent Nigel Goddard said: "Sporting events which aim to attract families and a diverse age range of spectators, want to create a safe environment for fans to enjoy the sport and share in their team or athletes achievements.

"They are not a place for violence and violence should not be allowed to mar such occasions.

"I welcome this decision by the courts to issue a five year football banning order in relation to this incident where a 36 year old male, was found in possession of two grenade type devices at the Setanta Cup Final at the Oval, East Belfast on 12 May 2012."

© UTV News
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1 Comments
Patrick B in Belfast wrote (706 days ago):
"They are not a place for violence and violence should not be allowed to mar such occasions." What a ridiculous statement. Where did the fan state that he intended there to be violence? All he wanted to do was bring a flare in, it's not exactly a hand grenade....
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