Thomas Flint, a 23 year old Arsenal supporter, was sentenced on 12th April 2013 after admitting throwing a banana at Spurs played Gareth Bale on 3rd March (as well as shouting “F*** off, come on then you c****“). He was fined £250 and directed to pay costs of £85. More significantly (for him) he received a three year ‘Football Banning Order’.
It was not in the BBC news reports, but he also received a Victim Surcharge of £25. What does this mean? It’s not quite clear what he was charged with, but it would appear to be an offence under s5 Public Order Act 1986 (it was certainly some form of public order offence).
The maximum sentence for this is a fine (and you cannot go to prison for it). There are guidelines for magistrates when sentencing (page 88). Looking at that, it the starting point would be a Band B fine. Whilst it is not explicitly stated, the fact that it occurred at a Football Match is an aggravating feature. In light of that, the sentence seems about right.
What is the Football Banning Order? There were first introduced in 1989, but is currently found in the Football (Disorder) Act 2000. This allows a Court, when sentencing someone for an offence that is football related, to ban them from attending any domestic or international football match for a period of from 3 to 10 years. There is the ability to ‘shape’ the order to the circumstances of the individual case. This is a very brief overview and we will have a look at Football Banning Orders in more detail shortly. It is a criminal offence (with a maximum sentence of 6 months) if someone breaches it.