Judge says Linfield fan alleged to be in breach of Football Banning Order may be arrested if he doesn't attend court

Ballymena courthouse. Picture: National World
Ballymena courthouse. Picture: National World

Jay David Thompson (21), of Braeside Grove in Belfast, is charged with the breaches on August 12, August 15 and August 18 this year.

The defendant was not in attendance at Ballymena Magistrates' Court on October 19.

Thompson had received the three-year Football Banning Order at Ballymena Court in July this year.

That court heard he lobbed a water balloon at fans at a Larne versus Linfield match on Friday, April 21 this year - the night the home team were presented with the Irish League title trophy.

He had also been ordered to do 120 hours of Community Service.

Thompson had admitted a charge of throwing an article 'capable of causing injury' and being disorderly but a charge of resisting a police officer in the execution of his duty was withdrawn by a prosecutor.

The match ended 1-1. Larne were presented with the league trophy after wrapping up the title the previous week. It was the first time in Larne's history that they had won the league.

A prosecutor told the July court police were in attendance at a Larne v Linfield game and officers in "Stand B" saw the defendant "shouting and screaming".

The court heard he shouted "slut" at a female "at the top of his voice". He then lobbed a "water balloon into the opposite team's supporters" and continued to "shout and behave in a disorderly manner".

Police spoke to him after the game and he attempted to make off.

He would not follow instructions nor allow handcuffs to be applied and he was arrested.

He made admissions to police about throwing the water balloon, the prosecutor said.

A defence lawyer said it had been "reprehensible" behaviour and the defendant had described his conduct as "disgusting".

The lawyer said it had also been "childish, foolish, stupid" and that the defendant said the balloon had been brought to the match by another person.

At the July court, District Judge Nigel Broderick said a pre-sentence report showed the defendant said he was "not in a good head space" and that Thompson had said a person "planned to buy water balloons to throw at supporters".

The judge said the defendant had filled the balloon with "water" at toilet facilities in the ground.

Judge Broderick said there had been an "element of premeditation" and said it was "extremely dangerous" to throw items into a crowd which could include men, women and children.

The judge added: "I think the safest thing is to keep him away from football. It would send a very clear message to all the other supporters who go to football matches, if you throw things into the crowd then you can expect to receive a Football Banning Order."

Judge Broderick said a three-year Banning Order was the minimum period which could be given under the legislation.

He added: "I take a dim view. There must be deterrence involved in this sentence. I am going to make the Football Banning Order for a period of three years.

"It is as much a deterrence to others as it a punishment to you. So if anyone reads about this case in the media they should be under no illusions.

"If anyone else appears in this court and does something similar then they can readily expect the possibility of a Football Banning Order.

"Hopefully that will act as a clear deterrence to prevent other like-minded fans from throwing things into the crowd."

Judge Broderick said the Community Service was a "direct alternative to imprisonment".

Thompson had then appealed the Football Banning Order but a judge dismissed the appeal and affirmed the Order.