'shouting' everton fan in court victory; Judge hears friends say they did not hear Evertonian use word 'murderers'.
Byline: TOM DUFFY ECHO reporter firstname.lastname@example.org @tabduffy39
AN Everton FC fan who was said to have shouted 'murderers' at Liverpool fans outside Anfield has won an appeal against his conviction.
Stuart Watt, 27, from Litherland, was arrested outside Anfield on December 2 last year as he made his way into the Merseyside Derby at Anfield. Sefton Magistrates heard that a police officer heard Mr Watt shout 'murderers' at Liverpool fans outside the ground.
After a trial at Sefton Magistrates in March Mr Watt was found guilty of a Section 5 public order offence. He received a football banning order for three years. He was told that he could not go within one mile of Goodison on the day of an Everton FC home game for two hours before, and two hours after kick-off. He was fined PS300 and ordered to pay PS530 in costs.
On July 12 Mr Watt appealed against his conviction at Liverpool Crown court and Judge Trevor Jones overturned it. The ECHO has approached Mr Watt's legal team for comment.
During the original hearing in March Sefton Magistrates heard how Mr Watt met a group of friends in the Royal Oak pub for a few pints and then made his way to the game. Mr Watt's friends told the court that they did not see or hear him shout 'murderers' at Liverpool fans.
Liam Jones said that he was walking down the road with Mr Watt when a police officer suddenly arrested his friend. He said a police officer suddenly reached over and grabbed hold of Mr Watt. He said that at one point the officer had hold of Mr Watt's neck.
Paul Bromilow, also a friend of Mr Watt, described a 'commotion' outside the ground and that a police officer had his hand around Mr Watt's throat.
Mr Bromilow said that he did not see Mr Watt running and did not hear him shouting at Liverpool fans. Mr Bromilow described the scene as his friend was arrested.
He said: "I remember a police horse suddenly appeared, and I started to panic. I did not know what to do. I then felt a force on the back of my head. I assume it was whoever was on the police horse. I went up to one of the officers and told him what had just happened to me. But he told me to 'man up.'" Alison Gurden, defending, told the court there was no evidence to suggest that Watt had shouted 'murderers' apart from that offered by PC Sinclair.
Prosecutor Daryl Pollard explained why police decided to arrest Mr Watt.
She said: "PC Sinclair heard Everton fans shouting 'murderers' at the Liverpool fans. He could see a woman with a child close by and was worried. He wanted to keep the area safe. The officer was certain that Watt was doing the shouting. He saw the defendant shouting 'murderers.'" ."
"He grabbed the defendant and did not let him go. He pulled him from the crowd. The defendant looked venomous and full of hatred. The defendant had appeared to be encouraging other fans too."
Watt was then found guilty of a Section 5 public order offence.
|Anfield stadium, near to where Mr Watt was said to have shouted at LFC fans
|Stuart Watt won his appeal