A 52-year-old man has been jailed for 10 weeks after a racist rant on Facebook during which he aimed abuse at three black England football players.
Jonathon Best used Facebook to live-stream himself ranting about the three players -Jadon Sancho, Bukayo Saka, and Marcus Rashford – who missed penalties during England’s defeat to Italy at Wembley on July 11.
Best had reportedly consumed at least 12 beers and five double rums before filming his racist tirade.
District Judge Denis Brennan called his behaviour ‘corrosive’ to society and dismissed his pleas for rehab or pub bans, stating that only a custodial sentence would suffice.
He added: “They strike at the very nature of our civilised society and are corrosive.
“Although you aren’t responsible for the vile abuse against another footballer – Louis Saha – this very weekend, it’s indicative of the way the words you used affect other people.
“It encourages those who want to express similar views.”
Explaining his decision not to suspend the sentence, District Judge Brennan added: “They[other potential offenders] should know the courts in this country will send such people to prison,
“I hope, with this deterrence, that people are educated to behave more appropriately.”
He was sentenced on Tuesday at Willesden Magistrates Court, having pleaded guilty to sending by public communication network a grossly offensive or indecent or obscene or menacing message or matter.
The clip was taken down by the social media network three days later.
Elaine Cousins, from the Criminal Prosecution Service, said: “While the majority of the nation took great pride in the Three Lions reaching their first international final in more than 50 years, Jonathon Best took to Facebook to Livestream a barrage of racist abuse at the three players who missed penalties during the game.
“He used social media to publicly vilify these three young men who tried to score for England. When approached by a Facebook friend asking him to remove the grossly offensive content, Best replied ‘it’s my profile, I can do what I want’.
“There is absolutely no room in the game, nor elsewhere, for racism. The CPS is committed to bringing perpetrators of hate crime to justice where there is the evidence to do so.
“I would like to thank the individual who reported this appalling hate crime and I hope this prosecution goes someway in educating and deterring people from posting hate on social media.”
The CPS is currently working alongside police, sport governing bodies, and organisations to explain what evidence is grounds for passing legal tests to bring charges in the case of hate crimes.
Elizabeth Jenkins, of the CPS, added: “Hate crimes such as these have a massive impact on players and their mental health.
“The CPS takes this kind of offending very seriously and this case shows that where offensive content is reported to the police we can successfully bring offenders to justice.”
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