Bloody effing Sky News says tonight, apropos Government plans to deal with football hooligans at the World Cup:
It is hoped the measures will avoid an embarrassing repeat of Euro 2004,when British courts refused to impose football banning orders on some deported fans. It was claimed their convictions in Portugal might have been unsafe.
It was claimed?
It might have been?
I happen to know a lawyer involved in this case and the application for a banning order was refused because the people arrested in Lisbon were denied a proper trial and even an interpreter (unless you include a girl drafted in from the local hairdressers' to assist a dozen defendants) and proper legal representation, before being summarily turfed out of Portugal. Portugal is an EU member, subject to the same Human Rights rules as the UK.
Of course the verdict was 'embarrassing'; it was more than that, it was shameful, and on the basis of this travesty the British Government tried to restrict the liberty of a group of its subjects. The fact that they were football fans is neither here nor there.
Fortunately the District Judge concerned (Mr.Stephen Day) knew his business and knew what British justice was all about, and threw out the applications.
If that's embarrassing, let's have a lot more of it. I loathe hooliganism, but I loathe injustice more. On your antipodean bike, Sky News. This was a fine verdict and I am proud that it was delivered in the Queen's name.