I swear, it should not have come to this
The wrong person was in the dock this week. Much as I distrust what John Terry said, he should not have been standing there. Anton Ferdinand should not have had his character impugned on the witness stand, either.
The only individual that should have faced a legal inquisition this week was the deluded soul high up in the Crown Prosecution Service who looked at the available ‘evidence’ and somehow decided this exhibition of football’s potty-mouthed, dim-witted idiocy was worth dragging into court.
What a disgraceful farce it was. Scanning through each day’s account from Westminster was a sordid, asterisk-strewn game of sweary hangman. It was an embarrassment for the footballers concerned and, moreover, for the game itself.
But it was a truly terrible own goal for the CPS. How did they believe they would get a conviction from the flimsy evidence they offered up? Why wasn’t this entire matter left for a Football Association inquiry to deal with?
When the Crown decided to step in and take this case out of FA hands, the perfectly legitimate response was to assume they had additional evidence that would warrant such a high-profile, public trial.
Surely they had found something other than the unpleasant YouTube footage showing Terry mouthing abuse? The theory was the CPS had a previously unseen camera angle, a damning witness statement or a revelation that would tip the burden of proof in their favour.
But they had nothing beyond the footage we had all seen — and that nobody had heard, apparently.