Chelsea fan fails to have conviction for taking smoke grenade into stadium overturned
A CHELSEA fan has failed to have his conviction overturned after he admitted taking a smoke grenade into the Liberty during his club's semi-final match against the Swans.
Jamie Greenwood, 26, of Cherwell House, London, appealed a 28 day custodial sentence and a six year football banning order imposed at Swansea Magistrates' Court last month during a hearing at the city's crown court.
He was jailed after he was found trying to take an Enola Gay smoke grenade into Gate 38 of the stadium at around 7.50pm on January 23, as Swansea took on Chelsea in the Capital One Cup semi-final.
His cousin, Harry Greenwood, 19, of Bernhardt Crescent, London, was also jailed for 28 days and given a six year banning order, and a third fan, who cannot be identified because of his age, was also sentenced to a Youth Referral Order.
Harry Greenwood was also due to appeal, but withdrew his appeal.
All three admitted having the article during a designated sporting event, an offence under the Sporting Events (Control of Alcohol etc) Act 1985.
Helen Randall, representing Greenwood in his appeal, said the custodial sentence was "manifestly excessive" and argued the context of the offence meant a community order would be an appropriate sentence.
She said the type of grenade, which was not let off, would have only released smoke and not flares.
Miss Randall said if Greenwood had lit it, it would have remained in his hand and would not have been released into the crowd. She said the type of item meant sentencing should fall at the bottom of the scale and that he did not intend to cause anyone harm, but intended to release it if Chelsea had scored.
Miss Randall also argued the conditions required to make a Football Banning Order - namely to prevent further violence or disorder at games - was not met because he was not likely to re-offend.
"He has attended football matches since childhood without their being any incident," she said.
"The incident has shaken the appellant considerably, he truly regrets his actions and realises the consequences, both potential to those attending the match, and the actual consequences he has suffered and he realises how foolish, in the context of this, his actions were," said Miss Randall.
Greenwood has now been released from custody after serving half his term.
Judge Paul Thomas, sitting with two magistrates, said the appeal had failed.
"You accept, it seems to us that you had to, that you were utterly foolish but more importantly, it was potentially very dangerous.
"These devices, as you would have well known, emit a great deal of smoke but it's not a question of that smoke being emitted in the middle of field with no-one around, it would have been emitted in a confined situation with the potential to cause a great deal of panic in a packed stadium," said the judge.
"Everyone has to be aware of public safety issues, particularly in the light of football stadium tragedies," he added.
He said the match was a "highly charged atmosphere" and supporters emotions were "running high".
"Setting off a smoke grenade like that was liable, possibly calculated, to set others on a path of disorder by way of reaction. It wasn't a spur of the moment alcohol-fuelled matter. It was a deliberate course of conduct. You went out of your way to buy these items and bring them 200 or so miles to Swansea," said Judge Thomas.
"I am sure with the benefit of hindsight you're as appalled at what you did as others are, but in our view, the sentence of imprisonment was an appropriate one and we see no reason to vary it and also believe that the conditions for making the Football Banning Order have been met," said the judge.