Burnley fan Stewart Higgins, 53, was accused of using the N-word and the term 'black b******' in a racist tirade towards Brighton striker Gaetan Bong.
He and his son Nathan, 19, were also alleged to have used a homophobic slur to shout at Brighton fans in the stands at the Amex Stadium on February 9.String 'em up! No mercy! Hate crime!
But the pair walked free this afternoon after the Crown Prosecution Service failed to produce vital bodycam footage from police officers at the match.
Maria Higgins, defending, said that without the vital evidence it would be impossible for the case to proceed as the pair would not get a fair trial.Another CPS cock up. eh?
Dominic Dudkowski, prosecuting, apologised for the failure to produce the bodycam footage and said it was a serious oversight though he insisted the Crown Prosecution Service had not tried to manipulate the evidence.
During the trial it emerged that police bodycam footage of the pair which was thought to have been destroyed earlier was actually available.
Dominic Dudkowski, prosecuting, said a DVD of the footage was available but said the case would have to be adjourned as it could not be brought to the court immediately.
But the footage had neither been disclosed to the prosecution or the defence and as a result the case was stayed.The chair was clearly unimpressed with yet another example of the haplessness of the CPS:
Chair of the bench, Chris Bell, said: 'There are serious failing in bringing the evidence in this case.
'We're not prepared to adjourn this trial . We find, in the round, given these failings, the defendants would not receive a fair trial. We take the exceptional steps therefore in staying these proceedings.'Now consider this: the CPS would be expected to bring their A game to one of their beloved hate crime show trials. Why, then, do they make such basic errors?
And what sort of errors do they routinely make in lesser offences, like assault and murder?