Everything Fernando Forestieri said in court as Sheffield Wednesday star is found not guilty
Sheffield Wednesday striker Fernando Forestieri has been found not guilty of racially aggrevated harassment.
The 29-year-old was charged in relation to a post-match brawl on July 24 last year after a friendly against Mansfield Town.
He pleaded not guilty to racially aggravated harassment and a further charge of using threatening words and behaviour.
The judge found Forestieri not guilty, saying he could not be satisfied the footballer used the racial slur towards Mansfield’s Krystian Pearce.
However, he said he believed Mr Pearce was ‘unlikely’ to have been mistaken about hearing it.
The judge added he was ‘satisfied’ that both the complainant and alleged victim had provided ‘clear and consistent’ evidence of what had happened at the end and after last year’s pre-season friendly.
But he said in the absence of any corroborating evidence the prosecution had not met the burden of proof required of them.
During this morning’s trial, Forestieri said he ‘swears on his son’s life’ he did not say anything racist. This is everything Forestieri said in court today as he gave evidence through an interpreter.
- In a statement by Forestieri, read out in court, he said he ‘swears on his son’s life’ he did not say anything racist, just words in Spanish that were not racist.
- He said he wanted to confirm that he was not a racist person. I never said the ‘N’ word or anything else racist as Mr Pearce alleges and I find the allegation ‘deeply upsetting and very offensive’.
- Only became aware of the allegation of racist abuse after the game in the changing room. ‘He thought we were just exchanging words like you would in any game. I was happy to meet him after the game and said it had just been a misunderstanding.’
- ‘I said to him that if that is what you heard I am really, really sorry. I said look around the room, are there not people of colour.’
- ‘The Spanish phrase referred to Mr Pearce’s mother. He understands it is bad but that it is a normal thing to say on a football pitch. The ‘N’ word was not inserted into the phrase in question.’
- ‘The Spanish phrase is ‘la concha de tu madre’.
- He didn’t know which of the words could be mistaken for the ‘n’ word by Mr Pearce. ‘When he says bad words in Spanish he doesn’t mix them with English as they don’t come’.
-The ‘n’ word just isn’t a word he uses and he didn’t even know how to pronounce it as his English is not good’.
- ‘In South America there is not much racism so you would not use n***** or negro in Spanish as a derogatory term. Some people might use the word monkey but normally insults are about people’s mothers.’