Fernando Forestieri celebrates not guilty verdict at Meadowhall Nando’s with Sheffield Wednesday teammate
It was a busy day yesterday for Fernando Forestieri as the Sheffield Wednesday was cleared of racially aggravated harrassment.
The Argentina striker was charged over an incident at the end of Wednesday’s pre-season friendly against Mansfield Town in July.
He pleaded not guilty to using racial slurs towards Mansfield’s Krystian Pearce and a further charge of using threatening words and behaviour.
During the trial, Forestieri said that he ‘swears on his son’s life’ he did not say anything racist and found the allegation ‘deeply upsetting and very offensive’.
The 29-year-old was cleared of all charges with the judge saying he could not be satisfied the footballer used the racial slur towards 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.
Fellow Wednesday striker Atdhe Nuhiu, as well as coaches Nicky Weaver and Lee Bullen, gave evidence during the trial before Forestieri released a statement on Twitter.
Following the trial, Forestieri went to celebrate his not guilty verdict at Meadowhall with Nuhiu, uploading a picture with the caption ‘Brothers that the football gives you’.
In his statement, Forestieiri said he was pleased with the verdict but added he was ‘surprised and disappointed’ with the charges brought against him.
He said: “I am very pleased with the verdict reached today by the district judge at Mansfield Magistrates Court to acquit me of the public order charge brought against me.
“I was surprised and very disappointed that the Crown Prosecution Service brought a charge against me in the first place given the circumstances of the incident and the evidence which was used to form the basis of the charge.
“I have strenuously denied the charge from the outset and I have now been vindicated by the decision of the judge.
“The last eight months have been a difficult time for me and my family. I now wish to put the matter behind me and focus on my football.
“I would like to thank my family, friends, everyone at Sheffield Wednesday and in particular the fans together with my legal team for the support they have given me throughout.”