A SPORTS journalism graduate banned from attending football games after letting off a smoke bomb at an FA Cup tie at the Stadium of Light is hoping for a reprieve – after a court scored an own goal.
Leeds United fan Adam Battensby was barred from attending any Leeds United or international fixture for the next three years at Sunderland Magistrates’ Court earlier this month after smuggling a smoke bomb into the ground during his side’s 1-0 defeat to the Black Cats.
He admitted possessing a firework at a sporting event – but the order was overturned at court a day later as the terms of the ban he was given were not drafted correctly.
The 24-year-old insurance salesman was given conditions barring him from attending Leeds United games, but was not given conditions notifying him that he would be banned from all football grounds in the country during the hearing.
The case was brought back before Sunderland Magistrates’ Court this week, but was adjourned until March 16 to allow Battensby to attend a hearing into the reopened matter.
Magistrates were told the banning order was ‘invalid’ by their legal advisor Steven Hood and the ban had been set aside until the fresh hearing.
Battensby, who lives with his mum and dad in Valley Road, Bramley, Leeds, read out an emotional letter saying his prosecution had a ‘devastating effect’ on him.
He said: “I took the device to the game assuming the rules had been relaxed due to the frequency of these devices at football games.
“It was very naive of me and I had no intention to cause any harm. I could go to jail for this and it makes me feel horribly frightened. It would have a devastating effect on me.
“It would bring shame on my family. I have followed Leeds United for 15 years and it’s an incident I want to put behind me. The situation has brought a lot of stress.”
Battensby was also told to pay a £300 fine, £85 costs and a £30 victim surcharge.
Bench chairwoman Lynda Scanlan, said: “What you did with that smoke-generating device could have caused panic. It could have caused distress or harm of one sort or another to people in that stadium.
“I’m sure you now realise what a stupid thing that was to do.”