Football fan claimed he shouted ‘Up the Fra’

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A football fan who police believed shouted ‘Up the ‘Ra’ outside a football ground claimed he was in fact making a joke chant - ‘Up the Fra’ - about Fra McCaffrey who plays for Irish League side Glentoran.

At Coleraine Magistrates Court on Monday, 40-year-old Colin Taylor, a taxi driver of Bristol Park, Newtownards, County Down, admitted being disorderly outside Coleraine Showgrounds on Saturday August 8 this year after leaving a match at half-time involving Coleraine and Glentoran.

Taylor was arrested and when brought to Coleraine PSNI Station he called an officer a “f--king Paki” and admitted a charge of harassment which he accepted was aggravated by racial hostility.

He subjected the officer to abuse every time he passed his cell which he also flooded by putting a pillow down the toilet.

A prosecutor said around 4pm on August 8 Taylor left Coleraine Showgrounds and slapped a police officer’s body armour and when warned about his behaviour officers believed he began shouting “Up the ‘Ra”, a reference to the IRA.

When he refused to calm down he was arrested and limb restraints had to be used.

At the police station he made “racist remarks” towards the custody sergeant, whom he called a “f--king Paki”.

The prosecutor said the officer was “upset and annoyed” and could not pass Taylor’s cell without the defendant making racist remarks.

She said Taylor then put a pillow down a toilet causing the cell to flood and the cell could not be used.

A defence lawyer said his client does not accept he shouted “Up the ‘Ra” but instead was shouting “Up the Fra” in a “witty way” regarding a player called Fra McCaffrey.

The lawyer said Taylor had been drinking in a bar in Coleraine and believed his drink may have been spiked and he had only a vague memory of his offending for which he now apologises.

Taylor previously admitted four charges of disorderly behaviour, resisting police, harassment and criminal damage and was fined £350 and ordered to pay compensation of £100 for damaging the police cell.

District Judge Peter King said he upped the harassment fine from £75 to £150 because it was aggravated by hostility and he warned Taylor to be “very careful about the language you use in future”.