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Court convicts football hooligan

Perpetrators of football violence would now have to think twice before disturbing the peace at match venues after the High Court in Blantyre yesterday convicted John Dick for inciting violence during Wanderers’ Be Forward sponsorship launch on 22 March, 2015.

Dick, 40, has been found guilty of disorderly conduct at football matches contrary to Section 113 (h) of the Police Act.

Senior Resident Magistrate Chikondi Mandala has handed Dick a fine of K10,000, and in default, a three-month jail-term with Hard Labour.

Dick has also been banned from watching matches at the Kamuzu Stadium for the next 20 matches.

Dick has been ordered to be reporting to police every time there is a match at the Kamuzu stadium.

He was given an option of serving his time by doing community service but he refused as he claimed it would distract his business operations.

“The judgment has also stated that if he breaches the court orders, he will be liable to the offence and he will pay K20,000 and spend three months in jail,” said the prosecutor Inspector Lyson Chavinda.

Dick escaped the K20,000 fine since he was a first offender.

Dick’s co-accused, Robert Benet, had already been acquitted for lack of strong evidence against him.

In reaction to the sentence, Super League of Malawi (Sulom) treasurer, Tiya Somba Banda, said Sulom was pleased with the conviction.

“The conviction itself is in the right direction. However, we have reservations with the fine and sentencing. The K10,000 fine doesn’t equate to the loss and damage of property and revenue that the violence caused. We feel the K10,000 fine is minimal as it will not deter would-be offenders,” he said.

Somba Banda expressed concern that it would be hard to implement the 20-match ban.

“Without national identities, it will be difficult for us to monitor and enforce the ban. And it is not clear or specific to which game the ban will be enforced. We could have loved a custodial sentence as it is with any case of violence. We will consult our legal team on the way forward,” he said.

The violence on 22 March 2015 led to the abandonment of the Wanderers and Silver Strikers match which was being played in front of Be Forward officials who had come in from Japan to officially launch the K70 million sponsorship deal with the club.

Dick hails from Jimu Village, T/A Ndamela in Nsanje.

Over the past two years, football violence has led to the loss of three lives in Malawi.

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