Incident At Football Match And How Prosecutors Freed Suspects

Incident At Football Match And How Prosecutors Freed Suspects

Prosecutors are tasked to unveil crimes and secure the ticket for suspects to go to jail. But, in this incident, they seem to be doing the other way around.

Incident At Football Match And How Prosecutors Freed Suspects

Much to the shock and rage of many, nine suspects, who were supposedly due for trial, found themselves walking toward freedom without any legal charges after prosecutors have misplaced direct evidence against them. The accused were Celtic fans who orchestrated and pulled off a blatant crime during a football match to throw insult to their rival Rangers. This article tells more of this story in its succeeding paragraphs.

Case of the Lost Evidence

To obtain a concrete idea of the case, the following details are provided to explain what happened during the incident, the succeeding events that followed leading to the tragic end, and the thoughts of people concerned about the issue.

What happened

On the same date when World’s Suicide Prevention Day was celebrated in 2016, not only did football players from Celtic and Ranger faced each other in an Old Firm match, but their supporters also had their own clash featuring two dangling sex dolls at a stand. Behind this gimmick were several Celtic fans who wanted to insult the opposing team.

The sex dolls were dressed with nothing save for a piece of Gers scarf wrapped around the neck and an Orange Order sash. These dummies were hanged alongside a banner that contained the words: “This is it Bhoys, this is war.”

Incident At Football Match And How Prosecutors Freed Suspects

Although there were no clear explanations, the inappropriate stunt was believed by some to depict the suicide incident involving the brother of a former Ranger star, Kris Boyd. Numerous Ranger fans, on the other hand, assumed that the sex dolls served as an indirect message from the Celtic fans of what they thought would happen to the rival team.

Legal measures taken against suspects

Shortly after the incident, nine individuals were identified and arrested. Among them were Kieran Carvill, 19, Andrew McDonald, 24, Kasey McKinnon, 19, Martin Gallagher, 27, Mark Macdonald, 24, Ross Brady, 29, Lewis McLachlan, 20, Myles McSwegan, 18, and Michael Bentley, 28. These suspects were summoned to appear on court and face charges under the Offensive Behaviour at Football Act. However, since the law encompassing the accusation was abolished, the charges were changed to threatening and abusive behavior.

Subsequently, the case experienced a two-year wait, wherein a series of hearings were held. Then, things started to pick up a pace again when the supposed trial was scheduled in September at Glasgow Sheriff Court. Unfortunately, some irregularities were discovered during the trial after the defense lawyers admitted that only the edited copy of the video evidence, which came from the police, was given to them.

The defense took advantage of this loophole and reasoned that their access to all resources and evidence available was limited compared to their counterpart. Due to that, Sheriff Alan Findlay criticized the prosecutors for their failure in completely disclosing all pieces of evidence and eventually cast out the trial. This turn of events then resulted in the further adjournment of the case.

Findlay confessed that he could not understand the hesitation of the prosecutors to share the image and video production to the defense lawyers. One possible reason, from what he could assume at that time, was that the prosecution wanted to disregard other proof and maintain the attention on the tangible evidence collected by the police.

In the early months of 2019, two hearings were conducted in line with the case, which would be proceeded by a new trial bid. Though, that was no longer necessary by that time because all of the accused were already free from their supposed violations. All thanks to the prosecution.

It was at that moment when the reason behind the limited disclosure of proof was shed with light. As it turned out, the prosecutors lost the only copy of the undisclosed footages and images that would have helped strengthen the case against the suspects.

Thoughts on the lost evidence fiasco

Numerous people, particularly legal personalities, were dismayed with this mistake on the part of the prosecution. It is apparent that no one is impressed with the negligence that the lawyers involved showed in this case. Some even relayed their sentiments about the blunder.

Incident At Football Match And How Prosecutors Freed Suspects

Dr. Andrew Tickell, a law expert and a professor at Glasgow Caledonian, expressed that seeing the suspects out and free was an unpleasant scenario considering that many were witnesses to the crime. He also condemned this major fault since misplacing evidence is not a good attribute for a legal practitioner.

Likewise, Liam McArthur, Scottish Lib Dem justice spokesperson, said that carelessness in this matter is a sign of incompetence. Being a prosecutor entails an enormous responsibility to prosecute on behalf of the people. Nevertheless, if one in position cannot properly perform basic tasks such as keeping evidence safe and in place, then it can be expected that they will also not execute well when faced with even bigger obligations.

Meanwhile, justice secretary Liam Kerr deemed it unacceptable that the case ended because of lost material. Hence, a former police chief in the name of Graeme Pearson demanded a detailed explanation from the prosecutors. He insisted that it is only fair for the general public, especially the persons who were compromised, to be clarified as to where things went wrong and how events from the incident led to the loss of pertinent resources.


This case is not the only one of its kind. A similar turn of events has been reported with other crimes throughout history. That in itself is alarming. Prosecutors must recognize their sworn responsibility as one of the servants of justice and deliver what is expected of them by their fellow citizens. With that being said, it is not surprising that many were enraged and are still feeling strongly about the way things ended in this case. True justice is yet to be served to resolve the incident, but, unfortunately, that seems impossible by the looks of the situation. Indeed, justice was already in the hands of the prosecutors, but they let it slip away.

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