Football ban for smoke bomb teenager

Christopher Smith can't go to a match for a year. Picture: Vic Rodrick

Christopher Smith can't go to a match for a year. Picture: Vic Rodrick

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An “idiotic” teenage soccer fan who caused smoke bomb bedlam at a Scottish championship match has been fined and banned from entering football stadiums for a year.

Christopher Smith admitted setting off smoke grenades in the Hibs supporters’ section at Livingston football club’s Energy Assets arena during a game in which his team thrashed the home 
side 4-0.

Spectators scattered as the bombs exploded, spilling choking green smoke into a packed group of fans.

Lindsey Armstrong, prosecuting, told Livingston Sheriff Court that four smoke grenades were exploded during the first half after the game kicked off at 5.30pm.

She said club stewards immediately alerted police officers who made their way into the crowd and found a large and rowdy group of supporters.

Amongst that group was the accused who appeared to the officers to be heavily intoxicated. She stated: “He was unsteady on his feet and slurring his words and was arrested.”

She said Smith, 18, instantly became emotional and told cops: “I’m not going to lie. I set two smoke bombs off.”

She added: “As a result of the smoke bombs a 15-year-old boy – who was part of the accused’s group of supporters – was removed from the stand in some distress.

“He required treatment by paramedics at the time for what was suspected to be a panic attack.”

Smith pled guilty yesterday to forming part of a disorderly crowd which set off smoke grenades during the Scottish Championship game to the fear, alarm and annoyance of others.

Livingston Sheriff Court heard the incident took place during Livingston’s home match against Hibs at the Energy Assets Arena in West Lothian on Saturday 18 October last year.

Smith – an apprentice painter and decorator who lives with his parents in Loaning Road, Edinburgh – admitted conducting himself in a disorderly manner and committing a breach of the peace during the match.

Lisa McNeill, defending, said her client was only 17 at the time of the offence and 
had drunk a “considerable amount” of alcohol before going to the game with a group of friends.

She said: “He accepts he was very drunk and he acted immaturely.

“He’s a friend of the 15-year-old who suffered the panic attack.”

Sheriff Douglas Kinloch fined Smith £400 and banned him from attending Hibs games, or any premier league or Scottish championship match for a year.

He told the accused: “This was idiotic behaviour and even at the age of 17 you should have known better.

“I can’t really understand why you thought it was appropriate in any way to set off these smoke grenades.”

newsen@edinburghnews.com