Thursday 22 February 2018

Keane row was 'storm in a tea cup', says judge

Roy Keane arrives at Manchester Magistrates’ Court. Photo: Peter Byrne/PA
Roy Keane arrives at Manchester Magistrates’ Court. Photo: Peter Byrne/PA

Lauren Brown and Pat Hurst

The Crown Prosecution Service has defended its decision to take a case against Roy Keane after the Ireland assistant soccer manager was cleared of aggressively confronting a taxi driver in a road rage row.

A judge questioned whether Keane should ever have faced trial after he found him not guilty of a public order charge and dismissed the incident as a "storm in a teacup".

Fateh Kerar (44) claimed the former Manchester United midfielder had stared at him aggressively and then followed him in his black 4x4 before confronting him.

But District Judge Birrell told Manchester Magistrates' Court there was something of the "thwarted fan" about Mr Kerar.

Football fan Mr Kerar claimed Keane gave him "bad looks" when he saw him on the morning of January 30.

He said Keane (43) followed him in his car before "jumping" out and swearing at him.

But District Judge Birrell suggested Mr Kerar made the allegations because Keane "hadn't lived up to his expectations".

Earlier, Keane, who appeared in the dock wearing a black suit, white shirt and blue tie, told the court he noticed Mr Kerar across the road in his taxi and nodded to acknowledge him but that as they both moved off the cabbie made a gesture.

Keane, pushing the corners of his mouth up with his fingers, told the court: "He gave me a smirking gesture."

He denied reacting and flicking a V sign at Mr Kerar but said: "I noticed in our mirror that the driver gave me two fingers."

When their cars stopped at a junction, Keane said: "I opened the door and literally asked him what's his problem. I said it two or three times. He said something like, 'You need to cheer up'.

"I just turned and got back in my car. As I got back in my car with my back to him, I said, 'Oh, f*** off.'"

Dismissing the case, District Judge Birrell told Keane: "I have listened with great care to the evidence in your case. The burden of proof is on the prosecution. It's my view, taking, as I have said, a careful account of the evidence, that they have failed to discharge their burden; therefore I find you not guilty."

Irish Independent

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