Man avoids jail over Bangura and Stokes tweets

Mo Bangura pictured playing for Elfsborg at Parkhead. Picture: SNS
Mo Bangura pictured playing for Elfsborg at Parkhead. Picture: SNS
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A FOOTBALL fan who posted vile comments on social media about former Celtic striker Mo Bangura narrowly dodged jail today.

Alan Baillie, 28, vented his spleen on Twitter as Celtic played Elfsborg in Sweden.

Bangura, who signed for Celtic only two years earlier in a £2.2 million deal, was on loan to Elfsborg at the time of the match, and was played by the Swedes despite opposition from the then Celtic manager Neil Lennon and to the disapproval of Celtic fans.

Twice in the first 45 minutes he looked like scoring, though in the end Celtic held Elfsborg to a goalless draw and went through to the play-off round on aggregate.

Falkirk Sheriff Court heard that Baillie had been drinking, and was posting on Twitter while watching the match on TV.

Naomi Warren, prosecuting said he Tweeted a comment referring to Bangura as a “f*****g dumpling” and a “black c***”, which was spotted by another Twitter user.

The depute fiscal said: “This witness found this comment racist, as Bangura is black.

“The witness reported the comment to Twitter who then advised him to report it to the police.”

She said the witness then found another comment that threatened Celtic’s star striker Anthony Stokes, came on as a sub for the Hoops in the 69th minute and was yellow-carded less than 20 minutes later.

Baillie tweeted: “I would love to stab Anthony Stokes right in the face, wee ugly rat b*****d”.

The prosecutor added: “The witness was shocked by the comments and took screen shots.”

She said that police attended the witness’s address and looked at the screen shots before making enquiries.

When Baillie was questioned by police about his actions, he claimed that he had been under the influence of alcohol.

He said: “I had a coupon on them to win.

“I posted something I shouldn’t have, like he was a black b*****d or something stupid like that.

“It was just a heated moment argument, I said it out of anger, I’m no violent like that.

“It was just stupidity.”

Baillie, of Dower Crescent, Bo’ness, West Lothian pleaded guilty to posting a racist tweet, and contravening the Offensive Behaviour at Football (Threatening Communications Act) by posting a threat of violence towards Stokes.

Defence agent Murray Aitken said Baillie had never denied his position in relation to the two tweets.

The solicitor said: “He is not a man without intelligence, and he does understand what he has done.

“He acknowledges that the tweets were disgusting in nature.

“It was for the attention of people he knows and to get a reaction from them.

“He now understands how far tweets and comments can go.”

Sheriff William Gallacher sentenced Baillie to a carry out 175 hours of unpaid work under a community pay back order, to be completed within a period of six months.

Sheriff Gallacher said: “No one at all compelled you to take to the public airwaves and express the vile comments you made.

“What you were doing was disgraceful and unacceptable.

“If you had a single conviction, I would have had no compunction in sending you to prison.

“You must never again put in the public domain your aggression and distortion.”