A HIBS fan who sang vile anti-Semitic chants on a train coming home from a crunch cup match did not realise an off-duty police officer was sitting just yards from him, a court heard today.
Stephen Rogers, 45, was one of a group of rowdy supporters celebrating Hibs’ Scottish Cup semi-final win over Aberdeen.
And he was the loudest when the singing got “out of order” on the Glasgow Queen St to Edinburgh Waverley on April 14, Falkirk Sheriff Court was told.
He was heard shouting and swearing and singing: “You’re welcome in Edinburgh unless you’re a P***, Jambo or Jew.”
A trial heard that the police officer and a woman passenger tell how they were “disgusted“ by his behaviour, but Rogers claimed it was a case of mistaken identity.
In evidence, PC Andrew Sinclair, 45, of Lothians and Borders Police, said that he got on the 5pm train after visiting the Scottish Cycle Show at Glasgow’s SECC.
He said the train was busy with Hibs fans along with members of the general public including families with children.
He said there was a group of about 12 Hibs fans with scarves and flags in his carriage. When the train reached Croy in North Lanarkshire, 13 miles from Glasgow, the language got rowdy and an offensive song was sung.
Constable Sinclair said he told one of the group to tell the others they were out of order. He added: “I just wanted to nip it in the bud.” He then alerted two British Transport Police officers who had entered the carriage.
Passenger Gillian Douglas, 46, told the trial she got “upset” when the vile singing began.
Solicitor-advocate Neil Hay, defending, told her that Rogers denied any part in it.
She replied: “I’m 100 per cent sure. He sang it at such a great volume you couldn’t miss it.
“I was quite upset. I just wanted to get out of the situation.”
Rogers, a painter and decorator, of Prospect Bank Grove, Edinburgh, pleaded not guilty to shouting and swearing and singing “songs containing racist insults and jibes”.
He said in evidence he had been at the game with his daughter and two male friends and denied the allegations against him.
Fiscal depute Scott Dignon asked him: “Why would the two witnesses say you were involved?”
He replied: “Mistaken identity? I didn’t sing racial songs.”
Sheriff Craig Caldwell found him guilty and said: “The two Crown witnesses were excellent.”
He told Rogers: “There were people on that train entitled not to be exposed to this behaviour. The expressions used were utterly disgraceful. They will not be tolerated on any terms.”
The sheriff said although the matter was “extremely serious” there was no violence involved so he would not impose a football ban on Rogers.
He ordered him to perform 100 hours community payback within three months.
Co-accused with Rogers was another Hibs fan, Edward Mouat, 44, of Hutchison Grove, Edinburgh, who also denied the charge.
He was allowed to walk free early in the trial when the prosecutor announced he was not be seeking his conviction.