Rangers fan, 17, escapes jail after throwing flare

A TEENAGE girl who was found guilty of throwing a flare onto a football pitch escaped a football ban today after a court heard the incident did “not actually cause harm to anyone.”
A steward deals with flares thrown onto the pitch at the match. Picture: Gary HutchisonA steward deals with flares thrown onto the pitch at the match. Picture: Gary Hutchison
A steward deals with flares thrown onto the pitch at the match. Picture: Gary Hutchison

Emma Leslie, 17, wept in the dock at Falkirk Sheriff Court on October 6 as she was found guilty of two charges involving an incident during the Scottish cup tie game at Westfield Stadium, Falkirk last year.

The teenager, studying child care at college, told police that Rangers Football Club “were her life” and she didn’t want to get banned, after the club’s 2-0 victory over Falkirk on November 30.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

Leslie, of Edinburgh Road, Glasgow, was found guilty of possessing a controlled substance, namely a flare, in a sports ground.

She was also found guilty of of culpably and recklessly lighting a flare and throwing it onto the playing surface and thereby damaging the playing surface, while acting with another unknown to the prosecutor.

She had denied the charges.

Police Officer Allana Lees told the court that CCTV footage showed Leslie with a man at the game.

She said she quizzed Leslie under caution about an incident involving a flare and asked if she knew who the man was.

The police officer said Leslie replied “no comment” but added: “I don’t know what a flare is.”

She asked her: “So you know who he is but you did not want to tell us?”

Leslie replied: “I don’t want to be a grass”, said the officer.

The officer said Leslie also told her: “Rangers are my life.

“I don’t want to get banned.”

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

Another police officer, Kenneth Halliday, spoke of his own hand-held CCTV footage that he filmed while on duty at the match.

He said that he had been filming the area where the smoke bomb had gone off and he seen a girl hand an item to a young boy.

He then said the boy went down to the front area of the stadium and lit the item, proceeding to throw the flare onto the pitch.

Lyndsay Jefferson, defending said: “She was a 16 year old girl at the time of the offence.

“Miss Leslie has now had the benefit of time to consider her actions.

“Football is a passion of hers, a passion she has had since she was five years old. It is also a family affair.

“The report presented today shows that she is showing awareness of her actions.

“She maintains her word to this day that she did not know what the device was.”

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

Sheriff William Gallacher said that the consequences in relation to this incident could have been “catastrophic.”

Sheriff Gallacher said: “Evidence was presented to me in relation to this incident and I also saw with my own observation the incident that took place.

“You continue to convey to other people you were drunk, but I don’t accept that.

“You were part of this incident and you accepted being part of it.

“This matter did not actually cause harm to anyone directly but the consequences could have been catastrophic.

“I want you to grasp the fact that you cannot distance yourself from this matter.

“I am not going to make a football banning requirement today.

“This will be on your record and if you are involved in anything like this again it is likely you will receive a football banning order.”

Sheriff Gallacher sentenced Leslie to a community pay back order of 120 hours of unpaid work to be completed within a period six months, and supervision order of 9 months.