adidas sweater Billericay Town’s Jamie O’Hara fined
Former Premier League and reality TV star Jamie O’Hara punched a 14 year old boy in the face at a football match after falling for a fake handshake prank.
O’Hara, 31, lashed out at the teenager after a defeat with his current club, non league side Billericay Town.
The boy said the prank “was only a bit of football banter” as he put out his hand as the teams left the pitch and then pulled it away as the midfielder reached to shake it.
Dad of three O’Hara then delivered “a single blow” before grabbing the boy, footage captured at the away game played to Guildford Magistrates Court showed.
The former Tottenham midfielder, who appeared in court today wearing skinny black jeans, a grey jacket and black polo neck sweater, admitted assault by beating on April 15.
He was ordered to pay the boy 50 in compensation, fined 400, and ordered to pay costs of 85 and a victim surcharge of 40.
Prosecutor Darren Matravers said the boy, who cannot be named because of his age, went to the match with his dad and was stood in the crowd near the players’ tunnel at the final whistle.
Mr Matravers said: “As the players were leaving the pitch he saw the defendant, who plays for Billericay.
“The defendant was recognised as a well known football player because of his footballing career.”
Summing up the boy’s statement, the prosecutor added: “As the defendant was heading towards the tunnel I leaned over the railing that separates the crowd from the pitch towards him.
“I then offered my right hand out towards him to see if he would shake it.
“Surprisingly he offered his hand back in return to shake mine.”
The boy said he then pulled his hand away from O’Hara “as a joke.”
Video footage played to the court appeared to show the victim’s right hand extended over the barrier towards O’Hara, before he pulled it away when the player tried to shake it.
It then showed O’Hara thrust his right hand towards the boy amid a shower of abuse from fans, who were heard chanting: “What a waste of money.”
Mr Neofytou said: “He specifically denies any allegation of the punch to the face, which is supported by the video footage.”
He added the incident was a “great tragedy” for O’Hara, who has no previous convictions.
Mr Neofytou said: “He’s never been in this situation before, it will impact on him, his future work plans and his plans to move to America in the coming years.”
The court heard O’Hara previously admitted separate charges put to him by the Football Association and received an eight match ban.
Sentencing chair of the bench Michael Slee said: “We have assessed the difference between the prosecution case and the basis of plea.
“In our view this would not make a material difference to the sentence.
“As a footballer you are someone young people look up to and that makes it more aggravated.
“We take into account also the age of the victim, however there’s nothing in what we have heard that says you deliberately targeted him because of his age.”
He added: “It was a single blow which you now regret and have shown remorse for.
“It is clear you have already been penalised by your employer and the professional body.”
He said the appropriate way to deal with the crime was by a fine and added: “In addition, because of the impact on the victim, we request you pay 50 in compensation.”