One of five Chelsea supporters suspected of involvement in an incident in Paris in which a black man was prevented from boarding a train is challenging a possible football banning order on grounds of jurisdiction, a court heard today.
Former RUC officer Richard Barklie lives in Carrickfergus, Northern Ireland and the orders are sought by the Metropolitan Police under the Football Spectators Act 1989, which applies to England and Wales.
District Judge Gareth Branston at Thames Magistrates Court in east London fixed a hearing at the court for July 7 to hear the point ahead of the full hearing at Waltham Forest Magistrates' Court on July 15 and 16.
Controversy erupted in February when fans were filmed singing racist chants and refusing to let the man on the Paris Metro train ahead of the west London club's match against Paris St Germain.
Several Chelsea supporters chanted: "We're racist, we're racist and that's the way we like it."
Police are applying for banning orders to be imposed on five men who they believe were involved in the incident.
They are: Barklie, 50, of Victoria Street, Carrickfergus; Dean Callis, 32, of Liverpool Road, Islington, north London; Jordan Munday, 30, of Ellenborough Road, Sidcup, south-east London; Josh Parsons, 20, of Woodhouse Place, Dorking and William Simpson, 26, of Hengrove Crescent, Ashford, Surrey.
An earlier hearing at Waltham Forest was told that the men oppose the orders, which are designed as a preventative measure to stop potential troublemakers from travelling to football matches at home and abroad.
The French commuter kept off the train, Souleymane S, has said the incident "destroyed" him and left him unable to work or travel on public transport. He said his children had been left "traumatised" by reports of what happened and that he had become depressed.
Barklie's lawyer Nick Scott said after today's hearing: "He vehemently denies all the allegations made against him. His work in human rights healing the scars of the Troubles in Northern Ireland shows what a man of compassion he is."
Parsons' lawyer Saba Naqshbandi told the court she would consider the jurisdiction point as her client lived outside the "commissioner's territory". Edward Fenner for Simpson also expressed an interest in the issue.
The judge asked them if their clients lived in England and Wales and they confirmed that they do.