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Footballer fined after taking picture of Crystal Palace captain in court

Bromley’s Ben Chorley said he did not realise he was breaking the law when he took a picture of Jason Puncheon in the dock.

A footballer has apologised and been fined £1,000 for taking a picture of his friend, Crystal Palace captain Jason Puncheon, in court.

Bromley footballer Ben Chorley said he did not realise he was breaking the law when he took a picture of Puncheon in the dock at Staines Magistrates’ Court while he was being sentenced for a public order offence.

The 35-year-old father-of-two said he was “taken aback” by being charged with contempt of court just moments after his friend was sentenced over an incident inside a nightclub.

Chorley, who gave his address as Oakfield Lane in Dartford, was held in custody briefly on Monday afternoon.

When he was brought back into court he told District Judge Michael Snow: “I’ve never been in court before so I can only apologise profusely.

“I didn’t know, from the bottom of my heart, that I wasn’t allowed to even take a picture.”

Ben Chorley (left) with Jason Puncheon who was sentenced for a public order offence at Staines Magistrates’ Court (Steve Parsons/PA)

He said he had seen journalists sitting next to him using their phones and thought he was allowed to use his.

He told how he had come to court to support his friend, adding: “I can only apologise. I am just taken aback by it.”

Judge Snow told Chorley he could have been handed a jail sentence for the offence, which included taking a photograph and a short piece of footage.

After ordering Chorley to delete the material on his phone as he stood in the dock, Judge Snow said he accepted “with some surprise” the footballer may not have been aware of the rules prohibiting the taking of pictures in court.

He also said Chorley may have been “lulled” after seeing journalists “quite legitimately doing what they are entitled to do” by reporting on proceedings.

Chorley was given seven days to pay the fine.

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