VIDEO: Olympic bottle throwing accused to face trial
A MAN accused of a public order offence after a bottle was thrown at the start of the men’s Olympic 100m final will stand trial in January, a court heard today.
Ashley Gill-Webb, 34, from from South Milford, was arrested after the incident at the Olympic Stadium in August, which led to Dutch world judo champion Edith Bosch intervening.
He pleaded not guilty to using threatening words or behaviour with intent to cause harassment, alarm or distress under Section 4A of the Public Order Act.
Today, Gill-Webb, appeared at Thames Magistrates’ Court in London, where he also pleaded not guilty to an alternative charge of using threatening abusive or insulting words or behaviour or disorderly behaviour within the hearing or sight of a person likely to be caused harassment, alarm or distress, under Section 5 of the Public Order Act.
The court heard that he has been receiving psychiatric treatment at Bootham Park Hospital in York after being sectioned under the Mental Health Act, but was released on September 7.
His defence solicitor, Thomas Barley, told the court: “It seems now that this is largely to be a case where the actual physical behaviour of Mr Gill-Webb is not going to be in dispute.”
Gill-Webb will stand trial at Stratford Magistrates’ Court in east London on January 3.
District Judge Jacqueline Comyns granted him conditional bail providing he stays at his home address in South Milford or Bootham Park Hospital, except on January 2, when he can stay overnight with relatives in Church Crookham, Hampshire, before his trial.
The court heard today that Bosch was originally due to be a witness in the trial, but now no prosecution witnesses are likely to be required.
After the incident, Bosch described how she was standing close by when a green plastic drink bottle was thrown from the stands behind the start line.
The 32-year-old judoka tweeted: “A drunken spectator threw a bottle onto the track! I HAVE BEATEN HIM... unbelievable.”
Explaining the message, she later described how she saw a man who was having “behaviour problems” and “pushed him away hard”.
“I did like any other person would have done, I corrected it. I just said ‘Man, you’re crazy, what are you doing?’,” she said.
“We are here for Olympic heroes, people who are performing on the highest level, and we have to honour them, not disrespect them.”
She added: “The one thing I’m most sad about is, due to all the commotion, due to this guy, I missed out on the 100m.”
Jamaican sprinter Usain Bolt, who won the race in 9.63 seconds, said he had been unaware of the incident.
US sprinter Justin Gatlin, who took bronze, said: “It was a little distraction and I didn’t know what it was.
“But when you’re in those blocks and the whole stadium’s quiet, you can hear a pin drop.”
He said the incident had not affected the race: “You just have to block it out and go out there and do what you got to do.”
And Jamaican sprinter Yohan Blake said: “I was so focused I didn’t see anything. I was so focused on just running to the line.”
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Friday 24 May 2013
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