Football fans found guilty of violent disorder face year wait for appeal

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Five Celtic fans found guilty of violent disorder against police in Amsterdam may have to wait a year for an appeal to be heard.

Damian Dobbin, Thomas Kennedy, Joseph McPherson, Padraig Mullen and Andy Vance were all convicted at Amsterdam District Court in the Netherlands on Thursday of committing violence in a public space.

All five denied the charges but were given sentences of between four weeks and two months in jail. They were all released pending an appeal and are now believed to be travelling home.

A sixth man accused of the same offence was found not guilty.

The men were arrested amid fighting between police and fans in the city’s Dam Square before Celtic’s Champions League match against Ajax on November 6.

Dutch police said 28 people from Scotland were among a total of 44 arrested and that eight officers were injured. Twenty-two of the Scots were released, with some having to pay fines of as much as 500 euro (£420).

Of the six remaining Celtic supporters in court, two had been held in custody since they were arrested and the four others were released pending yesterday’s hearing.

Dutch lawyer Christian Visser, who represented the six men, said he was disappointed by the judge’s ruling.

“Even if the judge thought that he couldn’t say the guys were not guilty then he should have ruled that there was more investigation needed. But he rejected that and said, more or less, that an investigation would come in an appeal.”

During the hearing the accused fans said they thought they were being attacked by hooligans when they were arrested by undercover police officers.

According to the judge, police used force but it had not been excessive. He said the accused men should have left Dam Square when trouble started.

The judge awarded three police officers damages of 250 euro (£209), while one officer was awarded 500 euro (£420).

Mr Visser said he will be appealing over the verdict but that the cases could take a long time to come back to court.