Terry tells court of his anger from racism
By Rob Harris, AP Sports Writer
07:31 AEST Wed Jul 11 2012

Chelsea captain John Terry took to the stand in his racism trial on Tuesday to angrily deny he is prejudiced or racially abused an opponent during a Premier League match.

The England defender lost the national team captaincy following accusations he racially abused Queens Park Rangers defender Anton Ferdinand last October.

But Terry told Westminster Magistrates' Court that he repeated an offensive term to counter what he believed he was being accused of from Ferdinand.

"I thought he was accusing me of calling him a black c***," Terry said. "I was very angry and I was upset."

Prosecutor Duncan Penny, however, said it was "plainly and inherently unlikely" Terry would decide to repeat the alleged racist phrase with no surprise or incredulity.

An attempt by the defence to have the case thrown out later failed.

Terry and Ferdinand traded insults during the west London derby, with the QPR player taunting him about allegations his rival had an affair with the former girlfriend of ex-teammate Wayne Bridge.

Terry said he had "heard it all before" and would "just laugh it off."

"It's part and parcel of the game, you just get on with the game basically," he said.

Before Terry entered the witness box, his words were heard during the morning session from police statements and interviews taken last year.

In a police statement, Terry insisted the language he used was "responsive and not accusatory."

Defending his character to police, Terry highlighted his work helping to integrate a "multicultural group of players" at Chelsea and his long-standing support for the charity work of black former teammates Marcel Desailly and Didier Drogba.

"My commitment to the projects demonstrates I'm not racist," Terry told police.

Terry, who was in the dock for a second day, faces a maximum fine of STG2500 $A3,828) if he becomes the first top football player in England convicted of racial abuse during a game.

Terry also repeatedly defended his character during disciplinary interviews last October with the English Football Association, which were heard at Westminster Magistrates' Court on Tuesday.

"I have been called a lot of things in my career and off the pitch but being racist is not one I am prepared to take at all," he said before being charged with a racially aggravated public order offence.

"I'm not having anyone, let alone Anton, think that about me or anyone else," he added.

"That's not my character ... I was taken aback by that. I have never been accused of that."

The court heard for the first time that it was an off-duty police officer who initially complained to police about Terry's comments, which were posted on YouTube within 30 minutes of the globally televised match ending.

After the prosecution closed its case, Terry's legal team said there is no "prima facie case" against the player.

Lawyer George Carter-Stephenson said Ferdinand "is not a reliable witness," claiming his evidence on Monday on the build-up to the confrontation with Terry was "misleading."

Ferdinand's reliability "is further damaged," Carter-Stephenson said, by the fact he identified a YouTube clip of the incident as being from the live TV feed when it was from footage that wasn't broadcast.

Carter-Stephenson said the video is "interpreted and incomplete," adding that evidence from lip-reading experts is inconclusive.

"This case should go no further, there is insufficient evidence," he said.

Chief magistrate Howard Riddle rejected an application for the case to be dismissed.

The verdict in the trial, which is expected to last five days, will be decided by Riddle instead of a jury.

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