Ian Wright reacts as teenager guilty of racial abuse avoids criminal conviction

File photo dated 08/03/16 of Ian Wright. Patrick O'Brien is to be sentenced after pleading guilty to harassing the former Arsenal striker. The 18 year old is due before Tralee District Court after admitting the offences which took place on May 11, 2020. Issue date: Wednesday February 3, 2021. PA Photo. See PA story IRISH Wright. Photo credit should read: Mike Egerton/PA Wire
Ian Wright was subjected to the racist abuse on social media (Picture: PA)

Ian Wright has been left ‘disappointed’ and ‘tired’ as a teenager who admitted racially abusing him on social media escapes a criminal conviction.

18-year-old Patrick O’Brien sent the hideous messages to Wright on Instagram last May and pleaded guilty to harassing the former Arsenal striker, contrary to the Non-Fatal Offences Against The Person Act 1997, and sending a message by phone that was grossly offensive, obscene and menacing.

Despite the admission of guilt, Judge David Waters said he ‘didn’t see anything to be gained’ by imposing a criminal conviction, with the teenager handed probation instead.

Waters said O’Brien was ‘a naïve young man’ and took into consideration his written apology to Wright, a ‘very positive’ probation report and a 500 euro donation to the Irish Network Against Racism.

Wright has expressed his disappointment at the lack of punishment handed out to O’Brien, questioning whether this works as any kind of deterrent.

The Arsenal legend accepted the teenager’s apology, but feels this should have no baring on the criminal punishment the judge could have imposed.

Wright wrote on Twitter: ‘I’ve seen today’s judgement and I’m disappointed.

‘This case was never about revenge, it was always about consequences for acts of racism. My forgiveness of this young man was for my own deeply personal need and desire to move forward without further anguish. I’m a 57-year-old man that ahs experienced racism throughout my life. I wasn’t expecting my forgiveness to be an invitation to lighten a sentence.

‘Seeing this judgement, I can only wonder what deterrent there is for anyone else who spouts this kind of vile racist abuse.

‘An individual wished death upon me because of my skin colour. No judge’s claims of “naivety” or “immaturity” will ever be acceptable to us. The supposed immaturity and naivety of our attackers is never any comfort.

‘So yeah I am disappointed. I’m tired. We are all tired.’

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