thumbnail Hello,

The former England skipper was cleared of racially abusing QPR defender Anton Ferdinand, but remained silent in contrast to his family after hearing the decision

By Jay Jaffa at Westminster Magistrates' Court

As District Judge Howard Riddle delivered his not guilty verdict, John Terry's cousin and members of his family leapt from their seats, shouting “get in there” and punching the air.

The sense of relief was palpable and though their exuberance ran afoul of the kind of behaviour expected in a magistrates' court, this time, at least on the Terry side of the viewing gallery, it was accepted.

Terry, meanwhile, remained calm, rising to his feet as the court was dismissed and taking leave of the dock for the last time.

The Chelsea captain arrived 15 minutes before the scheduled 2pm verdict and took his seat, alone, behind the glass panes to the District Judge's right. Assorted journalists and family members from both sides of the case assembled to Terry's right meaning he never cast a glance in their direction.

After taking his seat at approximately 2.20pm, the Chief Magistrate meandered towards his concluding judgement, beginning with his opinion on the defence's case. The body language of those in the Terry camp seemed to suggest a group preparing for bad news.

Despite the nervous chatter around him, Chelsea chairman Bruce Buck, who made a late decision to attend the verdict, phoning Terry this morning to inform him, appeared unmoved in the front row of the viewing gallery.

And as the statement continued, it became clear through the Chief Magistrate's words that he was edging towards a not guilty verdict. He made it clear that the accusation did not suggest Terry was a racist, rather that he used the words “f****** black c***” as an insult.

However, even under this guise, the prosecution could not prove this to be the case. Though Justice Riddle said it was “unlikely” Ferdinand was lying, he added that “it is impossible to be sure of the words spoken by Mr Terry at the relevant time and of Mr Ferdinand.”

On top of the unreliable testimonies of lip-readers, the key witness, Ashley Cole corroborated the many character statements from fellow players and proved to be key in the defence of Terry.

The strength of his argument and the consistency in his accounts were deemed the primary reason for the decision as Justice Riddle concluded: “It is a crucial fact that nobody has given evidence that they heard what Mr Terry said or more importantly how he said it.”

And with that Justice Riddle delivered the 'not guilty' verdict. As the Terry family exited Court 1, Ferdinand's family stood up and marched out the room, notably silent. It was impossible to read their reaction, though it must certainly have been tinged with disappointment.

There will be much talk surrounding the Chelsea captain in the next few weeks, but as he showed leaving the court, holding a firm stare directly in front of him before hopping into a waiting car, he has become immune to the glare of the media.

What awaits him is largely down to the Football Association as they decide whether to continue their own investigation. Given their stance on the Luis Suarez and Patrice Evra incident last season, there will be plenty of pressure on them, regardless of the verdict today.

Follow Jay Jaffa on