Matildas star pleads ‘not guilty’ to racial harassment charge

Julian Miller
By:
Julian Miller
06/03/2024
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Kerr will face a criminal trial sometime next year

The Australian striker appeared virtually at a hearing on Tuesday to plead not guilty. A trial has been arranged for next year. 

News Insights

  • Sam Kerr appeared in court on Tuesday to plead not guilty to racially harassing a police officer in London.
  • Kerr’s charges stem from an incident in Southwest London on January 30.
  • Kerr says her comments were not intended to cause alarm or to harass the police officer.
  • A four-day trial has been scheduled for next February.

Chelsea and Australia star striker Sam Kerr has pleaded not guilty with racially aggravated harassment of a police officer. The charges against Kerr stem from an incident in London on January 30. She will have to appear in court next February for a four-day criminal trial. 

Kerr pleads not guilty to racially aggravated harassment 

Sam Kerr was formally charged with racially aggravated harassment against a police officer following an incident that occurred in the southwest London neighbourhood of Twickenham on January 30.  
 
According to the Crown Prosecution Service, Kerr allegedly used insulting, threatening or abusive words towards a police officer. Kerr’s words caused the officer, named PC Lovell, to be alarmed and distressed during the incident.  
 
Samantha Kerr, 30 (10.09.93) of Richmond was charged via postal charge requisition on 21 January with a racially aggravated offence under Section 4A Public Order Act 1986,” the London Metropolitan Police said in a statement. 
 
The charge relates to an incident involving a police officer who was responding to a complaint involving a taxi fare on 30 January 2023 in Twickenham.” 
 
Kerr made a virtual appearance at the Kingston Crown Court, but the star Chelsea striker did not speak besides saying her name to confirm her identity to the court. Kerr and her barrister entered a plea of “not guilty” to all charges.  
 
A four-day criminal trial for Kerr’s case has been scheduled for sometime next February, which will be in the middle of Chelsea’s 2024/25 WSL season.

“Intention was not to upset the policeman,” says Kerr

The full merits of Kerr’s case will not be tried until next February, but the Matildas captain and her legal representatives have already presented their arguments to the court.  
 
Kerr's barrister, Grace Forbes, argued before Judge Judith Elaine Coello that Kerr “did not intend to cause alarm, harassment, or distress to the officer,” and that Kerr’s behaviour “did not amount to [harassment] and was not racially aggravated.” 
 
Kerr and her team will be able to provide evidence for her defence in February. According to most reports from England, two Metropolitan Police officers are expected to provide testimony against Kerr.  

Football Australia backs Matildas star ahead of Paris Olympics

The incident on January 30th and following charges are not likely to affect Sam Kerr’s inclusion in the Matildas’ 2024 Paris Olympics squad. Football Australia has released a statement broadly supporting its national team captain. 
 
 “Football Australia is aware of the legal proceedings involving Sam Kerr in the United Kingdom. As this is an ongoing legal matter, we are unable to provide further comment at this time,” the Football Australia statement said.  
 
Our focus remains on supporting all our players, both on & off the field. We will continue to monitor the situation and provide support as appropriate.” 
 
Based on this statement, we feel confident saying that if she is fit, Kerr will be a part of the squad going to Paris to fight for Australia’s first ever Olympic gold medal in football.  
 
The bettings sites give the Matildas a pretty good chance of finishing the tournament with some silverware. Most of the best soccer betting sites have Australia as one of the top three or four favourites to win the 2024 Paris Olympics.

Spain, the US, and tournament hosts France are the Matildas’ toughest competition. If Kerr is healthy and not brought down by this recent case against her, and Australia gets a good draw, this could be the year they win gold.