England legend Paul Gascgoine appeared in court today (Wed) to deny making a racist joke on stage during “An Evening With Gazza” show.
The 49-year-old is accused of making the offensive remark when he spotted a black security guard in a corner of the stage and said he “could not tell if he is smiling.”
The troubled star had originally been told he would not be prosecuted for the statement he made at the Civic Hall in Wolverhampton on November 30 last year.
But the Crown Prosecution Service charged him earlier this month and yesterday he denied the racially aggravated public order offence at Dudley Magistrates Court.
On his way into court Gazza stopped to sign autographs for fans as well as an England shirt with his trademark number 19 on the back.
Appearing in a black suit, with a white shirt and wearing a large silver bracelet he winked at his entourage in the public gallery during the 30 minute hearing.
He was told he faces one charge of “using threatening or abusive words or behaviour or disorderly behaviour within the hearing or sight of a person likely to be caused harassment, alarm or distress”.
Adjourning the case for a trial in September, JPs told him the allegations he faced would not lead to a prison sentence.
At the end of the hearing, District Judge Graham Wilkinson said: “Paul Gascgoine, stand up.
“You have been granted unconditional bail and you must return on September 19.
“If you do not comply it will be a separate offence, which is imprisonable.
“You don’t actually face now an imprisonable offence.
“If you are not here proceedings will go ahead in your absence.
“That’s the end of proceedings today.”
Gascgoine nodded and said: “Thank you, your honour.”
The former Spurs and Newcastle midfielder smiled and told the press bench as he left the packed court room: “Cheers guys, write the truth, write the truth”.
He then left the building where he was taken away by a waiting taxi after pausing once again to sign autographs for waiting fans.