A police officer described by a judge as a "spectator from
hell" for grabbing the throat of a football referee has been
handed a two-year ban from Christchurch's ASB Football Park.
Senior Constable Keith Rose, 59, admitted abusing a ref and
assaulting an referee assistant while he was off-duty and
watching his son play football.
Assistant referee Hayden McCabe was so traumatised by the
incident on June 29 last year that he has not officiated a
premier level game since.
Today, Mainland Football bosses confirmed that Rose has been
given a two-year ban from watching his son play at the city's
main football ground.
And they hope it sends a clear message to other spectators
that the governing body takes a zero tolerance approach to
"We're trying to send a strong signal that we are going to
uphold the code of conduct of the game," Mainland Football
chief executive Mike Coggan said.
He said the ban, which ends March 2016, does not extend to
other Christchurch City Council-run grounds, where the
governing body has no jurisdiction.
A judge at Christchurch District Court last year ordered Rose
to pay $1500 in emotional harm compensation to Mr McCabe.
The court was told that Rose had been sitting in the main
grandstand at ASB Park to watch his son play for Western
against Cashmere Technical in a premier league match.
Rose was seen and heard to make "a number of adverse comments
regarding the performance of the referees during the game",
the police summary of facts said.
After the match, in which his son's team lost 4-1, Rose
turned to other spectators in the grandstand and said, "That
ref was s***".
He moved down in front of the players' tunnel as the four
match officials were walking off.
A group of supporters abused the officials as Rose told the
referee: "You are a f****** disgrace".
As the officials made for their changing facilities, Mr
McCabe "collided" with Rose in an action unlikely to have
been deliberate, according to Judge Robert Murfitt.
Rose grabbed Mr McCabe around the front of his throat, and
"held him for several seconds".
Police said at the time that Mr McCabe had suffered greatly
since the assault, and when he had gone to watch football
matches, he'd been subjected to ridicule from supporters.
The judge said Rose had "behaved like the spectator from
Western was fined $2000 over the affair and suspended its
coach Julian Morris for two games for abuse of the referee.
Today, Mr Coggan said that the assistant referee has slowly
returned to officiating lower league games.
But the incident has been "very distressing" for him, with
"We'll do everything we can to get him back to the higher
level, because he's got a lot of potential," Mr Coggan said
"While we're fortunate it's been a one-off incident, it has
had a major impact on the game, the referee, the club, and
Rose, who has been in the force for 42 years, had been placed
on restricted duties as he awaited the outcome of an internal
police enquiry and a code of conduct meeting.
Today, a Christchurch police spokesman said the internal
investigation has been completed and Rose has been "subject
to disciplinary action as a result of the process''.
"He will return to full duties in due course,'' the spokesman
- By Kurt Bayer of APNZ