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Teenager charged with racial abuse of pundit Ian Wright

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Patrick O’Brien arriving at Tralee District Court yesterday

Patrick O’Brien arriving at Tralee District Court yesterday

Patrick O’Brien arriving at Tralee District Court yesterday

A teenager has been charged with two offences arising from the alleged racial abuse of former England and Arsenal star turned TV pundit Ian Wright (56).

Patrick O'Brien (18) of Sycamore Court, Ashleigh Downs, Tralee, Co Kerry, appeared at Tralee District Court charged with two counts in respect of the alleged incident last May.

Gardaí launched an investigation after Mr Wright, who is a BBC pundit on Match of the Day, went public about grossly offensive messages he had been sent on social media.

Mr Wright was capped 33 times by England and, over a glittering career, played 581 league games and scored 387 goals.

He was part of Arsenal's double winning side in 1998 and also won a European Cup Winners Cup with the Gunners in 1994, though he didn't play in the final.

On foot of the lengthy investigation, a teenager was questioned by gardaí over the summer.

Judge David Waters was told by Garda Sergeant Eoin O'Donovan that he arrested O'Brien yesterday morning on Ashe Street, Tralee.

After being cautioned and charged, the teen made no reply to gardaí.

Mr O'Brien is charged with harassing Ian Wright at an unknown location in the district of Tralee on May 11, 2020, contrary to Section 10 (1) and (6) of the Non-Fatal Offences Against the Person Act, 1997.

He also faces a second charge of sending by telephone a message that was grossly offensive, obscene and menacing on the same date and from the same unknown location.

Bail

This charge was contrary to Section 13 (1) A and Section 13 (2) of the Post Office Act, 1951, amended by Section 4 of the Communications Act, 2007.

Mr O'Brien was released on continuing bail.

Judge Waters remanded him to appear before the district court again on November 18 when a jurisdiction issue and a hearing date are expected to be confirmed.

The teenager did not speak in court beyond confirming his identity.