Pool pair judge: ‘I’m not stepping down from case’

Blackpool Magistrates Court Oyston Harrassment duo David Ragozzino (left) and Stephen Reed arrive at Blackpool Magistrates Court for a previous hearing

Blackpool Magistrates Court Oyston Harrassment duo David Ragozzino (left) and Stephen Reed arrive at Blackpool Magistrates Court for a previous hearing

0
Have your say

Blackpool’s District Judge has refused to step down and leave the case of two men accused of harassing Blackpool FC chairman, Karl Oyston.

District Judge Jeff Brailsford dismissed in public any suggestion that he was biased.

He also dismissed an application by one defence lawyer that the case be moved out of Blackpool.

A further application that the defendants Stephen Reed and David Ragozzino go on trial separately was thrown out at the hearing at Blackpool Magistrates Court.

Proceedings were adjourned until January 6 next year when Judge Brailsford asked for details of 40 defence witnesses to be handed to him so plans for the full hearing can be made.

Rejecting the applications by Paul Robinson who acts for 33-year-old Ragozzino of Oakwood Close, Marton, the judge said: “The idea that there is any bias by me is fanciful in the extreme.

“I have never been to Bloomfield Road in my life. I do not know anyone in the Oyston family and the last time I saw Blackpool FC play was when Stanley Matthews was in the team.”

Mr Robinson said the defendants felt that the police had manipulated the court by getting the case before a District Judge on a certain day.

He said: “There is suggestion that the Oyston family have been using their power and influence with the police.”

But e-mail evidence produced in court revealed this was not true.

The judge added: “I have no connection with Blackpool. I do not live in the town. I am merely the judge allocated to the town.”

Neil White, prosecuting, said he wanted to confirm to Ragozzino and Reed, 58, of Common Edge Road, Marton, that the prosecution team had no connections with the Oyston family.

He said: “It is not true to say anyone is in the pocket of the Oystons.”

Both men are accused of harassment by sending a barrage of allegedly offensive e-mails and texts to Karl Oyston earlier this year.

They are also accused of preparing an offensive e-mail to be sent to Oyston’s wife, Victoria.

Both men are currently on bail.