Man charged over hate messages against Lennon

A MAN appeared in court yesterday after being arrested over alleged internet sectarian offences targeting Celtic manager Neil Lennon.

Iain Rooney, aged 24, has been accused of creating websites where hate messages about the football club boss were posted last season.

He was arrested in a joint operation between Strathclyde Police, Central Scotland Police and the newly formed Football Co-ordination Unit for Scotland (Focus).

Rooney, of Callander, appeared in private at Stirling Sheriff Court, where he faced three charges.

Two were breach of the peace, and one of which was with religious aggravation.

The third charge related to an alleged contravention of section 38.1 of the Criminal Justice and Licensing (Scotland) Act 2010. The act relates to a person behaving in a threatening or abusive manner. Court officials said this involves racial and religious aggravation.

Rooney made no plea or declaration during the petition hearing before Sheriff William Gilchrist.

The case was committed for further examination and Rooney was released on bail. No date was set for the next court hearing.

On Tuesday, Superintendent David Brand, head of Focus, told internet users: “Please be warned: If you do post hatred over the internet you may not be arrested today but we will be paying you a visit some time in the future.”

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