Banana thrower gets fine

NHL ref Don Van Massenhoven carries a banana thrown at Flyers player Wayne Simmonds during a...

NHL ref Don Van Massenhoven carries a banana thrown at Flyers player Wayne Simmonds during a preseason game in London, Ont., last September. (Craig Glover/QMI Agency/Files)

JANE SIMS, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 12:11 PM ET

LONDON, ONT. - Christopher Moorhouse is guilty of trespassing -- but he's not guilty of racism.

Moorhouse, 26, was fined $200 on Monday for throwing a banana on the ice at the John Labatt Centre during an NHL exhibition game on Sept. 22 -- an event that sparked international outrage because of the assumption his actions were racially motivated against a black NHL player.

But Justice of the Peace Robert Seneshen, in accepting the joint submission from the Crown and the defence, said Moorhouse was wrongly tried in the public without all the facts that led to, "ramifications beyond the simple charge before the court."

"It was a single, silly act not racially motivated and he has already paid a tremendous price."

He described Moorhouse as "a thoughtful young man who is not a racist or a bigot in any way."

Moorhouse wasn't in the courtroom, but had his defence lawyer Faisal Joseph enter his guilty plea on his behalf. Joseph said Moorhouse wasn't there because of the unrelenting and negative attention given to the incident that Moorhouse didn't realize would be considered racist until he had it explained to him.

Crown attorney Geoff Beasley told Seneshen that the incident was exhaustively investigated by the London police and found there was "absolutely no basis to support a racially motivated act."

Moorhouse's only intent was to disrupt the shootout by throwing something on the ice, his lawyer said. And the only item available was the banana sold at a Tiki stand.

Moorhouse has since written letters of apology to the Flyers, Simmonds and the league.

His lawyer said the man and his family have received death threats, has lost weight, took time off work and remains mortified he was considered to be a racist.


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