Tal Ben Haim tweet man to go to court

By Sandy Rashty, August 30, 2012

A MAN is to appear in court over an abusive message he is alleged to have sent to the Israeli footballer, Tal Ben Haim.

Matthew Smith, 33, of Andover, Hampshire, allegedly sent a Twitter message to the former Portsmouth Football Club defender on August 6.

The statement has since been removed from the social networking site but will be considered in court, a CPS spokesperson confirmed.

“We have carefully considered the evidence provided to us by the police,” said Stacey Turner, head of the CPS’s Wessex daytime charging unit. “There is sufficient evidence and it is in the public interest to prosecute Matthew Smith with this offence.”

Mr Smith has been charged with improper use of a public electronic communications network.
Neil Weld, the Portsmouth FC spokesman, condemned the Twitter abuse and said: “We don’t condone what happened and we back the police in what they’re doing.”

Mr Smith will appear at Andover Magistrates’ Court on September 27.

Tal Ben Haim, 30, was born in Rishon-le-Zion, and has played for Maccabi Tel Aviv, Chelsea and Manchester City.

Last updated: 9:21am, August 30 2012