Arrested soccer fans jam courts in Glasgow

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THE SCOTTISH courts yesterday began dealing with the 172 football fans arrested after Saturday's Scotland-England Euro 2000 qualifying match. A stream of defendants jammed Glasgow Sheriff Court sitting till late in the evening.

"The place is in mayhem," said one solicitor after the courts failed to open until the afternoon because of the difficulty in documenting all the cases. Hearings began an hour and a half late but one set of hearings was adjourned amid the chaos.

Lawyers could not be found to represent four men from England and Sheriff James Taylor adjourned to "bring some order to the situation".

Among the accused was Patrick Allan Vigilante, 32, a builder, married with two children, from Witney, Oxfordshire. He denied being in a stand- up fight and committing a breach of the peace. His solicitor called him "a man of some considerable reputation" with 18 employees in his business, Mr Vigilante was released on bail of pounds 5,000 to stand trial in December.

Delroy Lloyd Nelson, 26, from Wapping, east London, denied forcing his way into a crowd of football fans who were leaving a train on Saturday and breaching the peace. Paul Clements, 22, from South Shields, Tyne and Wear, pleaded not guilty to fighting in Glasgow city centre and was bailed to stand trial in February.

Among others who pleaded not guilty to breaching the peace were Paul Napier, 38, from Northfield, Birmingham; Mark Fawl, 29, from Cosby, Leeds; Jason Hadlington, 27, from Regius, Birmingham; Craig MacPherson Stewart, 37, from Grangemouth; Nicholas George Shephard, 29, from Solihull, West Midlands; Christopher Gales, 24, from Durham; Barry William O'Neil, 19, from Glasgow; Craig Duncan, 20, from Falkirk.

In most cases, the defendants will have to return twice to Glasgow, first for an "intermediate diet" - a preview of the case - then for trial next year.