Trial underway for man who threw Olympic 100m bottle
Thursday, 03 January 2013
January 3 - The trial of the man accused of throwing a bottle at the start of the men's Olympic 100 metre final at London 2012 began here today where the Court heard that he did not actually have ticket for the blue ribbon event of the Games.
Ashley Gill-Webb, 34, was arrested after the incident on August 5 that saw him shout abuse at eventual winner Usain Bolt.
As Bolt prepared to get into the starting blocks, the court heard that Gill-Webb shouted: "Usain, you are bad, you are an ****hole."
He then threw the plastic green Heineken bottle at the Jamaican as the race got underway.
The bottle landed just behind Bolt but it did not affect his performance as he went on to take gold in an Olympic record of 9.63sec.
The incident saw Dutch world judo champion and Olympic bronze medallist Edith Bosch, who was sitting nearby, have an altercation with Gill-Webb before he was dragged away by security personnel at the Olympic Stadium and arrested.
A statement from Bosch was read out in court.
"I saw a man in front of me move his hand back behind his head and then forward in a throwing motion over his head," said her statement.
"I then saw a bottle hit the track.
"He then flailed his arms a second time and in that direction in anger and frustration.
"He moved to walk away but at that point I confronted him and said: 'Dude, are you crazy?'
"I was angry at what he had done, it was so disrespectful. I was flabbergasted."
The court heard that Gill-Webb has bipolar disorder which the defence claimed contributed to the bottle throwing incident and the strange behaviour he demonstrated after being arrested.
Once taken into police custody, the father of two told officers his name was "Alan Cumming" and signed his statement AA Cumming.
He later explained that he gave the name Alan Cumming, who is a Scottish actor, because many people say the pair look similar.
Gill-Webb originally denied throwing the bottle but has now admitted to it, although he says he has no recollection of the incident.
He has however, denied the charge of intent to cause harassment, alarm or distress.
But despite his mental state, Neil King, who was leading the prosecution, said Gill-Webb was aware of his actions.
"He was at the stadium along with many thousands who should have been there legitimately watching the races," said King.
"He had somehow without a ticket ever been found on him made his way into very exclusive seats indeed.
"He was mingling with members of the Dutch team.
"He threw a green Heineken bottle in a lobbing motion that was captured on CCTV.
"This bottle landed extremely close to the athletes and it's probably luck rather than Mr Gill-Webb's judgment that it did not do anything far more serious."
But Rhiannon Crimmins, who was leading the defence, explained that a psychiatrist had diagnosed Gill-Webb as having bipolar disorder following the incident.
"He was neither capable of intending it or aware of the disruption it would cause," she said.
Gill-Webb received psychiatric treatment at Bootham Park Hospital in York after being sectioned under the Mental Health Act following the incident and was only released from hospital on September 7 last year.
District Judge William Ashworth, who is overseeing the trial, said: "He looks perfectly normal to me.
"But obviously on occasions he has manic behaviour problems."
Gill-Webb sat motionless during the trial as evidence was given both for and against him.
One of the key witnesses for the prosecution was consultant forensic psychiatrist Dr Richard Latham who said Gill-Webb was suffering a manic episode at the time.
"Mr Gill-Webb was manic and that meant that he was somewhat impulsive, elated, over-confident, perhaps behaving in a somewhat unpredictable and out-of-character way," he said.
"I think there was some impairment in his ability to make a reasonable decision.
"But I don't think that means he was unable to form an intention.
"He was able to form an intention to do lots of other things, lots of other quite purposeful things, including getting to where he got to, which is a pretty staggering feat given the level of security that was there.
"He got to that position and that demonstrated a pretty impressive mental capacity, I would say."
The hearing is set to continue next week, although the date has not yet been specified.
November 2012: Trial date set for man accused of throwing Olympic 100m bottle
August 2012: Man arrested after bottle thrown on to track moments before start of 100 metres final