A football fan who posted a racist tweet about Bukayo Saka following an England loss had his conviction quashed because the tweet did not include the Arsenal star’s Twitter handle and was not a direct message. 

Monzer El-Sharnouby tweeted “Saka can hold that too, c**n" after the England men’s team lost 2-1 to France in the 2022 World Cup quarter-final. 

When the 29-year-old was arrested at his home on Galloway Drive in Bexley he told police he had sent the tweet but did not know “c**n” was a racist term. 

Last August he was convicted at trial of sending a grossly offensive message and was given a football banning order. 

But at Woolwich Crown Court on Friday (May 10) his conviction was quashed because his tweet did not include Saka’s Twitter handle and was not a direct message. 

Your Local Guardian: El-Sharnouby sent the tweet after the England men's team's loss to France in December 2022El-Sharnouby sent the tweet after the England men's team's loss to France in December 2022 (Image: PA)El-Sharnouby had been convicted under the 1988 Malicious Communications Act, which made it an offence to send to another person a letter, electronic communication or article of any description which is grossly offensive. 

Christopher Lambert, representing El-Shanouby, said: “What has been established is that this was a tweet on his own Twitter platform. A tweet itself isn’t sending something to another person, it is putting something on your own platform. 

“In the absence of proving that this was sent to another person by means of @ing them or sending a direct message, it cannot be proved that it was sent to that person. 

“It’s similar to a situation where you put something on a website. It is not necessarily directed at a person.” 

Your Local Guardian: El-Sharnouby pictured leaving courtEl-Sharnouby pictured leaving court (Image: NQ)Prosecutor James Howard argued: “The very nature of Twitter is that people see your tweets. That’s the very purpose of it. When you press the enter button it goes to people.” 

But Recorder Hamish Common ruled that under the 1988 act it would be necessary to prove that El-Sharnouby had directed the message at Saka. 

He therefore ruled that the conviction be quashed. 

If the offence had been charged under the 2003 Malicious Communications Act it would not have been necessary to prove that the message was directed at Saka, the court heard.