AS Roma fan Filippo Lombardi has been adjudged not guilty after standing trial for causing grievous bodily harm to Liverpool supporter Sean Cox before the Champions League semi-final clash between the two clubs in April, per BBC News.
Cox, 53, was struck outside of Anfield as he attempted to go watch the match with his brother Martin and was seriously injured.
The 21-year-old Lombardi was acquitted by a jury at the Preston Crown Court this week. However, he was sentenced to three years in prison for a separate charge of violent disorder after admitting his culpability.
Judge Mark Brown condemned Lombardi's actions, labelling the defendant's excuse 'nonsense.'
"Football has been described as the beautiful game but the terrible events that took place outside Anfield stadium when Sean Cox was assaulted and suffered catastrophic injuries, surely have blighted its reputation," Brown said.
"There is no doubt in my mind that your purpose was to cause a violent clash with the Liverpool fans... demonstrated vividly in film footage.
"The footage shows that you had an active role and your assertion in evidence and in your basis of plea that you were just looking for signs for away supporter sections and were suddenly confronted by Liverpool fans is, in my judgement, nonsense."
Martin Cox, the victim's brother described the events to the court, also telling them that the 53-year-old is unable to speak or sit up without help.
"I turned to Sean as if to say 'let's get out of here', or whatever, but as I turned Sean was lying on the ground," he said.
"He can't talk, he just whispers," he added.
Lombardi, meanwhile, told the court he wrapped his belt around his hand because he was lost and feared that he might be heading towards a 'dangerous situation.' He claimed to have swung the belt in an attempt to get away after hearing a man behind Martin Cox say something about a fight. He insisted he did not notice Sean Cox until he saw him lying on the ground.