referee has commended Gareth Thomas on”his braveness” after he revealed he was attacked over his sexuality.

Thomas elected to use restorative justice, meaning that the boy won’t be charged with any offence.

Referee Owens, who is also homosexual, said after being delivered abuse on 22, he made a choice that was similar in 2015.

“I had a homophobic remark – a small nasty comment – placed on societal media against me after the England v France match I refereed three years ago,” Owens told BBC Radio Wales.

“A couple of days after I had a Facebook message off this young lad apologising saying he was drunk at the time, which isn’t a justification, but he was profoundly apologetic.

“There was the option which either the authorities would take this on and this young lad could have a criminal record which would stay with him for the remainder of his lifetime, or you would deal with it in precisely the exact same manner Gareth seems to be dealing with it.”

Owens made a decision to meet 18-year-old Edryd James out of Cynwyl Elfed at Carmarthen police station, where he told him”remarks such as this really can hurt people”.

Thomas, who came out as homosexual in 2009, such as Owens picked for the authorities to use restorative justice, however it isn’t clear if he will meet with the boy in person or receive an apology.

Owens added he was”amazed” Thomas was the victim of an attack, but added”it sometimes takes it to happen to someone like Gareth and his profile” to make a difference.

Criminal barrister, Andrew Taylor, said:”He’s brought it home to people the way restorative justice can operate, and the way it exists in this country.

“A survey which was done in 2016 revealed that only 28 percent of people had heard of restorative justice.

“And I believe Alfie has done more than any estimate, any politician or anybody from the criminal justice system to bring home this scheme.”

Direct or indirect restorative justice includes the offender and the victim communicating with one another. This can be done indirectly or face-to-face via a facilitator.

If there are many victims and perpetrators sometimes community conferencing occurs.

Young people can also be sent to the factors that may have contributed to their offending behavior and a referral order panel


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