NHL banana toss trial delayed to Jan. 9; London, Ont., man faces trespass count

LONDON, Ont. – A southwestern Ontario man accused of throwing a banana at a black National Hockey League player has had his case put over until Jan. 9.

Christopher Moorhouse was arrested and charged in September after a banana was lobbed at Philadelphia Flyers forward Wayne Simmonds during a pre-season game in London, Ont.

The 26-year-old London man is charged with a provincial trespassing offence and could face a $2,000 fine if convicted.

Moorhouse was scheduled to appear in court on Monday, but his lawyer requested the case be put over until the new year.

London police have said there wasn’t enough evidence to charge Moorhouse with a hate crime.

Moorhouse’s lawyer, Faisal Joseph, has said his client had no idea that hurling bananas at black athletes could be seen as hateful or racially motivated.

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Simmonds had forced the Sept. 22 game into a shoot-out with a third-period goal and was approaching Detroit Red Wings goalie Jordan Pearce during the tie-breaker when the banana hit the ice.

Detroit won the game 4-3.

London police Chief Brad Duncan said in September that investigators took a careful look at the circumstances and the case “did not meet the threshold of a hate crime.”

“You have to demonstrate the incident was motivated by hatred—but the circumstances and the statements that we’ve received would not meet that threshold of a hate crime,” Duncan explained.