NI football fan given stadium ban over ‘Birdie Song’ rendition

Antrim man James Burns (24) put on a touchline performance during Latvia game

Northern Ireland players celebrate their qualification for Euro 2016. A  fan of the team, who gave a pitch side performance of the Birdie Song at Windsor Park during a clash with Latvia, has pledged to stay away from all home international matches for the next 12 months. Photograph: Charles McQuillan/Getty Images.

Northern Ireland players celebrate their qualification for Euro 2016. A fan of the team, who gave a pitch side performance of the Birdie Song at Windsor Park during a clash with Latvia, has pledged to stay away from all home international matches for the next 12 months. Photograph: Charles McQuillan/Getty Images.

 

A Northern Ireland football fan who gave a pitch side performance of the Birdie Song at Windsor Park has pledged to stay away from all home international matches for the next 12 months.

James Burns (24) consented in court to being bound over to keep the peace, with the year-long prohibition, for his actions during a fixture last November against Latvia.

Prosecutors had been seeking a football banning order which would have seen him excluded from all regulated games in Northern Ireland for up to five years.

Burns, of Hydepark Manor, Newtownabbey, Co Antrim, was also fined £250 plus a £15 offender levy. He had admitted to unlawfully going onto an area where spectators are not allowed - the touchline - during a match and performing the Birdie Song.

He was charged after CCTV footage of the incident was obtained. Burns accepted the offence but contested the imposition of any banning order.

Defence barrister Declan Quinn argued that his actions did not meet the legislative test for such a sentence. Mr Quinn also claimed Burns’ behaviour did not amount to disorder.

District Judge Liam McNally held that the defendant’s pitch side actions could amount to a form of interference but he refused to impose a banning order, ruling that it was not necessary for preventing future violence or disorder.

Instead, Burns was bound over to keep the peace in the sum of £750. Burns could have faced 14 days in custody had he withheld consent.