The Birdie Song is a Criminal Offence

by | Jan 5, 2016

As mentioned here earlier this week, it would appear that, in the absence of any Premier League football to angry people up, the next few days would appear to be something approaching football’s silly season, and today’s entry into this field comes from Northern Ireland, where a supporter who performed a rendition of the aforementioned – in the title of this brief story – song from the early 1980s during an international match between Northern Ireland and Latvia.

No indication has been given of the age of James Burns of Newtownabbey, who admitted unlawfully going on to an area where football spectators are not allowed to perform this dance, but one can only assume that it’s over the age of thirty if he remembers this as being A Thing. He was bound over to keep the peace after agreeing to stay away from all home international matches this year, and was also fined £250, plus a £15 offender levy.

Despite having admitted the offence in the first place, Burns contested prosecutors’ attempts to impose a football banning order on him. This would have seen him excluded from all regulated games in Northern Ireland for a period of up to five years. His defence counsel argued that his behaviour that day did not meet the legislative test for such a sentence and that Burns’ behaviour did not amount to disorder.

The judge, in an outbreak of common sense that seems to have eluded the prosecutors that were seeking it in the first place, said the defendant’s actions could amount to a form of interference, but he refused to impose a banning order, ruling that this would not be necessary in order to prevent future violence or disorder from Burns. Instead, the Newtownabbey Birdie Dancer was bound over to keep the peace in the sum of £750. A valuable way to spend everybody’s time, I think we can all agree.

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