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Northern Ireland fan convicted for performing Birdie Song at Windsor Park touchline

By Alan Erwin

Published 05/01/2016

Northern Ireland's Steven Davis scores his side's first goal of the game during an international friendly against Latvia at Windsor Park, Belfast. Liam McBurney/PA Wire.
Northern Ireland's Steven Davis scores his side's first goal of the game during an international friendly against Latvia at Windsor Park, Belfast. Liam McBurney/PA Wire.
Northern Ireland's Steven Davis celebrates with teammates Josh Magennis (right) and Stuart Dallas after scoring his side's first goal of the game during an international friendly against Latvia at Windsor Park, Belfast. Liam McBurney/PA Wire.
Northern Ireland's Steven Davis celebrates with teammate Josh Magennis (right) after scoring his side's first goal of the game during an international friendly against Latvia at Windsor Park, Belfast. Liam McBurney/PA Wire.
Northern Ireland Kyle Lafferty and Latvia goal keeper Andris Vanins during Friday night's International friendly match at Windsor Park. Picture by Brian Little/Presseye
Northern Ireland's Kyle Lafferty goes close during this evening's game at Windsor Park in Belfast. Photo David Maginnis/Pacemaker Press
Northern Ireland's Stuart Dallas and Latvia's Vladislavs Gabovs during Friday night's International Friendly match at Windsor Park. Picture by Brian Little/Presseye
Northern Ireland fans during the international friendly against Latvia held at Windsor Park, Belfast. (Photo by Kevin Scott / Presseye)
Northern Ireland's Craig Cathcart and Latvia's Aleksejs Visnakovs in action during the international friendly at Windsor Park, Belfast. (Photo by Kevin Scott / Presseye)
Northern Ireland fans during the international friendly against Latvia held at Windsor Park, Belfast. (Photo by Kevin Scott / Presseye)
Northern Ireland's Kyle Lafferty with Latvia's Vitalijs Maksimenko during Friday night's international friendly at Windsor Park, Belfast. Pic: William Cherry/Presseye.
Northern Ireland's Kyle Lafferty with Latvia's Kaspars Gorkss during Friday night's international friendly at Windsor Park, Belfast. Pic: William Cherry/Presseye.
Northern Ireland players warm up before the international friendly between Northern Ireland and Latvia at Windsor Park, Belfast. Liam McBurney/PA Wire.
Northern Ireland manager Michael O'Neill during the friendly international against Latvia at Windsor Park. Photo: Colm Lenaghan/Pacemaker Press
Northern Ireland's mascot and Children in Needs Pudsey bear during the international friendly held at Windsor Park, Belfast. (Photo by Kevin Scott / Presseye)
Northern Ireland's mascot and Children in Need's Pudsey Bear during the international friendly against Latvia held at Windsor Park, Belfast. (Photo by Kevin Scott / Presseye)
The Northern Ireland team ahead of their friendly match against Latvia at Windsor Park. Picture by Brian Little/Presseye
General view of the Adidas Euro 2016 Championship match ball before the international friendly between Northern Ireland and Latvia at Windsor Park, Belfast. Liam McBurney/PA Wire.
Northern Ireland players warm up before the international friendly between Northern Ireland and Latvia at Windsor Park, Belfast. Liam McBurney/PA Wire.
Northern Ireland's Chris Baird warming up before the international friendly between Northern Ireland and Latvia at Windsor Park, Belfast. Liam McBurney/PA Wire.
Teams warm up before the international friendly between Northern Ireland and Latvia at Windsor Park, Belfast. Liam McBurney/PA Wire.
Northern Ireland fans before the international friendly between Northern Ireland and Latvia at Windsor Park, Belfast. Liam McBurney/PA Wire.
Latvia's Deniss Rakels (left) and Northern Ireland's Jonny Evans battle for the ball during an international friendly at Windsor Park, Belfast. Liam McBurney/PA Wire.
Northern Ireland manager Michael O'Neill during an international friendly at Windsor Park, Belfast. Liam McBurney/PA Wire.
Latvia's Olegs Laizans (left) and Northern Ireland's Stuart Dallas battle for the ball during an international friendly at Windsor Park, Belfast. Liam McBurney/PA Wire.

A Northern Ireland 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, a court heard today.

James Burns consented to being bound over to keep the peace, with the year-long prohibition, for his actions during a fixture last November.

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 in Newtownabbey, Co Antrim, was also fined £250 plus a £15 offender levy.

The 24-year-old had admitted unlawfully going onto an area where spectators are not allowed during a match.

Belfast Magistrates' Court heard he approached the touchline during the friendly against Latvia and performed the Birdie Song.

He was charged after CCTV footage of the incident was obtained.

Despite accepting the offence, Burns 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.

It includes a specific undertaking not to attend Windsor Park for any international friendly or competitive games at which a Northern Ireland team is playing for a period of one year.

The defendant could have faced 14 days in custody had he withheld consent.

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