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

By Alan Erwin

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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