Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Celtic fan who sang IRA song is cleared of football offence, the SNP put crap law on the books because of a knee jerk reaction, Alex Salmond’s judgment is warped as case after case gets found not guilty, it’s time to repeal

Dear All

Scots pride themselves on having a sense of fairness, although the Alex Salmond and the SNP try and say that it is uniquely to Scotland, it isn’t, people can recognize when something is wrong.

The Offensive Behaviour at Football legislation Act is a load of shit, it is remarkably bad law written by the Scottish National Party in government with one objective, to be seen to be doing something.

Well they did something and it was wrong!

I can’t say I am a football fan, I have never attended a football in about 30 years, despite that I have given the Celtic Trust some ideas on political campaigning against this dreadful bill.

Well you would do!

A Celtic fan who sang a pro-IRA song at a match has been cleared in a landmark ruling of behaving in an offensive manner likely to incite public disorder.

The test was that he did something wrong, but that the Police who arrested him think he did something wrong.

And that is the real problem of this bill; it is a piece of crap.

There is a genuine lack of talent in the SNP.
Calum Graham, 21, was identified on video by police singing The Roll of Honour when Inverness Caledonian Thistle played at home against Celtic on August 25, 2012.

So, what is the problem, the Police overreacted and want arrests and convictions to justify this crap.

Unfortunately for them, there is a legal process with will see case after case being thrown out.

The Roll of Honour is a pro-IRA song commemorating hunger strikers in Northern Ireland prisons, isn’t  a banned song, by the same token Flower of Scotland and the British National anthem could see you in the dock, depends of the Police Officer.

Law by its very nature has to be clear cut.

The Offensive Behaviour at Football legislation has been criticised by lawyers since its introduction last year, everyone knows that it is rubbish except the SNP, however, it is said that some in the SNP don’t like it either.

Lawyers and others such as Celtic Trust claim supporters are facing police harassment, with their rights routinely eroded.

That is a fair assessment, right wing SNP government passing right wing law, civic rights have been eroded.

And, they say, many cases brought against fans have been dropped or found not proven.

It is a bit hard to sit on a jury when you get a case like this, in a test of what is reasonable, the conclusion can only be to find not guilty.

Mr Graham, from Glasgow, admitted he was one of a group singing the song, and he had often done so, but the key point is that he denied behaving in an offensive manner likely to incite public disorder.

So, Inverness Sheriff Margaret Neilson said it was not enough for a chant to be offensive; it also had to be "likely to incite public disorder".

If you are at a football match, anything is controlled public disorder, then they all piss off up the road.

Neilson said:

"Parliament clearly has it in mind that you must pass this hurdle for it to be an offence,.

PC Barry Inglis told the Inverness Sheriff Court trial he believed the song could have sparked trouble at the near sell-out game.

At Inverness Caledonian Thistle, is he shitting me!

The fact it did not was down to the strong police presence and the number of stewards on duty.

Assumption and not even evidence in my opinion, you could find 20 deep who would say the opposite.

Pc Inglis added the song had been changed to include the words: "England you're a bastard".

Isn’t that poetic licence?

Asked by defence solicitor Duncan Henderson how many of the dozens singing the song were arrested, he said only two arrests were made.

Presumably they were standing near the front!

Henderson said the Roll of Honour spoke of the aspirations of Ireland becoming "a nation once again" and asked PC Inglis if the anthem for the Scotland football and rugby teams, Flower of Scotland, contained a similar ideas.

The officer agreed it did.

And when he said that it undermined his entire case but he did add added The Roll of Honour was a song which supported a terrorist organisation.

So what!

Police Sergeant Neil Macleod who trains officers about offensive behaviour at football grounds, was on duty at the match and at half-time was told complaints had been received about songs.

Presumably he did have the heart to tell opposition supporters to piss off and grow up.

Mr Graham, said to have never been in trouble with police before, told the court he had been to more than 300 Celtic matches and regularly sang the song.

Next stop Britain’s Got Talent!

After the case he said:

"I'm relieved. The last 10 months have been terrible and I'm glad it's all over." But he added: "I will never sing the song again."

Given he has an acquittal under his belt, he is one of the few people in Scotland with a “licence” to sing it, plus he has case law on his side.

Scottish Tory chief whip John Lamont said:

"It's no surprise to see chaotic legislation drawn up on the hoof is failing to work. Like so many things the SNP does, it was simply not thought through”.

Quite so ma’am!

Lamont added:

"And the problem then gets worse, because as courtroom snubs of this nature increase, the very people the Scottish Government were trying to crack down on become more brazen."

Dave Scott, campaign director for anti-sectarian charity Nil By Mouth, said:

"It is very important that we do not ignore the political dimension to sectarianism in Scotland and the vast majority of people would believe that the song in question has no place at a football match. However, this outcome and the sheriff's remarks underline the urgent need to review this legislation as there seems to be considerable confusion between the courts, politicians, police and supporters as to what constitutes a breach of this law."

The Offensive Behaviour at Football legislation Act is the only bill in Scotland by the SNP that the people will cry Freedom, because case after case is going to be thrown out, dismissed and found not guilty or proven!

Parliament should be about in part passing law, however, the repeal of law has been neglected as well, and in this area, the Offensive Behaviour at Football legislation Act is one bill badly in need of being stuck down.

It was a knee jerk reaction carried out by the SNP because two football managers did a bit of pushing after an old firm game.

Yours sincerely

George Laird
The Campaign for Human Rights at Glasgow University

1 comment:

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