Loyalist band acquitted over tune

Published Friday, 04 April 2014
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Eleven members of a loyalist flute band have been acquitted of provocatively playing a sectarian tune at a north Belfast flashpoint.

Loyalist band acquitted over tune
The band members have been acquitted. (© UTV)

Charges were brought against them over claims that they struck up the controversial Famine Song after passing a Catholic Church.

The defendants denied the allegation, insisting instead that it had been a rendition of a Beach Boys' hit.

But a judge dismissed the case against all of them on the basis that it could not be proven that a breach of the peace was either intended or likely.

The defendants, all members of the Dunmurry Protestant Boys, were charged with doing a provocative act in November 2012.

Their band was taking part in an Apprentice Boys' parade through the city at the time.

Belfast Magistrates' Court heard claims that after passing St Patrick's Church they broke into the sectarian tune in the Clifton Street area.

A small group of around 15 nationalist protestors was said to have been gathered nearby.

The defendants' lawyer argued, however, that the band was playing Sloop John B, the Beach Boys' song which goes by the same tune. After hearing evidence the district judge made no ruling on whether or not it was the Famine Song being played.

But it was decided that the prosecution had failed to establish there was an intention to provoke a breach of the peace.

The verdict also took into account the likelihood of such an outcome given the number of protestors at the scene. On that basis all eleven defendants were acquitted.

© UTV News
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17 Comments
Ryan in An Dun wrote (199 days ago):
@ rab and sam. So it's fine to play sectarian tunes in front of places of worship? Ross kemp showed it all. You have the cheek to come on here and try to disguise these sectarian marches as Christian marches? How Christian is it to march in a circle playing the famine song? How christian is it to urinate against places of worship? Using ceremonial swords against police? The list could go on.
Rab in Belfast wrote (201 days ago):
Absolute joke what the put these people through hauling them up in front of the courts!should be locking up these terrorists and also these death drivers and throwing away the key it's nothing more than pure sectarian hatred towards the orange people of northern ireland....it's getting boring and old........
Michael Monaghan in Belfast wrote (202 days ago):
Stop these loyalist tune players from passing catholic churches and catholic homes and then they can play whatever they want ... Maybe they could throw in a few Elton John hits too ...
Someone cares in Belfast wrote (202 days ago):
They broke parades comission restrictions whos fooling who waste of money respect needs to be shown
only the gullible believe politicians in Ulster wrote (202 days ago):
Just goes to show that people are only offended when they want to be and their offense is based on ill informed preconceived notions and stereotype.Lets hand the bill for this nonsense to the 15 gullible protesters or better yet lets hand the bill to the sf members who went out of their way to stir up problems in an area/areas were none existed before and for no other reason than to maintain division to maintain a voting pattern.Well done to the court for making the correct decision,it's just a shame it took so long,in reality it should have been thrown out as soon as it arrived.
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