Northern Ireland news

No prosecution over 'We hate Catholics' video

The footage showed people singing "We hate Catholics, we hate Roman Catholics" to the tune of Tiffany's I Think We're Alone Now

PROSECUTORS have decided not to pursue a case against three people investigated over a video of sectarian singing in a Belfast bar.

The footage circulated online showed people singing "We hate Catholics, we hate Roman Catholics" to the tune of Tiffany's I Think We're Alone Now.

It was apparently filmed in March when Northern Ireland beat Belarus in a European Championship football qualifier.

The Public Prosecution Service (PPS) had been considering a file on three people investigated by police in relation to the video.

In a statement the PPS confirmed it had decided not to prosecute the individuals.

"We have given detailed consideration to the evidence provided by police in respect of the three individuals reported and have concluded that it is insufficient to provide a reasonable prospect of obtaining a conviction against any individual," a spokeswoman said.

The individuals were investigated under Article 9 of the Public Order (NI) Order 1987.

The probe examined potential acts of using threatening, abusive, or insulting words towards a group of persons defined by religious belief, intending to or being likely to stir up hatred or arouse fear.

An "independent expert analysis of the video" was used in the decision, the PPS said.

For one person, it said the evidence did not reach the standard required to prove they had sung any offensive words.

For the other two, it said the evidence did not reach the legal standard required to prove they intended to stir up hatred or arouse fear, or that this was a likely consequence.

It comes after police last month confirmed they had decided "no offences have been detected" over footage of a Tyrone GAA bus.

The video showed some senior team players singing the rebel song Come out ye Black and Tans as they passed a band parade in the border village of Aughnacloy after a victory over Cavan at Clones, Co Monaghan.

The footage, which was widely shared online, also appeared to include someone shouting a sectarian insult.

Police had been investigating the video as a hate incident, but later confirmed "no offences have been detected".

However, it emerged someone on the bus accepted a fine over behaviour unrelated to the video.

Tyrone manager Mickey Harte had apologised to "anyone who has been offended by the unacceptable behaviour" and said the matter was "being dealt with in-house".

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