Once more a Scottish court gets bogged down in a debate about the complexities and nuances of Irish history (happens more than you think, I'd say).
A 20 year old German football fan called Lucas Tussing was cleared of singing a song in support of a terrorist group, after claiming he did not know the song in question was about the IRA.
Tussing was collared for belting out the Wolfe Tones' classic 'The Boys of the Old Brigade' at the Kilmarnock-Celtic match of March 2014.
Tussing's defence followed two distinct lines of argument - 1.) that he didn't understand the lyrics and the link to the IRA and 2.) the IRA referenced in the song was the pre-1921 IRA and not the provisional IRA (presumably Tussing didn't come up with this argument all by himself).
The main thrust of his case was that he did not understand the lyrics and the link to the IRA.
Not even the presence of the line 'I joined the IRA' in the song alerted Tussing to the fact that this was an IRA song.
Tussing said he only sang it because everyone else in the area was singing it.
Everyone was doing it. I wouldn’t have done it if I knew it was criminal.
Furthermore, his defence argued that the song in question was not about an organisation that had 'committed atrocities which are fresh in our minds.'
The Boys of the Old Brigade references the War of Independence struggle between 1919-21 and not the Troubles of the 70s, 80s, and early 90s. In that light, the defence purported that the song was more akin to 'Flower of Scotland', which referred to the Scots rebelling against the English in the 14th century.
The sheriff accepted that Tussing did not mean to commit a criminal act and she pronounced him 'not guilty.'
Even so, Tussing's days of singing Wolfe Tones songs appear to be over. After he was cleared, he pronounced 'I will never go to another game in Glasgow, Scotland or the UK.'
John Delaney will no doubt be kicking himself that he didn't try and claim that he didn't know Joe McDonnell was associated with the IRA.