Crown considers appeal against Celtic fan verdict

Dion McLeish was found not guilty of singing sectarian songs at Dens Park. Picture: SNS
Dion McLeish was found not guilty of singing sectarian songs at Dens Park. Picture: SNS
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PROSECUTORS are considering an appeal against the not guilty verdict in the trial of a Celtic fan caught on camera singing a pro-terrorist song - after a sheriff described the Scottish Government’s Offensive Behaviour at Football legislation as “mince”.

• A Celtic fan’s not guilty verdict is to face being overturned after a judge called the legislation behind his acquittal “mince”

• 20-year-old Dion McLeish was found not guilty of singing sectarian song during football match at Dens Park

The Crown Office today confirmed it is considering taking the rare step of appealing the not guilty verdict given in the trial of Dion McLeish at Dundee Sheriff Court last week.

The 20-year-old was filmed by police officers at Dundee’s Dens Park ground on Boxing Day singing the song “Roll of Honour” - which celebrates IRA and INLA hunger strikers during the Troubles.

But Sheriff Richard Davidson ruled during the trial that police officers could not give “opinion” evidence that the song was linked to proscribed terrorist organisations - then described the new anti-sectarianism legislation McLeish was tried under as “horribly drafted”.

The Crown Office and Scottish Government today insisted the laws were “working well” and “taking a hard line on sectarianism”.

The Scottish Government said the legislation would be reviewed at the end of the coming football season - with a report to go before the Scottish Parliament by the following summer.

Prosecutors have asked for reports to be prepared as they consider an appeal against the ruling in McLeish’s case - in which the sheriff stated sectarianism should be tackled by abolishing denominational schools.

A Crown Office spokesman said: “The Crown notes the Sheriff’s decision in this case.

“Crown Counsel has asked the Procurator Fiscal for a report in order to consider an appeal in light of the Sheriff’s comments.”