John Gorman of the Woodcutter Bar in Motherwell was charged in 2010 with ‘dishonestly’ receiving English Premier League games in an attempt to avoid payment.
However, sheriff Bickett of Hamilton Sheriff Court last week sided with Gorman on the grounds that he had a valid contract to screen the games, albeit one that circumvented the UK exclusivity rights by broadcasting the games from outside the EU.
A spokesman for Scullion Law, the firm that represented Gorman, said the ruling could have an impact on future cases.
“They [the court] didn’t say one way or the other whether it was legal, they just said there was no dishonest intent,” said the spokesman.
“But I think it will be a case that will prompt some debate about whether it is legitimate to receive images from outwith the EU.”