Faculty welcomes amendment to Hate Crime Bill

23 Sep


THE Faculty has welcomed a significant change to the Hate Crime and Public Order (Scotland) Bill.

The Cabinet Secretary for Justice, Humza Yousaf, announced an amendment to the Bill so that an intention to stir up hatred would be required for a prosecution.

Commenting on the announcement, Roddy Dunlop, QC, Dean of Faculty, said that in a 35 page response to the Bill, the Faculty had set out a number of concerns as to its potential reach if enacted.

One of the primary concerns (pars 9-10) was that “a crime is committed not simply where the Crown is able to demonstrate an intention to stir up hatred (which the Faculty supports) but also where, irrespective of intent, ‘it is likely that hatred will be stirred up.’ ”

Mr Dunlop stated: “The Scottish Government has listened to that concern, which was voiced by many others, and proposes to amend the Bill so that a crime will be committed only where the stirring up of hatred is intentional. Faculty welcomes that amendment. It does not address all of the Faculty’s concerns about potential impact on freedom of expression, and Faculty will continue to work with Government to address those other concerns.

“This change, however, will ensure that criminalisation applies only to intentional behaviour, which is consistent with the policy aims of the Bill that Faculty has always supported.”