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Football Bill moves forward

A majority of members of the Scottish Parliament's Justice Committee have shown their support for the two new offences included in the Offensive Behaviour at Football and Threatening Communications (Scotland) Bill.

The Bill was introduced to the Scottish Parliament in the summer, and is being progressed as an emergency Bill in the wake of sectarian violence during the last football season.

It provides for two new criminal offences. The first offence would criminalise offensive or threatening behaviour likely to incite public disorder at certain football matches. The second offence of ‘threatening communications’ provides for a criminal offence concerning the sending of communications which contain threats of serious violence or which contain threats intended to incite religious hatred.

In a report published last week, the majority of Justice Committee members agreed that there is a gap in the law that would be addressed by the new offences. A minority of the Committee believe that the current legislation, if properly enforced, already allows police and prosecutors to target offensive behaviour and threatening communications effectively.

A Committee debate on the report at Stage 2 is expected to take place in the Chamber in early November. The Bill will then return to the Justice Committee for line by line scrutiny.

 

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Friday, 03 April 2020

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