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Offensive Behaviour at Football and Threatening Communications Act: first convictions

2012 March 14


“Two men who chanted bigoted songs on train become first to be banned from football under new laws” Daily Record
“Andrew Whitson and Paul Swan are first ‘football bill’ convictions” BBC
“Bigotry law: Hibs pair first to be convicted” Scotsman

Following posted 7.3.12

“Publishers must show more vigilance to online sectarian hate messages” Guardian

Following posted 1.3.12

“Offensive behaviour at football law comes into effect” STV
“Police fears remain over bigotry laws” Herald
“Football religious hatred law takes effect in Scotland” BBC

Following posted 15.2.12

“Anti-bigotry law threat to Scots pubs” Herald
“Sectarian legislation is vague and lacks clarity” Herald

Following posted 21.12.11

“Offensive? Our lawmakers’ decision to target Scottish football fans certainly is” Guardian
“Wide-ranging inquiry is only way forward on sectarianism” Herald

For coverage from June 2008, documents and other links

Following posted 15.12.11

“Scotland cracks down on religious hatred at football matches with new law” Guardian
“New Scottish anti-sectarian laws: Holyrood gets shirty over bigot bill” Scotsman
“Controversial laws targeting sectarian hatred at football & on the internet are passed by Holyrood” Daily Record
“Such a poor attempt to cure a historical blight” Scotsman
“Nats’ anti-bigotry Bill is ‘railroaded through’” Scottish Express
“Controversial laws targeting sectarian hate crime at football passed” STV
“Nats boot through new anti-bigot laws” Scottish Sun
“This dumb, unjust law is Salmond’s first own goal” Herald
“Academic delivering 3,000-name petition in last-ditch bid to halt Offensive Behaviour bill” Courier
“Bigotry Bill: Anger as football fans are banned from making silent protest at Scottish Parliament” Daily Record
“Support our anti-bigotry action plan because your Bill is fatally flawed, Labour tell SNP” Daily Record
“Anti-bigot laws passed by the Scottish Parliament” BBC
“Protesters banned from chamber as SNP use majority to pass anti-bigotry bill” Courier
“Anti-sectarianism bill passed despite continued protests” Law Society Journal Online

Following posted 23.11.11

“Hate-speech law to face critical vote” Scotsman
“Old Firm ‘shame’ is blasted” Scottish Sun
“SNP will push through sectarian reforms” Herald
“Anti-bigot law to be passed by the Scottish Parliament” BBC
“SNP waters down ‘thought crime’ in Sectarian Bill” Herald
“Alternative plan to ‘nip bigotry in the bud’” Scotsman
“Labour stance alters as party now claims anti-sectarianism legislation not required” Newsnet Scotland
“Labour outlines its plan to tackle sectarianism” BBC

Following posted 23.11.11

“Crackdown on sectarian chants to be law by spring” Scotsman
“Soft target for our politicians” Scotsman
“The law is now clearly defined” Scotsman
“Law change will create two new offences” Scotsman
“New free speech protection in sectarianism law” STV
“New twist in bid to tackle sectarianism” Scottish Sun
“Free speech ‘protected’ under anti-sectarianism bill” BBC
“Labour opposes football law move” Herald
“Bigots bill broadened further” BBC

Following posted 22.11.11

“Labour calls for more time to consider sectarianism legislation” STV
“No gain…abstain” Scottish Sun
“SNP attack Labour’s ‘political manoeuvring’ on Anti-Sectarianism Bill” Newsnet Scotland

Following posted 4.11.11

“Opposition fails in bid to derail anti-sectarian Bill” Herald
“Bigotry bill: Opposition parties tell SNP Government they can’t back proposed laws” Daily Record
“Scottish Government extending bigotry crackdown to include age and gender discrimination” Courier
“Call for rethink on SNP law to fight bigots” Scottish Express
“Storm as bigot blitz laws get go-ahead” Scottish Sun
“Anti-sectarianism bill survives opposition challenge” Law Society Journal Online
“MSP says Lord Advocate “undermined” legislation and was “drawn too far into the political process”” The Firm Magazine
“Opposition parties accused of ‘bizarre actions’ over anti-sectarianism bill” Newsnet Scotland
“Scottish Government: bigotry laws to include age and gender discrimination” Newsnet Scotland
“Parties urge SNP to ‘think again’ over bigotry bill” BBC

Following posted 16.10.11

“Celtic chairman warns anti-sectarian laws could end up a ‘complete mess’” Scotsman

Following posted 10.10.11

“Alex Salmond’s bold plan for a new law on sectarianism could yet prove an own goal” Scotsman
“Salmond to agree review of bigotry law” Scotsman
“Changes agreed to bigotry bill after bishop meeting” BBC
“Justice Committee split on football offences bill” Law Society Journal Online

Following posted 7.10.11

“SNP’s flagship laws tackling bigotry in football are blasted by leading anti-sectarian group” Daily Record
“Football bodies hit back in row over Bill” Herald
“Sectarian law decision flouts key Holyrood principle” Scotsman
“Opposition sticks the boot into Salmond’s bigotry bill” Scotsman
“MSPs blame Scots football bosses over bigotry shame” Scottish Express
“Alex Salmond: No bigotry blitz KO” Scottish Sun
“Sectarianism targeted as Holyrood committee backs Offensive Behaviour Bill” Newsnet Scotland
“MSPs on justice committee back sectarian bill” BBC

Following posted 6.10.11

“Salmond to meet bishop as bigotry Bill row escalates” Herald
“Good law needed on sectarianism” Herald
“Alex Salmond calls summit as he tries to defuse deepening row with Church” Scotsman
“Bishop warning over ‘problematic’ new sectarianism laws” STV
“Alex Salmond and bishop in prejudice law talks” Scottish Sun
“SNP’s anti-sectarianism plans run into trouble” Caledonian Mercury
“Catholic Bishop Tartaglia to meet Alex Salmond” BBC
“Bishop Philip Tartaglia’s letter to Alex Salmond” BBC

Following posted 3.10.11

“Sectarian bill breaches civil rights, says MP” Herald
“Rival fans team up in bid to stop anti-sectarianism bill” Scotsman
“Fans unite to oppose SNP football hate law” Scottish Express

Following posted 30.9.11

“Bigotry ‘could kill Scottish football’” Herald
“Football must face down sectarianism, says Salmond” Press and Journal
“‘Sectarianism will kill our game'” Scotsman
“‘Beat bigots or football chiefs will do it for us'” Scottish Express
“Alex Salmond stands by proposed sectarian laws” STV

Following posted 29.9.11

“Abertay lecturer urges Old Firm fans to take stand against ‘disproportionate’ bill” Courier
“Old Firm fans finally find common ground” Scotsman
“One in three young Scots suffers sectarian abuse” Scottish Express

Following posted 22.9.11

“What’s offensive behaviour at a football match? We’ll leave that up to individual police officers…” Evening Times
“Confusion deepens over SNP anti-sectarian laws” Telegraph

“Threats could lead to five years in jail under new sectarianism laws, MSPs are told” Daily Record
“Police ‘do not have expertise’ to know how the internet works” Herald
“Name and shame the bigots, says minister” Scotsman
“Crackdown on football bigots is ‘a shambles’” Scottish Express
“Call for bigots to be named and shamed” STV
“We’re hate laws, footie hate laws, no one likes us, we don’t care” Scottish Sun

Following posted 19.9.11

“Police praise fans as Old Firm fixture goes without a hitch” Herald
“Fury as Nil By Mouth charity is blanked over anti-bigotry law” Daily Record
“MSPs probing anti-sectarian Bill snub charity praised for tackling bigotry” Herald
“This legislation is in danger of making independent thought a form of crime” Scotsman
“Christine Grahame: It was just what you would expect from a vigorous rivalry, rather than anything evil” Scotsman
“Vibrant and intense – it must be match day in Glasgow” Scotsman
“MSPs scrutinising football bill attend Old Firm game” BBC

Following posted 16.9.11

“Why are we creating new laws to criminalise things that are already criminal?” Scotsman
“Fans promised they won’t face arrest for banter” Scotsman

Following posted 13.9.11

“New law to tackle sectarianism at football is dodgy says academic” Daily Record
“Less rhetoric and more reality would serve the SNP better” Scotsman
“Bigot bill ‘could make the law look like an ass'” Scotsman
“Bigot bill ‘will make ass of law’” Scottish Sun
“Tom Devine: SNP’s anti-sectarian bill is a ‘disaster'” Telegraph

Following posted 12.9.11

“Father of sectarian victim supports new law” Herald
“Sectarian law backed” Evening Times
“Extreme laws will not tackle the football bigots” Telegraph

Following posted 8.9.11

“Rangers fans in warning on bigotry bill plans” Herald
“Celtic fans’ IRA chants drove me away from the club I love, says Pat Nevin” Scotsman
“Pat Nevin and Graham Spiers back hate crime bill” BBC
“Rangers fan’s warning over proposed sectarian law”STV
“Celtic and Rangers fans reject anti-sectarian Bill” Evening Times

Following posted 6.9.11

“Football fans give evidence to MSPs on hate crime bill” BBC
“Football fans, journalists and experts to give evidence on hate crime bill” STV

Following posted 5.9.11

“Minister says Scots back new law on sectarianism” Sunday Herald
“Backing for tougher action on ‘offensive’ sectarianism” BBC
“What was once Scotland’s secret shame has now become an ugly stain on our reputation … and it can turn violent – Jack McConnell” Sunday Herald

Following posted 2.9.11

“John Wilson case undermines plan for new anti-sectarianism legislation” Scotsman
“Old Firm in backlash over sectarianism law”Herald
“Old Firm unite to condemn Scottish Government’s proposed anti-sectarian laws” Daily Record

Following posted 29.6.11

“University lecturer says proposed anti-sectarian legislation would be ‘most authoritarian law in British history'” Courier
“The anti-bigot bigots” Free Society (Waiton)
“Concern over anti-sectarian law” Holyrood Magazine

Following posted on 27. 6.11

“Revealed: Tough, new anti-sectarian laws will be in place in time for Christmas Old Firm derby” Daily Record
“Scottish Government’s controversial Sectarian Offences Bill to tackle Homophobic crimes, possibly songs of sex with sheep says QC Paul McBride” Scottish Law Reporter
“Don’t kill anti-sectarian bill” Herald
“‘I want consensus’ — Salmond’s anti-bigotry bill climbdown catches Parliament by surprise” Courier
“Sectarianism bill revised timetable outlined” BBC

Following posted on 24. 6.11

“First Minister Alex Salmond agrees to delay sectarianism bill until end of the year” Daily Record
“Salmond drops demands for anti-sectarianism bill to be rushed through parliament” Guardian
“Salmond bows to pressure on anti-sectarianism laws” Herald
“Just like the trams, hate crime plan goes off the rails” Herald
“Less haste makes for better law on sectarianism” Herald
“U-turn on anti-sectarian Bill fuels charge of incompetence” Scotsman
“Majority party must prove mature” Scotsman
“U-turn on football hate bill – in 90 minutes” Scotsman
“About-face for First Minister with two to spare” Scotsman
“Yes, Scotland does need new legislation now” Scotsman (Roseanna Cunningham)
“No, Scotland does not need new legislation now” Scotsman
“Tory MSP’s claim of ‘state-sponsored conditioning of sectarianism’ sparks fury” Scotsman
“Volte-face is a smart, if untidy, piece of politics” Scotsman
“Delay as SNP drop plan to rush through anti-bigot Bill” Express
“Tory blames separate schools for hate divide” Express
“MSP criticised over schools sectarianism comment” STV
“Scottish Government delays hate crime legislation” STV
“Labour, Lib Dems and Greens all oppose sectarianism bill” STV
“Alex Salmond puts brakes on bigotry blitz” Scottish Sun
“Salmond announces sectarianism bill delay” Law Society Journal Online
“Alex Salmond announces sectarianism bill delay” BBC
“Sectarianism legislation debate” BBC (Democracy Live)
“Seen to be doing something” Law Society Journal Online Blog
“Law’s delays & the insolence of office…” Lallands Peat Worrier

Following posted on 23.6.11

“Society voices concerns over sectarianism bill” Law Society Journal
“Scottish football fans to face tougher penalties for bigotry” Guardian
“Police chief issues warning over costs of implementing new sectarian legislation” Scotsman
“Minister defends speedy introduction of laws against hate crime” Scotsman
“Celtic fans blessing themselves could fall foul of new anti-sectarian laws, says minister” STV
“Sectarian bill defended by minister Roseanna Cunningham” BBC
“The national anthem, the sign of the cross, and other offences” Scottish Review
“New anti-bigotry crackdown could see fans jailed for singing God Save The Queen or crossing themselves” Daily Record
“Singing national anthem ‘could get fans arrested’” Evening Times
“Warning over sectarian law” Herald
“Unseemly rush leaves Scots law open to ridicule” Scotsman
“Salm don’t like it too hot, Alex” Scotsman
“Singing National Anthem ‘could be illegal'” Scotsman
“Jail for singing National Anthem” Express
“Old Firm security chiefs ‘concerned by rushed’ hate crime laws” STV
“Crime to sing the national anthem” Scottish Sun
“Lord Advocate Frank Mulholland clarifies sectarian laws” BBC
“A chorus of protest from all who cherish freedom” Scotsman
“Anti-hatred bill ‘is going too far, too fast'” Scotsman
“Court bid to halt new hate law” Express
“MSPs to debate sectarian legislation” STV
“Old Firm slam flaw in new bigotry law” Scottish Sun
“Rangers and Celtic urges bigotry law delay” BBC

Following posted 20.6.11

“Sectarian hatemongers will be filmed by police officers in bid to beat Scotland’s shame” Daily Record
“Police to enforce new hate laws with spy video” Scotsman
“Salmond accused of rushing Scottish religious bigotry bill” Guardian
“Sectarianism: offenders could face up to 5 years in jail” Scotsman
“Let us challenge sectarian mindset” Herald
“You are the (Sher)Ref”
“Scottish government unveil tough new laws on football sectarianism” Daily Record

Following posted 17.6.11

“Tougher laws to tackle sectarianism” Herald
“New bill to tackle sectarianism in Scottish football” BBC
“Sectarianism bill makes its debut” Law Society Journal Online
“Justice Committee calls for evidence on sectarianism bill” Law Society Journal Online
“Anti-sectarianism Bill could see offending football fans jailed for five years” STV
“Five years in jail for bigots” Newsnet Scotland
“Churches warn against hasty anti-sectarianism law” Herald
“Don’t rush sectarianism laws in time for football season – Kirk” Scotsman
“Government slammed for rushing anti-sectarian law” Edinburgh Evening News

Following posted 30.5.11

“Kenny MacAskill is crossing a dangerous line” Scotland on Sunday

Following posted on 25.5.11

“MacWhirter’s legal bunkum on sectarianism…” Lallands Peat Worrier
“If the internet is above the law, then we all may suffer” Herald
“Tough rules to kick hate out of football” Press and Journal
“Michael Fry: A totally unnecessary crackdown” Scotsman
“Tougher laws to crack down on sectarianism gets cabinet backing” STV
“SFA welcomes tougher jail sentences for sectarian hate crimes” STV
“Bigots banged up for five years” Scottish Sun
“Scottish cabinet backs sectarian proposals” BBC
“Tayside’s religious hate record revealed as anti-sectarian legislation prepared” Courier
“New laws on sectarianism by next month” Evening Times

Following posted on 23.5.11

“‘We have the laws to tackle bigotry – but police just aren’t using them,’ says top historian” Scotsman
“Sectarian law set for new season” Scottish Express
“Alex Salmond wants support for Bill that aims to tackle sectarianism” STV
“Against criminalising “bigotry peddled online…”” Lallands Peat Worrier

Following posted on 20.5.11

“Salmond announces plans for new anti-sectarian law” BBC

Following posted on 2.6.08

“Sectarian hatred finds its way on to Facebook” Sunday Herald

Press releases

“Offensive Behaviour Bill comes into force” Scot.Gov. (February 2012)

“Offensive behaviour at football” Scot.Gov. (December 2011)
“First Minister meets Bishop of Paisley” Scot.Gov. (October 2011)
“Offensive behaviour at football matches” Scot.Gov (October 2011)
“Scots back stronger action on sectarianism” Scot. Gov. (September 2011)
“Justice Committee to hold evidence sessions on Sectarianism Bill” Scottish Parliament (June 2011)
“Sectarianism and Offensive behaviour” Scot. Gov. (June 2011)

See also

Scottish Parliament Official Report 14.12.11: Offensive Behaviour at Football and Threatening Communications (Scotland) Bill (Stage 3 Debate)
Scottish Parliament Official Report 3.11.11: Offensive Behaviour at Football and Threatening Communications (Scotland) Bill (Stage 2 Debate)

Scottish Parliament Official Report 29.9.11 (First Minister’s Questions): Annabel Goldie: [ . . .] the First Minister will be aware of growing concern about his proposed legislation. We know that the consultation period has highlighted evidence that existing law, if it was enforced more robustly, may be adequate and that new law may not be required. In recent days, we have had impressive evidence of existing law being used to good effect. What does the First Minister consider is not covered by the existing law?

Offensive Behaviour at Football and Threatening Communications (Scotland) Bill – Justice Committee page. Maps out progress of Bill, Committee evidence hearings, written submissions, reports.

Take A Liberty Scotland

Scottish Parliament Official Report 23.6.11 (First Minister’s Questions): Iain Gray: Two weeks ago, I met the First Minister and told him that we want to support legislation against sectarianism, but I expressed serious concerns about the timetable. He told me that the football clubs were demanding that he legislate before the start of the season. Yesterday, both Rangers and Celtic said that the bill was too rushed. The Law Society, the churches and Christine Grahame, the convener of the Justice Committee, all agreed. The Lord Advocate said that the bill does not necessarily have to be in place before the football season. Does the First Minister now regret not acting for four years and having to squeeze the legislation into two weeks?

Scottish Parliament Official Report 23.6.11 (debate on Bill interspersed with other business during day)
Justice Committee Official Report 22.6.11: Offensive Behaviour at Football and Threatening Communications (Scotland) Bill
Justice Committee Official Report 21.6.11: Offensive Behaviour at Football and Threatening Communications (Scotland) Bill

Offensive Behaviour at Football and Threatening Communications (Scotland) Bill (SP Bill 1)
Scottish Government Sectarian Pages

Research soundbite: Sectarianism, racism and hate crime from IRISS on Vimeo.

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