The Offensive Behaviour at Football and Threatening Communications (Scotland) Act 2012 is a new and complex piece of legislation which is now coming before the Courts.
There is a new complex statutory offence where a person can commit an offence in relation to a regulated football match. An offence is committed if the particular behaviour that engaged the offence is likely or would be likely to incite public disorder. The particular behaviour which engages the offence is that of ” expressing hatred of, or stiring up hatred against either a group of persons or an individual based on their membership of a religious group or by reference to certain things namely colour, race, nationality, sexual orientation, transgender identity after disability.
The new Act also makes it an offence to communicate threats of serious violence or stir up hatred on religious grounds through post, internet, Facebook, mobile phone or twitter. There is a defence to this offence namely that a person charged with committing it shows that ” the communication of the material was, in the particular circumstances reasonable.”