Mr David Di Pinto was convicted under the Criminal Justice (Scotland) Act 2010. This conviction was aggravated by religious prejudice.
During the Scottish League Final in 2021, Mr Pinto was behaving in an inappropriate manner, behaviour exacerbated by his intoxicated state. After receiving complaints about his conduct, two police officers approached him. After being approached, the appellant escalated his behaviour and shouted at the officers using the term ‘hun’ in his remarks. He was removed from the stadium.
The appellant accepts that he was guilty of the offence but denies that it was aggregated by any religious discrimination. He was of the understanding that the term was simply a term used as reference to a ranger supporter and that he was oblivious to any anti-protestant association that it had. He supported this with the assertion that Rangers did not play that day. Accordingly, he submitted on appeal it was incorrect for the sheriff to say it was within the knowledge of the court that it was an attack against the protestant faith.
On the other hand, it was submitted by the crown that it was not incorrect to infer ‘hun’ was a term that indicated discrimination of the protestant faith. The appeal sheriff was of the view that it was irrelevant that Rangers where not the opposing team that day or that the appellant claimed not to know the religious associations that it had. This was because it ‘is generally understood as such within society and can be deemed to be within judicial knowledge.’ As such, it was deemed local knowledge and ignoring ancient history of the word, when used in the context of football it is deemed offensive.
According to the court ‘the word has now been adopted as an abusive sectarian term used to cause offence to those of the Protestant faith, not simply as a reference to a supporter of Rangers FC.’
Appeal was refused.